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The first Botnar Institute Student Symposium was held on 7th July 2020. It was hosted online on Zoom by the graduate studies team and the Botnar GSC with support from the Head of Department and PIs. It was a student-led day in which all the Botnar 1st year students gave a short 5 minute presentation on their research and we also had presentations from guest speakers Professor Rob Gilbert and Major Robert Staruch on the work they been involved with during the current Covid-19 pandemic. A prize was given to the best two student presentations at the end of the event.

I really enjoyed the event, as it was a great chance to find out and know more about other students' research projects. It was also great to see the diversity of research happening within Botnar, as a group we not only have great research on orthopaedics and musculoskeletal science but also on pharmacoepidemiology, machine learning, health economics, genetics, and RCTs.

The presentations from the guest speakers were also very interesting, Prof Rob Gilbert gave us a talk on responding rapidly and as a community to a global pandemic and Major Robert Staruch on his team's experience of inventing a ventilator from scratch and getting it to pass MHRA.

As a 1st-year student myself, I also gave a presentation about my research topic on the day, which is on "Confounding in Medical Device Observational Study". Since my topic is more of a statistics/Machine learning methodology type and students from Botnar generally don't come from a statistics background, it was a unique opportunity for me to practice my communication skills to a non-stats/maths audience.

Slide from Mike Du's presentation: Confounding in Medical Device Observational StudySlide from Mike Du's presentation: Confounding in Medical Device Observational Study

The written feedback I have received after the event is also very detailed and constructive. The feedback ware broken down into 6 different sections: 1. communication of research, 2. Scientific content, 3. Impact of work, 4. presentation layout, 5. Enthusiasm and engagement and 6. Ability to handle questions. Reviewers commented on what went well and/or offered suggestions for improvement for each section.

Finally, I would like to say thanks to everyone who was involved in making this event happened. It was a very enjoyable event and I would definitely attend it again next year and recommend it to anyone who is interested in medical science.