This high-profile session is back by popular demand. Speakers will be shortlisted by an independent panel and will be invited to provide a 4-minute lightning talk at the HDR UK Conference, 5 March in Leeds. There will be a prize (and kudos!) for the best talk on the day – as voted by the audience. 



Early Career Researchers: We loosely define Early Career Researchers as those within the first eight (full time equivalent) years of their career (including post-graduate training, if relevant). We will take a flexible and inclusive approach to this calculation, taking into consideration career breaks, non-linear career paths, non-academic career paths, etc.  


Six abstracts will be selected by a panel of experts, whose decisions will be primarily based on scientific and/or technical quality reflected in the submitted application, as well as alignment to HDR UK’s mission including quality of Public and Patient involvement and engagement. The panel will also aim for broad geographic representation, consider overall diversity of speakers and coverage of HDR UK Driver Programmes, Infrastructure and Services, and partnership programmes. Selected speakers will be informed at least eight weeks before the conference. 

Selection Criteria

We are looking for high impact, innovative exemplars of recent outputs and new insights, that contribute to delivery of HDR UK’s mission and align with our organisation ethos (research quality, team science, scale, open science, patient and public involvement, and equality, diversity and inclusion). 

Applications are open to Early Career Researchers from the HDR UK community and beyond.  

In your application, please provide clear evidence of several of the following selection criteria: 

  • Scientific/technical quality and practical applications 
  • Alignment and relevance to HDR UK’s mission – Uniting the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives 
  • Involvement and engagement of patients/service users, carers and the public at each appropriate stage of the research project life cycle 
  • Evidence of recent impact e.g. contributing to improving healthcare and patient benefit  or pathways to impact

Where all else is equal, the committee will also seek to ensure broad geographic representation, overall diversity and representation of HDR UK and non-HDR UK research amongst the speakers.  Two slots are reserved specifically for interns, masters, and/or PhD students.

Selection committee

  • Elliot McClenaghan (Chair)
  • Breeshey Roskams-Hieter
  • Chris Monk
  • Lynn Laidlaw
  • Marta Pineda Moncusi
  • Phinehas Arkorful
  • Rebecca Bendayan
  • Utkarsh Agrawal

Lightning talk – on the day 

The talks will be 4 minutes long and should be illustrated using slides. As the conference is hybrid, talks may be presented online or in-person. The audience will vote on the winning talk on the day.


  • Engraved glass trophy
  • Award certificate
  • 1 half-day professional training session of choice including consultation and follow-up with HDR UK’s Learning and Development Manager
  • RocketBook(s)
  • Blogposts will be developed with all speakers invited to present at the conference.  The articles will be published on the HDR UK website, included in conference communication material and provide an overview of the shortlisted research.  


  • Open for applications : 25 October 2023 
  • Deadline for applications : 27 November 2023 at 17:00 GMT
  • Selected candidates announced: 18 December 2023
  • Live voting takes place and the winner announced at HDR UK Conference on 5 March 2024

Further information 

If you have any questions, please email