RADAR-CNS team gathers in Athens to share ideas and explore challenges

Nearly 80 members of the RADAR-CNS team met in May in Athens, Greece for three days of problem solving, sharing of ideas and assessing progress on outcomes.

The RADAR-CNS Annual Meeting is an opportunity for people working on the full range of work streams to come together to explain and explore challenges and solutions, as well as to investigate new applications of the technology and plan ahead for its translation to real-life settings.

27 organisations from 12 countries participated, and sessions included workshops and troubleshooting sessions on subjects including data integration, clinical harmonisation, communication and dissemination, and regulation. Research projects undertaken as part of the project were showcased in a poster session covering topics such as: emotional outcomes in clinically isolated syndrome and early phase multiple sclerosis; sleep, circadian rhythm and physical activity pattern in depressive and anxiety disorders; and new ways of monitoring multiple sclerosis.

The meeting also included our second Young Investigators’ meeting, where researchers at the start of their career had an opportunity to meet and talk about issues relating to wellbeing, values at work, and resilience. In the Young Investigator Talk slot, Nivethika Mahasivam, Software Engineer at The Hyve, presented the technical developments she has contributed to during her three years working on the RADAR-base platform.

Eight members of our Patient Advisory Board attended the meeting and took part in a dedicated session exploring the value of involving people with lived experience of epilepsy, depression and multiple sclerosis at every stage of the project. They gave feedback on how well the project has done this to date, as well as pointers for future improvements.

Stuart, who is a member of the Patient Advisory Board, commented: "I was very pleased to be invited to the Annual Meeting in Athens. The RADAR-CNS team have shown time after time that they value the input of patients, carers and charities and this meeting was no exception. I was able to interact with academics from all aspects from the project and give my feedback on their work. As always, it was a very positive experience and I felt that my time and expertise was valued."

Professor Matthew Hotopf from King’s College London, who co-leads RADAR-CNS, commented: “Sometimes, it’s only by getting everyone in a room working together on a problem that you can have a real breakthrough, and we came out of this year’s Annual Meeting with a very productive list of practical decisions and action points. It was particularly good to hear from some of our early stage career researchers, and also to get perspectives from our Patient Advisory Board on how well we have involved them and others with experience of epilepsy, MS and depression.

I hope people came away from this year’s meeting feeling inspired and enthused – there was certainly a strong sense of how vital effective teamwork is to the success of a project like this.

I’d like to thank Spyros from our Patient Advisory Board for suggesting we come to Athens this year, and for advising on some of the logistics. It’s a stunning setting that was appreciated by all.”

The Annual Meeting was followed by a mid-term review of the RADAR-CNS project by our funder, the Innovative Medicines Initiative. More details about the outcome and recommendations from this review will follow soon.