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Dr Tim Van Hasselt

What is your current role?

What are your research interests?

NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow

University of Leicester /West Midlands neonatal subspecialty GRID trainee, ST7 (OOPR)

Co-chair of PRAM (Paediatric Research Across the Midlands), the regional paediatric trainee-led research network

Impact of preterm birth on childhood health

Chronic disease following preterm birth

Chronic critical illness

Transition from neonatal to paediatric intensive care

Use of large-scale routinely collected healthcare data

How did you get started in your research career?

I had done some research at medical school including intercalation but not taken it further, and only followed clinical training.

During my paediatrics training I took part in and then led multi-centre service evaluation projects with PRAM and gained experience.

While preparing for neonatal GRID I became a trainee representative for the National Neonatal Research Database (NNRD) through an open recruitment. Through the NNRD I made contact with my supervisors, and working with them submitted applications for PhD funding to the MRC and NIHR, the latter was successful.

Do you have any tips for trainess interested in research/an academic career?

It is possible to enter an academic pathway even quite late in clinical training, and the NIHR in particular will score your achievements based on this.

Reaching out to people within academia, even by email to people you’ve never met, often results in people wanting to help, as long as you come with a specific request for how they can help.

What are your career aspirations?

Continue working between clinical neonatal intensive care and academic roles, working with healthcare data to study preterm-born children across different healthcare settings and improve their care.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of academic training?

+ Flexibility of work, hours, working from home

+ Self-direction

+ Break from clinical work and rotas

+ Expand horizons nationally/internationally in your speciality

+ Potential to make a difference more widely

- Delay to completion of training, and resulting financial impact

- Competition for academic posts and fellowships

- Having to spend own time on research if outside of paid fellowship

- Trying to balance rigid clinical training path with taking time for academic opportunities

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