As well as being a member of our Head & Neck Group, Paul is also a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Consultant ENT/Head and Neck surgeon in Birmingham. In this interview, Paul talks to us about his experience of the scheme and the opportunities it has opened up.

How did you get in to clinical research?

I have been interested and involved with clinical research since starting as a doctor. As I suspect is common to many people though, it was after working with someone as an SHO that was passionate and engaged in research that I started to dedicate much more time and effort to it. That then continued into registrar training and I took three years out to undertake a PhD.

What are you working on at the moment?

My main areas of interest are in the use of circulating DNA as a tool for improving diagnosis, treatment response and surveillance in head and neck cancer, but also in the physiological optimisation and enhanced recovery of patients who are undergoing highly morbid treatment regimes.

What opportunities did the NCRI CSG Trainee Scheme open up for you?

The scheme was a great opportunity for me and came just at the right time of my career development. It allowed me to meet many of the key researchers working on head and neck cancer, and to learn about the landscape of trials in the UK. I was also able to benefit from guidance and support from the CSG and local trials unit to develop my own trial idea. I have no doubt it enhanced my clinical trials research skills.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying for the next NCRI CSG Trainee Scheme?

Apply! It is a great scheme and you will learn a fantastic amount from many of the leading clinical trialists.