Niall & Jennie's thoughts on Making Progress Day

Dr Jennie Jeyapalan

Jennie is based at Nottingham University researching androgen receptor co-regulators and ways to overcome resistance to hormone therapies.

I highly recommend Making Progress Day as it is amongst peers, unlike other more scientific focussed conferences, it induces and allows you to network in a less pressurised environment. The event not only showcases the science but also has a focus on professional development.
Dr Jennie Jeyapalan

Jennie's thoughts on the last Making Progress Day meeting

I had previously attended the ‘Making Progress Days’ in the past and have always enjoyed discussing research and networking with my peers. The event was held virtually for the first time, and I applaud the organisers for getting it right with the content, length of the event and networking.

The impact of COVID-19 on early career researchers

As an early career researcher, the pandemic created significant uncertainties surrounding funding and future prospects (on top of anxieties about COVID-19 itself!). It also brought a degree of isolation from the research community. It was therefore pivotal to attend Making Progress Day this year to reconnect with other researchers. The panel discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on early career prostate cancer researchers, highlighted that I was not alone with my anxieties for the future but also brought hope.

Virtual networking

I always enjoy hearing about the current prostate cancer research, and even though it was virtual, the opportunity for networking at the event in the break-out rooms was a great addition. As researchers, we sometimes get lost in the science, so hearing from men living with prostate cancer really brings it back to why we are doing this vital research.


Dr Niall Byrne

Niall works in the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast, investigating nanotherapeutics for the treatment of prostate cancer.

I would absolutely recommend this event to my colleagues. This is a really exciting opportunity to hear firsthand from early career researchers across the prostate cancer research spectrum in the UK as well as interacting with internationally leading prostate cancer researchers.
Dr Niall Byrne

Niall's thoughts on the last Making Progress Day meeting

Prostate Cancer UK’s annual Making Progress Day is an opportunity to take stock of the fantastic prostate cancer research being performed by Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in labs across the UK. It’s also a chance to hear from Prostate Cancer UK about their vision and funding priorities for the future. As an ECR, I have been fortunate to benefit from Prostate Cancer UK’s support throughout my PhD and postdoc career, and I am always keen to hear about what other ECRs in the field are working on and discover if there are opportunities for collaboration.


Going virtual

At the last meeting, in light of government restrictions on travel across the UK and physical distancing measures in place, the event had to progress to a virtual event. The event worked seamlessly as an online experience, moving between ECR presentations and networking sessions. The event gives ECRs a unique opportunity to present their work and helps give an overview of the current prostate cancer research landscape.


First-hand experience

One of the most rewarding experiences of the event was listening to Andre, a Prostate Cancer UK volunteer, speak about his personal experiences being diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer. As a bench scientist we are sometimes removed from the real-world clinical space, and to have the opportunity to hear from Andre was invaluable in reaffirming my commitment to improving the lives of men with prostate cancer through research.


A platform for early career prostate cancer researchers

While traditional conferences will showcase the work of established researchers as well as ECRs (in the best-case scenario), the Making Progress Day is unique in that ECRs are given priority to present their work to peers and colleagues. The networking events also allow ECRs to develop their own networking skills, form peer-support systems, and present an opportunity to see where synergy might exist across research groups to build independent collaborations that could support future funding applications. Needless to say, events like the Making Progress Day are instrumental in supporting the career progression of ECRs.