MCRC-CRUK Manchester Centre Clinical Academic Careers Event

Keynote Lecture by Professor Iain McNeish, Imperial College London

By Ash Horne, Clinical Academic Careers Event Organising Committee member


On the 24th January 2024, the MCRC and CRUK Manchester Centre hosted a Clinical Academic Careers Event.

Keynote Lecture by Professor Iain McNeish, Imperial College London

The day started with a keynote lecture from Prof. Iain McNeish, Professor of Oncology and Head of the Division of Cancer within the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London.

Unfortunately, the aftermath of the recent Storm Isha and Jocelyn meant that Prof. McNeish’s flight was cancelled and he was stranded in Edinburgh. After a quick change to the agenda, Iain’s lecture was delivered from a quiet corner of the departure lounge in Edinburgh Airport. Luckily the airport Wi-Fi held up and he was able to discuss ways to navigate your clinical journey, including the various pre-PhD, PhD and post-PhD opportunities available, as well as reflecting on his own inspiring career path.


Breakout room sessions

Following Prof. McNeish’s keynote lecture, attendees split up and joined different breakout sessions in the Oglesby Cancer Research Building.

Prof. McNeish’s breakout room delivered an informative session on the different pathways for aspiring clinician scientists.

In parallel Prof. Philip Quirke, Professor of Pathology at The University of Leeds, drew upon his experience in a session focused on integrated clinical academic training.

The third breakout room discussed optimising outputs in clinical research and was run by Prof. Faivre-Finn, Honorary Consultancy Oncology and Professor of Thoracic Radiation Oncology at The University of Manchester.

Keynote Lecture by Professor Iain McNeish, Imperial College London

Attendees listening to the virtual keynote lecture by Professor Iain McNeish, Imperial College London.

‘In Conversation’ Careers Discussion panel

‘In Conversation’ Careers Discussion panel with Professor Philip Quirke and Professor Faivre-Finee.

‘In Conversation’ Careers Discussion

After a quick break to network with peers and other event attendees, the final item of the day involved an ‘In Conversation’ Careers Discussion with Professor Philip Quirke and Professor Faivre-Finee, which was compared by two of their PhD students.

We heard about their differing expertise and experiences on subjects such as imposter syndrome, building a network of support, the importance of finding a work-life balance, and creating a lasting research impact.

I have taken a lot from the day. Hearing different experts talk about their own distinct career paths has demonstrated that whilst challenges may happen, hard work and persistence can pay off.

During the ‘In Conversation’ session I learnt that resilience is a necessary attribute for an academic at any stage of their career. Interestingly each expert defined resilience slightly differently, suggesting that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all attribute and that it’s developed by nurturing and developing with support from peers, mentors, friends and family.


With thanks

The day ran smoothly thanks to the organising committee which includes Ashley Horne, Alice Westwood, Laura Woodhouse, and Mathew Sheridan, plus our academic lead Dr Colin Lindsay.

A special thanks also to Dr Georgina Binnie-Wright, MCRC Postgraduate Programme Manager, for her hard work to bring the day together and dealing with last-minute challenges posed by Storm Isha and Jocelyn.

Get in touch

Do you want to help organise future events? Get in touch to express your interest in joining the organising committee.


Discover the postgraduate cancer research training opportunities available in Manchester.