David:

Last month Nic Wray, the BTA's communications manager and I attended the ESIT training school in Milan. ESIT stands for the European School of Interdisciplinary Tinnitus Research and you can find out more about each of the students through this link here.

I went to the first school that was held last year, and it's really good to see how the students have gained in confidence and  how collaboration had developed. It was exciting to hear about how the projects were developing and I'm definitely looking forward to finding out the results of these projects when they disseminate them in 2020. It's going to be a big boost to the tinnitus field, because there are 15 major projects there that will make a difference to our knowledge and understanding of tinnitus

The projects are very diverse, from basic science right through to looking at better ways to manage tinnitus. There's a real multi-disciplinary approach within the school and it's interesting to see how these different projects and the students' attitudes and work histories and educations are blended - they mix really well. I think there'll be real value in all of those different perspectives adding value to one another's projects. It does sometimes make it difficult to know exactly how to pitch a presentation though!

It was also good to be at the school and get to be able to spend time with some of the supervisors as well. The supervisors are all eminent tinnitus researchers from across Europe and I enjoyed having the opportunity to catch up with them and find out what they're currently working on. We also looked at some potential joint projects between some of them and the BTA. I hope that we're able to announce some of that work very shortly.

Some of you probably know my main interest is in looking at what big data can tell us about tinnitus at the moment. There is some real potential for the BTA to work more with some of the supervisors and students and look at how we do that. Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the third ESIT training school, and I'm encouraged by the students' work, and can't wait to see what they come out with next.

Nic:

I was really encouraged to see how holistic the training school was - it wasn't just focused on the student's academic progress. I was invited to talk to the students about communicating with clinicians, and we looked at how to disseminate the results and implications of the students' research more effectively to health professionals and the public. Communicating effectively is a skill, and I was pleased that it's being taken so seriously by the programme.

The students also had sessions which would help them prepare for a life in academia - including the all important preparation of applications for future research grants. It will be really interesting to see the students put these skills into practice.  Hopefully we'll see and hear more from them - in a more accessible forms and by different media channels - about their work in the very near future. I've already approached some of them about writing for Quiet!