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On the 7th-8th April 2016, several members of the SITU team attended the IDEAL Conference, held at St Catherine's College Oxford.

Situ team attend ideal conference

The IDEAL Collaboration is chaired by Professor Peter McCulloch, deputy director of SITU, and coordinated by Dr Allison Hirst. IDEAL is a descriptive framework for the stages of surgical innovation. The conference aimed to examine how to create a pathway for the effective scientific evaluation of modern surgical treatments, with a focus on the potential of the IDEAL Framework and Recommendations as an evaluation template.


This year’s conference focused on:

  • How to evaluate surgical and other therapeutic technology appropriately throughout its development and initial clinical use
  • Examples of successful innovative therapeutic technology and its evaluation in Oxford and internationally
  • Experience of using the IDEAL Recommendations to evaluate surgical technology
  • Industry perspectives on innovation and evaluation
  • Special focus on the evaluation of robotic surgery
  • How device regulation and technology purchasing can be appropriately evidence-based
  • New methodological ideas in evaluation of technological innovation
  • Ethical considerations in surgical research
  • The role and potential of the IDEAL Recommendations will be discussed by plenary lecturers in relation to a range of these aspects of evaluating technology.

Particular highlights included Professor Jenny Donovan presenting on optimising recruitment and evaluation through qualitative studies, and Dr Gillian Lancaster who spoke on pilot and feasibility studies. All of the talks were of high quality and of great interest. The poster sessions were well attended and the poster viewing room was full of high quality submissions.