Keynote Address

Monday, May 6th

Bill Shaw

Monday, May 6th


Meeting the Challenges of Intercenter and International Research Cooperation

Research on cleft care is challenging, due to a diversity of outcomes, sample sizes, duration of follow-up, scarcity of grants, and a common isolation of cleft researchers from established research infrastructure units. Not surprisingly then, cleft research has frequently been criticised for weaker design, execution, and objectivity than health research elsewhere. There is an additional concern that inferior techniques are perpetuated long after their sell-buy date and that new unproven techniques are being exported to the developing world.

Cleft research capability, however, could be dramatically improved by better cooperation across individual disciplines, teams, and countries.  Furthermore, the inclusion of the ultimate users of research and their families in defining research goals and outcome measures, is increasingly regarded as an essential feature of good research. Successful cooperation could yield increased critical mass of both researcher and patient populations, and could enhance the visibility and credibility of findings and the implementation of results.

But cooperation brings its own challenges: getting along, crossing boundaries, sharing the work, sharing the credit. This lecture will present one beginner’s observations of both success and failure in collaborative cleft research.

Bill Shaw graduated in Dentistry in 1968, in his home town, Glasgow. He subsequently obtained post grad qualifications in dental surgery and orthodontics in Manchester then held academic clinical posts in Cardiff, where he completed a doctoral thesis. Returning to Manchester as Head of Orthodontics in 1983 and subsequently Dean of the School of Dentistry, he established the Cochrane Collaboration Oral Health Group, and a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for craniofacial anomalies.

His clinical practice has been confined to children with cleft lip and palate since 1976, and his research in cleft care with his wife Gunvor and other friends and colleagues includes several long term collaborative multinational projects sponsored by the European Union, and randomised trials of cleft surgery sponsored by NIH. He was honoured in the 2008 Queen’s Honours List.

In his free time he enjoys being a Grandpa, mountaineering, and trying to remember the words of songs of the 60’s.