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Stop paying through the nose: student and trainee medical conferences offer better value for money than professional alternatives
  1. Elliott W Sharp,
  2. Keegan Curlewis,
  3. Thomas H S Clarke
  1. Medical Student, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Elliott W Sharp, Medical Student, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Brighton BN1 9PX, UK; e.sharp1{at}


Background Scientific conferences in the UK are attended by practising doctors and medical students for sharing research, networking and professional development. Student/trainee conferences are typically cheaper than professional conferences, but as they are not acknowledged in national scoring systems for medical and surgical training applications, they may have worse attendance than otherwise possible. We questioned whether student/trainee conferences are of a similar scientific quality to professional conferences, while being considerably cheaper.

Methods In this cross-sectional database review, 162 conferences were identified through a systematic search of two conference databases by three independent researchers. χ2 tests were used to compare scientific quality between student/trainee and professional conferences and the likelihood of offering different types of discounts. Independent t-tests were employed to determine cost differences between the two categories of conferences.

Results Our data revealed that there was no significant difference between student/trainee and professional conferences likelihood of declaring information on their abstract review processes (p=0.105). There was no difference in speaker seniority, determined by the tool the authors developed (p=0.172). Student/trainee conferences were significantly more likely to offer workshops (p<0.0005) and were cheaper than professional conferences (p<0.0005).

Conclusion Our results show that student/trainee conferences offer a similar level of scientific quality to professional medical conferences in the UK at a fraction of the cost, which should be reflected within the national scoring systems.

  • medical education and training
  • health policy
  • statistics and research methods
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  • Contributors EWS and KC were involved in the conceptualisation, design, data collection, analysis and write-up of the study. THSC was involved in the design, data collection, analysis and write-up of the study. All the authors gave final approval for submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests EWS, KC and THSC are all medical students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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