Symposium 2013

Symposium 2013

Current challenges, recent research, new directions

This international symposium attracts researchers actively involved in the development, evaluation or regulation of biomarkers, diagnostic modalities or other medical tests.

The development of a reliable and highly effective diagnostic suite for clinical use is arguably the most important area of medical research. Rapid technological progress coupled with the significant methodological complexities involved in both developing and evaluating tests create formidable challenges to our research.

Yet these challenges are matched by unique opportunities, while the wide array of diagnostic sub-disciplines create an exciting milieu for the generation of new ideas and directions.

This symposium provides a forum for disseminating knowledge at the forefront of current research, and for stimulating dialogue that will propel future thought and endeavours to tackle the methodological and practical complexities facing the medical diagnostics field today.

The 2013 event is specifically aimed at bringing together researchers from the diverse reaches of test evaluation, from in vitro test developers, industry and regulatory representatives, through to methodologists, guideline developers and practising clinicians, in the hope of improving current understanding through knowledge exchange, and forging our diverse experiences and perspectives to delineate the future direction of diagnostic test research.

In this respect, it is the only conference in the world that provides a platform dedicated to the investigation of medical tests.

Taking place over two days, the symposium takes the form of thematic plenary sessions. Each session will be introduced by an invited speaker who is a leading international expert in the field, followed by several submitted oral presentations.

Themes for 2013...

Assessment of test accuracy is a major component of test evaluation. Despite relatively recent developments, particularly in the methods for undertaking systematic review and meta-analyses, many uncertainties and challenges remain surrouding the conduct and interpretation of primary and secondary research. Developments in the conduct and interpretation of primary studies, systematic reviews and meta-analysis of test accuracy, may originate from methodological or applied research.

The focus of methodological research has traditionally laid with developing our approaches to the evaluation of test accuracy. However, test use impacts on health and resource–use in multiple and complex ways, requiring a range of methodologies to fully evaluate clinical and cost–effectiveness. We invite discussion of methodological developments including both conceptual and practical challenges to the conduct of reliable and valid evaluations of diagnostic impact.

Supporting innovations in testing that are most likely to result in patient benefit requires the bringing together of organisations with different perspectives and priorities, as well as fostering a shared understanding of the requirements of HTA and regulatory agencies. This round table session will benefit from contributions from industry, academia and government.
Matthew Thompson, Co-Director of MaDOx, Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Oxford University, UK (Chair);
Ajit Lalvani (Chair in Infectious Diseases and Director of the Tuberculosis Research Unit, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK)
-Other speakers tbc.

TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE: Guidelines, evidence reports and technology assessments for consideration by health care agencies

Translating test research into practice presents challenges for healthcare agencies. Key issues include keeping abreast of relatively rapid developments in test evaluation methodology, assessing the potential impact of tests on patient outcomes and effective communication to the policy making community, healthcare professionals and patients.
Keynote speakers:
-Chris Hyde, Professor of Public Health and Clinical Epidemiology, Peninsular College of Medicine and Dentistry, Exeter University, UK
-Professor David Matchar, Director, Program in Health Services and Systems Research, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore (tbc)

As increasing numbers of people worldwide live with one or more health problems, the study of prognosis has never been more important. Prognosis research is broad: it provides information crucial to understanding, explaining and predicting future clinical outcomes in people with existing disease or health conditions. Unfortunately the methodological quality of prognosis research is often poor, and there needs to be a concerted drive to improve current standards and its translational impact.
Keynote speaker: Harry Hemmingway, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University College London

Risk prediction (prognostic) models utilise multiple prognostic factors in combination to predict the risk of future clinical outcomes in individual patients. They have the potential to inform patients counselling and clinical decision making. Unfortunately many such models are developed but few are utilised in practice. There needs to be a greater focus on external validation of models in new data, and obtaining evidence of their impact on improving patient outcomes.
Keynote speaker: Gary Collins, Senior Medical Statistician, University of Oxford


How much does it cost?

Delegates from not-for-profit organisations:
Early bird discounted fee Until 7th May 2013 - £300
Standard registration fee From 8th May 2013 - £375

Delegates from commercial organisations:
Early bird discounted fee Until 7th May 2013 - £600
Standard registration fee From 8th May 2013 - £750

What’s Included in the Conference Fee?

