Spent today working on a presentation for the Trust’s R&D conference in June. Professor Louis Appleby is our keynote speaker and there will be a range of research heavy weights delivering quality material. I’m there to talk about my emergence from almost nowhere (one of those 25 year overnight successes!) as an NIHR fund-holder and may quite possibly be the cabaret.
Not that presenting to large audiences is that new. I’ve delivered twice to the impressively titled World Conference in Innovations in Psychiatry and was once part of the youthful ‘I’m Nearly Famous’ group of clinicians that seemed to be on a regular circuit of professional gigs around the country. We’ve all grown older and some of us are actually famous now, but others have drifted off into the more pragmatic waters of clinical life.
Quite where I am is anyone’s guess. After 35 years as a psychologist, 28 of those in clinical practice, with research hovering somewhere over my shoulder but never quite taking centre stage barring a few post grad dissertations, this recent burst of activity might be seen as aberrant. Shouldn’t I be slowing down a bit at my time of life? And how come there’s all this stuff about technology and virtual reality – that’s the province of burgeoning yoof, isn’t it? Well, evidently not. Against all the odds, somehow, tech and gadgets, questioning the unknown, and pondering the psychological equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider has become the most enervating activity it is possible to contemplate. My job at this conference will be to get that across to an audience of managers, seasoned researchers, and people who, like me two years ago, are teetering on the threshold of what could be the most exciting trip of their lives.
Take a look at my last slide, will you? It shows the importance I attach to social networking as part of the process and dissemination of accessible research. What are your views? Can we get research to more people this way? Would transparency make more people feel inclined to participate or help with its design? You won’t get to hurl any particles at each other or find a Higgs Boson behind your sofa but heck, your opinion would be valuable!