Our student winners at the 2022 Research Symposium

10 May 2023

In 2022 we saw 62 abstracts presented in person and three presented via recordings across 12 streams at our event in Birmingham. Our fast-paced Research Symposium is a fantastic opportunity for students and those that have qualified to present their research and get recognition from peers. 9 of the 12 stream winners in 2022 were students, so if you want some inspiration for entering this year, below you can find out more about the winning students and their research.

Nutrition in Older Adults

Supported by BDA Older People Specialist Group

Elaine Penman for: Structured literature review of oral nutritional supplementation parameters for older people in the perioperative phase of fragility hip fracture recovery.

“At University, we were encouraged to submit our final year honours projects to the BDA Research Symposium. Preparing the abstract felt like a great way to experience summarising and sharing my research and, with guaranteed peer-reviewed feedback, a further learning opportunity.

My research followed my time as a nutrition assistant and volunteer on orthopaedic wards in Glasgow.   The importance of strategies and interventions to support nutrition and hydration following a traumatic injury interested me, leading to research into the evidence behind new nutritional guidance in Scotland.

 I’ve been a member of the BDA Older People Specialist group since joining the BDA in my first year as a dietetic student. I was delighted to see a new stream dedicated to this patient group and feel privileged to be selected as the winner for 2022.  Presenting to an experienced audience was daunting, but I thoroughly enjoyed the day, meeting dietitians and students and hearing about the fantastic research work conducted in gastroenterology, public health, and critical care, amongst other topics.

Thank you to Marian Cunningham and Yvonne Brogan, Lecturers at Glasgow Caledonian University and the Dietetic department, for their support during the research process and encouragement to submit and attend the symposium.”

Clinical Nutrition

Simone Roberts for: Improving Detection of Malnutrition in the Community: Tools used by Meals on Wheels and the Emergency Medical Services, a systematic review.

Presenting at the BDA symposium is a brilliant opportunity to share research with colleagues from across dietetic specialities. The day is fast-paced and packed with interesting projects, some academic and others from practice, as well as an opportunity to network with colleagues. Presenting to your colleagues can be very rewarding as you know you are directly contributing to the evidence base for the dietetic profession. It can also be daunting but the atmosphere at the symposium is always very supportive and there is lots of coffee to keep you focused. The research I presented formed part of my PhD at the University of Hertfordshire, focusing on the role of the Emergency Services and Meals on Wheels services in community malnutrition screening. Presenting the systematic review gave me the first opportunity to share my original research. The symposium was the first step to turning that systematic review into a publishable piece of work. Now, in the final year of the PhD, I have collected a lot of data, via interviews, focus groups, a content analysis, and an academic survey which I am currently in the process of turning into a dissertation, which fingers-crossed, is ready to submit at the end of this year. The best part of doing research is sharing the results and I hope to disseminate them via future symposiums and research papers.

Critical Care

Supported by BDA Critical Care Specialist Group

Eimear Wall for: Nutrition support practices in critical care during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic – a service evaluation.

I was delighted to have been chosen as the winner of the Critical Care Stream of The BDA Research Symposium 2022, supported by the Critical Care Specialist Group. My abstract was presented as part of my MSc project from King’s College London. The aim of this study was to describe the nutrition support practices and clinical challenges encountered in providing nutritional support to critically ill COVID-19 patients during the second wave of pandemic. I was very fortunate to carry out this project under the guidance of my supervisors  Dr. Danielle Bear and Dr. Alastair Duncan at Guy's and St Thomas' Trust and King’s College London


As a newly qualified dietitian, it was encouraging to see the many opportunities that exist for dietitians to carry out research that help to grow and strengthen the evidence base for our profession. It was a challenging but rewarding experience presenting to fellow professionals in the field of dietetics and I look forward to building on this experience in the course of my career.


The BDA Research Symposium is a fantastic platform for dietitians at all stages of their careers to both share and learn from the important research being carried out by dietitians across the UK. I would encourage any dietetic student or qualified dietitian to participate whether through presenting their research or simply by attending.

New to Research

Supported by Yakult

Nicole Robertson for: A qualitative study of the experiences of dietetic care in eating disorder treatment.

The abstract I submitted to the symposium was from my postgraduate dissertation completed at the University of Chester. I was really grateful for the opportunity to present my research, which looked into the role of a dietitian in eating disorder treatment, as this is under-researched area and one that I am hugely passionate about. My research identified several themes describing the experiences of dietetic care from the perspectives of both dietitians and recovered eating disorder patients. I hope that the findings will help support improvements in quality of dietetic care for eating disorder patients.

Throughout completing my research, I encountered numerous challenges, including learning about completing qualitative research, making changes to the research methods due to COVID-19 restrictions, and completing my project at the evenings and weekends alongside working full-time. This all helped me to learn skills in organisation, time management and perseverance. The symposium was a fantastic platform to be able to develop my presentation skills and network with fellow researchers.

I was thrilled to be named as the winner of the New to Research stream, especially considering the amount of high-quality research that was presented throughout the day. It was inspiring to hear all the amazing research that is being completed across different areas of dietetics, and I look forward to being able to conduct and present further research in the future.

Nutrition Support

Supported by Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Specialist Group 

Oscar Walton for: Cross-Sectional Study of Registered Dietitians’ Perspectives on Training to Position Nasogastric Tubes.