• Access to oral and poster sessions
• Conference pack
• Lunch and refreshments
• Conference dinner

**Please note Accommodation is not included in the conference fee.**

How to Register for the Conference

For conference registration, we are using a facility run by the University of Birmingham called the Online Shop. When you proceed to registration and payment below, a new browser window will open containing the online store.

Here are brief instructions to guide you through the process:

1. The link below takes you straight to our conference event. If you cannot see the conference, please go to the ‘search’ box on the left hand side of the screen and enter the name of our conference: “Methods for Evaluating Medical Tests and Biomarkers”.
2. Select ‘Book Event’
3. You will now be asked to Log in. If you have attended previous MEMTAB symposia your previous login details will work. If not, you are required to set up a username and password. Please note this is solely for the purposes of the online shop, and none of this information will be passed to conference organisers.
4. When you register you will need to choose one type of ticket. Please select either the option for not-for-profit organisation or commercial organisation.
5. When you have made all your selections
Select ‘Proceed to checkout’
6. You will be asked to confirm your purchases, enter your payment details and complete your transaction. To proceed to registration and payment please go to the online shop 

If you have any queries regarding this process please contact us at:
We will endeavour to respond to all queries within 24hours.

Confirmation of Registration

You will receive an email from the online shop confirming your selected options and payment. If you have any queries, please contact us at:  

Cancellation Policy

Full terms and conditions are provided by the online store.

Abstract submission...

Delegates are invited to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentation, particularly on the themes above.

Each session will address one of the themes above and consists of:
• a plenary session given by an invited keynote speaker
• several submitted oral presentations
• invited questions from the audience

Limited time has also been reserved for presentations on any other topic of choice related to diagnostic test research.

The deadline for abstract submissions is Monday 18th March 2013
Notification of acceptance will be given by Friday 10th May 2013

Oral Presentations:
Individual papers will be allocated 15 minutes, plus 5 minutes for questions.

Poster presentations:
You may submit specifically for a poster presentation. Alternatively, due to the limited number of slots available for oral presentations, we may recommend that a submission for oral presentation be given as a poster. Please indicate on the submission form if you would accept an offer for poster presentation.

The poster boards will accommodate an A0 poster in portrait orientation. 

How to Submit an Abstract:

1. Download the Submission Form [download Submission Form.doc].
2. Complete the form and attach it together with an electronic copy of your table or figure if applicable, to an email with subject heading: Abstract Submission 2013. Please specify the first author and presentation title in the body of the email.
3. Submit your abstracts to:  
4. You should receive email confirmation of receipt within 3 working days.

There is no limitation on the number of abstracts an author may submit. Please do not submit the same abstract more than once.

Important dates...

  • Early-bird registration opens 28th Oct 2012
  • Call for abstracts 18th Nov 2012
  • Abstract submission deadline: 18th March 2013
  • Abstract acceptance notification: 26th April
  • Early-bird registration closes 7th May
  • Standard registration opens 8th May
  • Online registration closes 8th July


The 2013 symposium will be held at the University of Birmingham, UK. The university is convenient for travel from other parts of Britain – it has its own railway station – and is linked to Europe and the rest of the world via Birmingham International Airport.

The University of Birmingham
The University was founded in 1900 by the citizens of Birmingham who wanted their own university to train and educate the people who would create and manage the burgeoning businesses and industries of the midlands. It was natural, given the nature of Birmingham's industry, that the University should, from the start, teach the major scientific and engineering disciplines. It was also the first UK university to incorporate a Medical School. The modern University is equally distinguished in the humanities, education, social sciences and law, ranking 12th of 159 institutions in the UK. According to the latest (2008) UK Research Assessment Exercise, 60% of research activities in Public Health and Epidemiology were assessed as being world-leading or of international excellence.

The Conference
The conference will take place in the Wolfson Centre, located in the University’s Medical School. (Building B1 in the blue zone of the university map) It is a well-equipped facility, recently developed for large academic events. Oral presentations will take place in the 450-seat tiered Leonard Deacon Lecture Theatre, poster sessions and refreshments will be located in a dedicated mezzanine, while breakfast and lunch will be served on the lower floor of the complex, in the Med Café. The Medical School is conveniently located at a one minute walk from University Train Station. There is also a bus-stop outside which connects to the city centre.

