Skip to main content

Latest news

Latest news


On Wednesday 11th October 2023, an enthusiastic team from ESMI undertook a Volunteering Day from the University of Exeter to Poltimore House on the outskirts of Exeter.

This fascinating building goes back to 1560 and since then has been a private house, an academy for young ladies, an evacuation centre during World War 2, a hospital and a private nursing home before falling into disrepair after a fire in 1987.  The house appeared on the BBC Restoration programme in 2003.

Making the most of a dry autumnal day, the team undertook some tasks in the grounds including turf removal to reinstate a path as well has hedge trimming – although this was a bit of an understatement as the hedges had not seen any maintenance in over 50 years!  But a day of manual work was good fun compared to our usual desk-based day jobs.

We were also treated to a tour around the house, which was most interesting.

Everyone had a great day – it was a joy to be outside and away from screens, and to be able to help a charity so close to home.  We look forward to a return visit in 2024.

With thanks to Carol at Poltimore House for her time and enthusiasm, to Becky, Jenny and Sue for organising, and to Mary, Ahmed, Alan, Alison, Morwenna, Jo and Sam for putting in some serious hard graft!

The winners of the prestigious National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) 2023 have been announced by Advance HE. This year, Professor G.J Melendez-Torres and Professor Catherine Gallop have been chosen as National Teaching Fellows for their work in public health teaching and clinical education. Congratulations!

Simon Briscoe’s PhD titled Bridging formalisation and expert judgment in searches for studies for systematic reviews was awarded on 11th July. This was supervised by G.J. Melendez-Torres and Rebecca Abbott, and undertaken by publication route. The thesis explores the development of guidance and evidence-based practice for the identification of studies for systematic reviews, with a particular focus on forward citation searching and web searching, and the need for expert judgement even after clearly defined methods are established.

Members of two ESMI teams joined forces at the recent Faculty of Health Life Sciences Summer Celebration event which was held in the Great Hall.  The summer celebration showcased activity from across the research, education and professional services activity of the faculty, and included celebrations of 10 years of the Medical School and 15 years of genetic sequencing at Exeter.  Sian de Bell and Zhivko Zhelev from the Exeter HSDR Evidence Synthesis Centre and Liz Shaw and Simon Briscoe from the Exeter PRP Evidence Review Facility were on hand to talk about some of their recent work commissioned to inform national policy making.  They shared examples of how they share their findings with policy customers, clinicians, and members of the public and provided attendees with the opportunity to explore some interactive evidence and gap maps.  More details of recent projects undertaken by the teams can be found here and here.

Congratulations to Becky Whear who has been appointed as an Exeter based Early Career Researcher (ECR) Representative. Becky will join our existing Exeter based rep, Dr Marie Ryder (Physics). Further details on Early Career Researcher Networks can be found here.

Alison Bethel, one of our information specialists in the Evidence Synthesis Team, took part in two panels at the Evidence Synthesis and Meta-Analysis in R Conference (ESMARConf). ESMARConf is a FREE a conference dedicated to raising awareness of open source tools in R for undertaking evidence syntheses.

The conference is coordinated by the Evidence Synthesis Hackathon which is a group that brings together researchers and coders to develop tools for evidence synthesis. ESMARConf is in its third year and many of the presentations and workshops are freely available from its website, Alison presented a 2-hour crash course last year on searching for studies which has been viewed over 800 times. This year, Alison was a panel member on discussions about information retrieval and the benefits and challenges of taking part in a hackathon.

Click on over to the ESMARConf website where recordings of many of the sessions are available to watch on Youtube – there are discussions and presentations on everything from planning a review to network meta-analysis using R and advanced GitHub.

Becky Whear from the PenARC Evidence Synthesis Team attended the International Generations Working Together conference in Glasgow in March to present her work on the role of intergenerational practice in health and social care. Becky, and colleague, Fiona Campbell from Newcastle University delivered a workshop on their recently published interactive evidence and gap map which contains almost 500 research studies. As a result of connections made at the conference, Becky and Fiona have been invited to give further workshops at the Generations United conference in Washington D.C. and at the Australian Institute for Intergenerational Practice.

Further information about the conference can be found on the Evidence Synthesis Team blog.

Previous news

View previous news