Hi, my name is Jess Morgan –I’m a member of the SIOP YI-NET board and an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in the UK (I work part time as a clinician, and part time as a researcher). This week I’m blogging about what makes a SIOP Young Investigator, and also sharing a little bit about the YI network.

So… the basics – are you a YI? Well, for the purposes of most SIOP events, a Young Investigator is anyone in their early research career, from either a clinical or non-clinical background and from any scientific specialty. You may be someone with very little research experience at all, you may be doing a higher degree (Masters, PhD or an equivalent) or just considering one in the future, or you may be in your first few years as a post-doctoral researcher. You may be doing lab-based work, epidemiology, translational work, clinical trials, qualitative research, systematic reviews or anything in between! Essentially, if you’re young(ish) and working in paediatric oncology then you’re probably a YI. People often ask us about an age cut-off. If we HAVE to have one then it’s somewhere around 40, but we recognise that some people come to research later in life, or are working part time because of other commitments and so you can still be an early-career researcher after this point! For this reason, we’re pretty flexible about the age limit most of the time!

You are a Young Investigator regardless of whether you choose to attend the SIOP annual Congress. The YI committee aims to represent the interests of Young Investigators all year round. Young Investigators vary in their level of involvement: we have YI who are members of our wider SIOP YI network and who may never attend a YI event, those who limit their involvement to attending our Education Day or Collaborative Events, and those who go one step further and join the YI Committee. Finally, we have YI awardees and the YI board.

The SIOP YI-Network (YI-NET) is overseen by a board of six people who work hard throughout the year to ensure that SIOP is supporting young investigators. We’re all Young Investigators ourselves, and we’ve all been involved in YI activities for at least a year before we joined the board. Just like the general SIOP YI population – we’re a pretty varied bunch with lots of different experiences and interests.

As well as sitting on the board, each board member runs a sub-committee leading one of the six SIOP YI workstreams. These sub-committees are focused on the Educational Day, Collaborative Event, Social Media, Website and Blog, Mentorship scheme and the new Surgical Programme. Each sub-committee has around six people working on it to ensure we deliver the YI goals. You can find out more about the 2017-2018 YI Board and committee here (https://siop-online.org/blog/young-investigator-committee-2017-2018/). All YI Committee members are volunteers. If you want to join the YI Committee and become involved in one of our sub-committees – please do get in touch with us at young_investigators@siop-online.org

The final group of people we’d like to mention are our amazing YI Awardees! Each year we give out two different kinds of award – the YI Awards and the Young Talent Academy Awards. Essentially these are awarded to YIs with high scoring abstracts at the annual congress and provide you with SIOP membership, congress attendance and support for your travel and accommodation. Make sure to look out for the details about how to apply when you submit your abstract each year! Many of our SIOP YI award winners then go on to become part of the YI Committee and board.

So, hopefully now you know a little more about what makes someone a YI, as well as who the YI Board members, Committee Members and Awardees are!