Conference Dinner: Monday 15th July

**Tickets are included in the Registration Fee**

This year’s dinner will take place at the famous ‘Jam House’, which was opened by Jools Holland in 1999. Renowned for its live music and relaxed atmosphere, the Jam House occupies a grand Georgian building located in the heart of Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter.


Please note accommodation is not included in the Registration Fee

To book accommodation please go to the University of Birmingham Symposium Accommodation Booking Page

Travel details...

If you are travelling by air, Birmingham International Airport is very convenient. Otherwise below we detail several routes from London Heathrow.

From Birmingham New Street Station 
New Street is the central railway station in Birmingham, and is serviced by routes which cross the country north-south and east-west. To travel from New Street to the University, either take a taxi (fare about £10) or take a local train in the direction of Longbridge or Redditch to University Station (off peak day return fare £2.10 – you must buy a ticket at New Street). During weekdays there are at least four trains per hour and the journey takes ten minutes.

University Station, located at the West Gate, is very convenient for the conference venue. Please refer to the Edgbaston university map for directions between the three locations.

From Birmingham International Airport
A taxi from the airport to the University costs £25-30 and takes about half an hour. 

Alternatively, take the free Air-Rail monorail link from your terminal to Birmingham International Station (operates every two minutes, journey time 90 seconds), then take a train to Birmingham New Street Station (journal time 15 minutes). When you arrive at New Street follow the instructions above. Currently a single fare from Birmingham International to New Street is £ , and from Birmingham International to University station is £3.80.

Trains and Buses from London 
Birmingham is serviced by two train routes to London. Trains run regularly between London Euston and Birmingham New Street with a journey time of approximately 90 minutes. Fares vary according to time and class of travel, a standard open return currently costs £158, however if you can travel after 9.30am the price falls to £49.00. Please see the links below to book trains up to 3 months in advance for further reductions.

A slower service also runs from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill, which is a 5 minute walk from New Street through the centre of Birmingham. The journey time is between 2 and 2.5 hours, and the price of a standard open ticket is £95, however if you can travel after 9.30am the price falls to around £30. Again, booking in advance can reduce these prices further.

Alternatively take the National Express Bus to Digbeth Bus Station from Victoria Coach Station, located near Victoria Train Station. Buses run frequently, take around 3 hours and fares cost approximately £15. Digbeth has taxis outside the station for travel to your accommodation or the university (approximately £8-10).

From London Heathrow Airport

Routes avoiding London:

Routes that circumvent London provide the cheapest option.
National Express coaches run from the Central Bus Station at Heathrow to Birmingham Digbeth Bus Station, from where you can get a taxi to the university. The bus journey takes between 2.5 to 4 hours, and costs approximately £40 for a return journey. Advance booking is possible and reduces this price, however for up-to-date costs please visit the National Express website, linked below.

Alternatively you can use the Rail-Air Bus service, a bus from Heathrow Central Bus Station and Terminal 4 to Reading Railway Station and from there a train to Birmingham New Street. A similar service will take you by bus to Watford Junction, where you can take the train to Birmingham New Street. You can purchase a single ticket for the journey.

Routes through London: 

Travel through London is also possible, though more expensive. The underground (‘Tube’) Piccadilly Line connects all Heathrow terminals to the centre of London. Journey time is approximately 45-60 minutes, and single tickets cost £5.50. However, this fee is reduced with purchase of an Oyster Card. Please visit the Transport for London link at the bottom of the page for full details on travel to, and within, London.

The quickest route to London is to take the Heathrow Express train to London Paddington Station. The journey time is only 15 minutes and costs approximately £20.00 for a single and £39 for a return. Reduced fares can be purchased in advance by booking online. 

Travel Links

Please remember that train fares are expensive unless you buy in advance or travel at off-peak times (09:30-15:30).

For train times and fares, and to purchase rail tickets in advance, visit National Rail Enquiries or The Trainline  

For the Heathrow Express Train service, times and fares, please visit and
To plan your journey through London and view downloadable tube maps, visit Transport for London

For National Express coach times and fares, visit
For maps of the University of Birmingham campus see the university map

For more information on the City of Birmingham, see Visit Birmingham

Symposium Programme...

Download the Symposium Programme

 hub sponsor

Co-sponsored by the Midland Hub for Trials Methodology Research (MHTMR)