Ian Walker reflects on the ECMC network in 2017

12 Dec 2017

2017 has been a busy year for the ECMC network.

The new 5 year review officially started in April. With the renewed agreement of the 5 co-funders (CRUK; NIHR: CSO; HCRW; HSC), and on the back of a successful international peer review, we welcomed Liverpool back in the adult network, and saw an expansion from 9 to 11 locations in the paediatric network, with Southampton and Cambridge joining as new centres.

At the Annual Network Meeting in May. We celebrated our 10th anniversary with more than 250 network members attending, and showcased some exemplary trials of network collaboration; TAX-TORC and FAK-PD1 and we also revealed our new brand.

During 2017, we introduced a new ECMC Governance structure to streamline strategic discussions and decisions, with the institution of the Network Steering Committee, Strategy Group and the Paediatric Strategy Group.

Our network groups have also been busy: the year started with the fourth successful Junior Investigator Network Group (JING) Training the Next Generation event, in Glasgow and the first QATS biomarker meeting, hosted by the ICR. Over the summer we regrouped with the paediatric network and hosted the first ECMC paediatric meeting in London.

In addition to the paediatric meeting, we were pleased to see continuous enthusiasm within the network for the new Combination Alliance Expression Of Interest (EOI), with more than 40 proposals going through first triage in December.

To support the expanding activities of our network, the Programme Office has also grown with new recruits like Hannah Brown (Project Manager- workforce), Aga Wabik (Project Manager- capabilities), Ellie Foot (Project Officer) and Sheona Scales (Paediatric Network Manager). In the last month, we also welcomed Ilaria Mirabile as the new Head of the Programme Office, covering for Aoife Regan’s maternity leave.

2018 is already looking packed with activities: On 29-30 January, the 2018 JING Training the next generation event will take place in Manchester; the ECMC Programme Office will host two workshops on regulatory topics (Definitions of complex trial design on 5 February; and a joint ECMC-HRA REC workshop on 8 March); and the Research Nurse Group will run their training day for new research nurses (Successful nursing in a Phase I environment) on 1 March in Edinburgh.  

The Programme Office will keep supporting the network to develop and implement the adult and paediatric network strategy, and focus on the delivery of the ECMC network’s strategic objectives. An example being the creation of a database of early phase trials to support patient referral across the network.

We look forward to working together during 2018, and wish you a very merry festive season.