To present at the 2022 BDA research symposium was an honour and to be awarded for my research was a lovely surprise. My study aimed to identify dietitians’ opinions of training to position nasogastric tubes and explore the perceived impact of this skill. After chatting to dietitians at Birmingham’s Queens Hospital who had upskilled to position nasogastric tubes I was really interested in other dietitians’ opinions of this skill and how it could affect their practice, which was the start of it. This project was part of my MSc in Dietetics at Birmingham City University and completed during C-placement. Of course, as everyone found, the pandemic and accompanying were challenging and credit is due to my project supervisor Ruth Stow for helping me complete it and my colleagues Bruno Mafrici and Tig Bridge for encouraging me to submit the project to different conferences and symposiums.


This symposium was the first face to face since 2019, it had a brilliant atmosphere, I think everyone was to be happy to be in person, socially learning. There were variety of streams, I found the new stream of supplementary prescribing, and critical care and gastro streams particularly interesting. I presented during the nutrition support stream which was a great experience and being able to share my findings and have feedback from peers was incredibly rewarding.




Supported by BDA Obesity Specialist Group

Emily Nelson for: A secondary analysis of the DROPLET Study: body composition as a predictor of weight loss.

It was a real surprise and honour to receive this award in the obesity stream. This was my undergraduate final year project, contributing to my degree in dietetics from the University of Surrey.

I decided to enter the abstract over summer, and worked with my supervisor to adapt the abstract suitably. I was thrilled when it had been accepted, and worked further on making a presentation to encapsulate the research’s message.

The research focused around finding out if weight loss could be predicted by resting energy expenditure and body composition. Given the incredible plethora of abstracts within the obesity stream, I felt very shocked and privileged to win this award.

The opportunity to present this allowed me to hone my skills in adapting information for a professional audience, and in presenting succinctly whilst ensuring all information is communicated effectively. I am very grateful to the incredible team at Surrey that helped in adapting my abstract, and to my personal tutor Emily Betts who encouraged me to apply.

The BDA symposium is a fantastic opportunity to not only present and share your own research, but also to discover the vast topics and pioneering research from dietitians. It was so inspiring to see so many dietitians carrying out research alongside their clinical practice, and this has definitely encouraged me to continue reading and conducting research throughout my clinical role as a dietitian.


Supported by BDA Paediatric Specialist Group

James Evans for: Cross-sectional survey investigating nutrition support practices and opinions toward gastrostomy use across United Kingdom paediatric bone marrow transplant centres.

It was an honour to present my research; a survey of nutrition support practices and opinions toward gastrostomy use across UK paediatric bone marrow transplant centres, at the BDA Research Symposium 2022. This was an opening work package of my PhD research which laid the foundations for my future work in this field. This involves a mixed methods study comparing complication and outcomes of gastrostomy versus nasogastric tube feeding in paediatric bone marrow transplant, alongside parent and child experiences of using either tube. This work will improve patient care and facilitate decision making between families and clinicians when considering options for enteral tube feeding prior to transplant.  Hopefully I will get the opportunity to present more of my research at a future symposium. The day was full of fantastic research being undertaken by dietitians at all stages of their career, from undergraduate to doctoral level, as well as by dietitians working in clinical practice. Research projects covered a wide range of clinical specialities, so the day really offered something for everyone, whatever your particular clinical interest. In the sessions I observed the audience was very supportive and it felt like there was a great camaraderie amongst everyone who was presenting on the day.

Public Health

Megan Mehnert for: An investigation into the link between cooking from scratch and vegetable consumption; a cross-sectional survey of adults in the UK.

When writing my university dissertation, I never would have expected it to go beyond my university network's reach. So when I found out my abstract had won the Public Health stream for 2022, I was delighted! I was so pleased that I was able to share these findings with such an audience of nutrition experts and even more so to be recognised for it.

As a prime opportunity to name-drop...thank you to my Cardiff Met dissertation supervisor, Laura Low (RD), for her support throughout the dissertation and symposium application process.

Unfortunately, I could not present my research in person, but I was encouraged to submit a recorded presentation alongside my abstract. Although I am sad to have missed the opportunity to spend the day with other dietitians passionate about research and progressing the field of dietetics, this opportunity has still allowed me to connect with other dietitians with similar interests online, for which I am grateful. 

Investing in research and sharing it with dietitians who can build on this and put it into practice when working with patients or who are involved with shaping dietetic practice is crucial for driving change. 

I look forward to seeing what the 2023 research symposium holds. 

Service Evaluation

Abigail Platt for: Evaluation of the dietary intake of children and adolescents with a diagnosis of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) in the United Kingdom: an observational service evaluation.

It was an honour to be able to present my research at the 2022 BDA Research Symposium, and I was absolutely delighted to win best abstract in the service evaluation stream.

I conducted my research for my final year research project at university. This was my first exposure to research and during the 8 months I dedicated to this I learnt valuable skills across all areas from writing up my literature review, through to data collection, analysis and presentation. Being able to then present my research in the form of an abstract at the symposium was the perfect way to round off my dissertation. Although initially daunting standing up there with those who were more experienced in dietetic research, by the end of the day my confidence had grown and I was proud to be able to discuss my research project. I would recommend this experience to any dietetic student coming the end of their degree, it really is the perfect way to showcase all our hard work and learn more about the future of dietetics from other research.

The whole experience has given me a newfound appreciation for research, and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to contribute to the Feeding and Eating Disorder Service at Great Ormand Street Hospital. I hope to continue researching throughout my dietetic career, and possibly even to participate in future research symposiums!

Sponsored by Yakult and Symprove

Find out more about the Research Symposium here.

Get involved this year

2023 will be held on Wednesday 6 December in Birmingham.

All streams will be returning plus 3 new streams Diabetes, Mental Health and Optimising Nutrition Prescribing all supported by our specialist groups.

Abstract submission for 2023 is now open and will close in July 2023.



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