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The Research Symposium is an annual event showcasing the breadth of research across dietetics

As a profession we are embracing research to a greater extent than ever, both as consumers of research to enhance our practice and as producers to answer questions. Dietitians are increasingly asking themselves: Why am I practising this way? What if I did this? What do my patients think about that? Come to the symposium and see some of the answers to questions dietitians are asking - Judy Lawrence BDA Research Officer

Research is the foundation of the dietetic profession, providing the evidence-base our practice, education and policy work relies on. The Symposium provides dietitians, dietetic students and researchers an opportunity to showcase their research, highlight the ongoing development of dietetic practice, and be published in the BDA Journal Human Nutrition and Dietetics (JHND).

The next symposium will be held on Wednesday 2 December 2020 in Birmingham.

Abstract submission will be open from April to July.


What are the aims of the Symposium?

The symposium aims to:

  • Provide a forum for the presentation of research findings and methods in the field of nutrition and dietetics.
  • Foster collaboration between researchers within the dietetic profession.
  • Identify and share effective interventions and practice within the key topics of the symposium.
  • Stimulate an increase in the quantity and quality research in dietetics and nutrition.
  • Promote dietitians as leaders in the field of nutrition and dietetic research.

Who can present?

Anyone who is researching in the field of dietetics and human nutrition is invited to submit their abstract to the symposium. 

We welcome students, new graduates, pracitising clinical dietitians and dedicated researchers, as well as non-dietitians, to present and attend. The Symposium is for all members of the dietetic workforce.

Previous attendees include those taking their first steps in research, presenting their student research projects alongside MRes, PhD and clinical dietitians’ projects. The event will enable dietitians to showcase their research and practice, and participate in workshops to develop their skills.

We've been delighted to welcome to previous symposiums:

  • dietitians who have completed research from Masters Dissertation, MRes, or other higher degrees
  • researchers involved in a dietetic research area
  • dietitians involved in research programmes
  • dietitians who have undertaken an audit or evaluation of practice
  • dietitians working in clinical practice
  • student dietitians who have recently completed their final year dissertation projects

Research Streams

Each year, we have a number of streams, in 2019 we heard work from across nine main streams, no work will be rejected based on theme.

  1. Clinical Nutrition, including malnutrition 
  2. Critical Care - supported by Critical Care Specialist Group
  3. New to Research, including MRes and PhD research - supported by Yakult 
  4. Nutrition Support - supported by PENG Specialist Group
  5. Obesity - supported by Obesity Specialist Group
  6. Paediatric – supported by Paediatric Specialist Group
  7. Public Health, including freelance and industry - supported by Public Health Specialist Group
  8. Renal Nutrition - support by Renal Nutrition Specialist Group
  9. Service Evaluation 
Streams for 2020 will be confirmed in February 2020.

Not sure if you're doing research?

We believe most (if not all) of our members are currently undertaking research, whether they are in traditional research settings or in practice.

Research can be defined as 'the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions'

We are pleased to accept research, service evaluation and audit abstracts. If you aren't sure if your work fits the bill, please contact the BDA Research Officer who will be happy to help.

Start planning for 2020

To help you get started planning your submission for the 2020 Research Symposium, we have provided guidelines on how to put together your abstract as well as an abstract example. Further information on conference abstracts can be found in JHND NOTES the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics Editor’s blog.

The abstracts are judged anonymously using the judging criteria and peer reviewers guidance. The abstract submission process is open to everyone and no abstract will be rejected based on topic.

How to submit your abstract

1. Prepare your abstract in line with the submission guidance

We have provided guidelines for authors in the abstract instruction document and abstract example. Further information on conference abstracts can be found in JHND NOTES the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics Editor’s blog.

The abstracts are judged anonymously using the judging criteria and peer reviewers guidance. The abstract submission process is open to everyone and no abstract will be rejected based on topic.

To submit an abstract, please read the abstract instruction document and JHND NOTES and abstract example.

2. Register your abstract using the online booking system and upload your abstract submission

Review the research stream and submit your abstract in your chosen stream via the online booking system selected streams open until July. Please check if bursaries are available.

If you have any problems with the online booking system please contact or call 0121 200 8080.

Next steps

1. Following submission you will be contacted by the team to confirm receipt of your submission and to advise of the next steps.

2. Your abstract is sent for peer review

3. In September, following review, you will be advised whether your abstract has been accepted or rejected and whether any amendments are necessary. Any required amendments will be communicated to you. Should your abstract be rejected, you will also receive feeback. 

4. You will be provided a time frame to return your abstract with any amendments.

5. Start to prepare your three slide powerpoint presentation.

Deadline for submission will be in November, exact date tbc. You will be allocated five minutes to present and an additional two minutes for Q&A. Slides should be in 16:9 format.

6. Attend and enjoy!

Financial support

Some BDA Specialist Groups have provided bursaries to cover the cost of attendance in the past. Upon successful acceptance of your abstract you will receive further information about any available bursaries. Bursaries are subject to the abstract being presented on the day and will be reimbursed after the event.

GET Trustees have also established funding to support BDA members attending conferences and events.  Please submit your form and abstract at least three weeks before the relevant Trustee meeting, to allow it to be assessed and reviewed.

What happens on the day?

In addition to the abstracts being presented during the day, we also hear from dietitians involved in the world of research. We have previously heard from Dr Gary Frost, Dr Clare Pettinger, Professor Mary Hickson, Maria Barrett, Sally Abbott and more.

We have also held breakfast sessions with Quorn Foods and California Walnut Board in the past and also masterclasses on pitfalls and perils of manuscript submission, funding opportunities with GET and top tips on using Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN)

Initial timings for the day are 9.15am-4.30pm. However, the programme is defined by the number of abstracts being presented on the day so these may change. We will notify attendees of the final timings as soon as the programme is finalised.