Cochrane UK & Cochrane Ireland Symposium 2019

This year’s Cochrane UK & Cochrane Ireland Symposium took place at the Saïd Business School, Oxford. The theme of the symposium was “Inspiring innovation – ensuring quality”, and CIDG members, Marty Richardson (Statistician) and Vittoria Lutje (Information Specialist), joined Cochrane colleagues from all over the UK and Ireland at the event.

The opening plenary session included the official re-launch of Cochrane Ireland, who outlined their plans for the year ahead, including a host of training workshops and webinars . Attendees also heard a thought-provoking talk about the importance of carbon reduction and sustainability in the research process; this certainly gave CIDG members food for thought (in addition to the pastries that were on offer at morning break). Cochrane colleagues were also updated on a number of different activities happening within Cochrane, including one Cochrane group’s experience of surviving a “Twitterstorm” following the output of an “infographic”  for the Cochrane review “Family therapy approaches for anorexia nervosa”. 

In the afternoon, the meeting split into smaller workshops, with attendees learning about the “Risk of bias 2.0 tool” , the Cochrane Register of Studies, network meta-analysis and meaningful consumer involvement.  

In the evening, attendees were treated to a night of fine dining at the Gala dinner, which took place at Trinity College. It was particularly inspiring (in keeping with the theme of the symposium!) to dine while surrounded by portraits of female Trinity alumni who have gone on to great achievements, including Cochrane’s very own Dame Professor Sally Davies. 

The second day of the symposium offered more learning opportunities; including a hands-on workshop on RevMan Web. The workshop offered a chance for Cochrane authors to practice using the software, while also making recommendations to the developers which will ease the transition from RevMan 5 to Revman Web in the future.  Workshops specific for Information Specialists included one on PICO annotation, followed by The Evidence Pipeline, which reported on innovation in study identification. In the afternoon 2 closed meetings, one for Information Specialists and one for Managing Editors, concluded the Symposium.

In summary, the Symposium was a fantastic experience, which not only enabled CIDG colleagues to learn about the most recent developments within Cochrane, but also provided excellent networking opportunities. The experience of staying at St. Catherine’s college (if only for 2 days), and exploring the beautiful architecture of Oxford was certainly one not to forget!

The CIDG editorial base is located at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine  in Liverpool, UK. The CIDG is led by Professor Paul Garner (Co-ordinating Editor) and Deirdre Walshe (Managing Editor). Over 600 authors from some 52 countries contribute to the preparation of the Cochrane Reviews. They are supported by an international team of Editors, each with topic or methodological expertise. 

The CIDG’s main areas of work are on determination of the effects of interventions on the prevention or treatment infectious diseases of relevance to the  United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and neglected tropical diseases. The aims of the CIDG are to impact on policy and research in tropical diseases through the production of high quality and relevant systematic reviews, and to lead developments in review quality improvement and effective dissemination of findings.