By Gemma Williamson, Postgraduate Education Administrator, Imperial
The MERU team with big smiles at the recent Transform MedEd 2018
The Medical Education Research Unit was launched in 2014 to consolidate, develop and expand medical education research at Imperial College London. We knew many staff in the School of Medicine, its partner NHS Trusts and our sister institution, LKCMedicine were passionate and committed educators and some were actively engaged in medical education research, but as individuals, lacked "critical mass" easy access to like-minded colleagues. The education research activity was dispersed and lacked a clear focus – MERU provided the opportunity to bring people together, and shape the research activity and output of Imperial.
Now in our fourth year, MERU is moving into the second phase of development: raising our external profile, building external collaborations, and increasing our research impact through more peer-reviewed publications. As part of this we have engaged with two large conferences this year in partnership with MERSU at LKCMedicine. We went to the Association for Medical Education in Europe conference (AMEE), held this year in Basel over the August bank holiday weekend. A four-day conference promoting medical education research and attended by over 3,000 delegates, this is a key meeting for all involved in medical and healthcare professional education including teachers, educationists, researchers, administrators and students. MERU and MERSU shared a booth at this year's conference to enable us to network with others of similar interests, to hear and discuss the views of acknowledged experts, and to take part in workshops and courses.
The team at their booth which showcases their research at the Transform MedEd 2018
One of the key things we arrange as part of MERU is funding for our members, both for small research projects and travel grants to support our members getting out to conferences to present and discuss their research in a wider forum. This year we were able to fund 18 members to join us at AMEE, showcasing research such as student perceptions of virtual and augmented reality technology as a tool for learning in medicine, teaching mentoring for junior doctors and its impact on the quality of medical student teaching, and improving ward round teaching for final-year medical students.
Our largest collaborative venture this year took place a month ago, with Imperial and LKCMedicine jointly running the inaugural Transform MedEd conference 2018. This conference addressed transforming medical education through three main lenses – people, practice and policy. MERU and MERSU stood side by side in presenting posters on the creation, development and remit of each unit, as well as supporting many colleagues to attend and present their work to a global audience.
Gemma posing with MERSU Assistant Manager Shenna Chong with their posters at Transfrom MedEd 2018
As we enter the new year, we are looking forward to continuing to work closely with our LKCMedicine colleagues, sharing a stand once again at AMEE 2019, plus working to develop the next Transform MedEd conference in London. We look forward to seeing as many of our LKCMedicine colleagues there as possible!