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Meet a Diabetes Dragons' Den awardee: Oluwaseun

Ahead of the launch of our Diabetes Dragons' Den for 2024, we're speaking to those who successfully pitched to our 'dragons' for funding last year. 

In our first interview we hear from Oluwaseun Anyiam, University of Nottingham / University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust who was awarded £10,000 for his project exploring if High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can improve maintenance of type 2 diabetes remission. Oluwaseun details his experience of the 'dragons' den' and how the grant will help his career - read the full interview below.

What is your project title?

Can High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) improve maintenance of type 2 diabetes remission

Can you give us some background on your project and its aims?

The NHS Path to Remission Programme uses low calorie diets to help individuals with type 2 diabetes achieve remission of their condition. However, maintenance of this remission can be difficult and relapse occurs in a significant proportion of individuals within 5 years. HIIT training is an exciting, time-efficient, and cheap form of physical activity that is becoming increasingly popular in society. Previous research suggests it can also help individuals with type 2 diabetes improve their blood glucose control and pancreas function.

This project aims to explore whether engaging in a HIIT programme has the potential to increase the number of people that remain in long-term type 2 diabetes remission following the Path to Remission programme. We will recruit twenty individuals that have successfully completed the programme and randomly allocate them to either an intervention group (HIIT training) or control group (usual care). Changes in beta cell function, insulin resistance and glycaemic control will be assessed at baseline and after 4 months.

What was your reaction to the grant award?

I was extremely delighted to receive the £10,000 grant. Not only was I really looking forward to conducting a research project that I fully believe in, I also felt very proud to receive my first successful award of independent funding for a project I have designed. This has given me a huge confidence boost for further research funding applications going forwards. I am also incredibly grateful to the organisers of this initiative for providing this unique opportunity.

Tell us about your experience of the Dragon’s Den

I felt it was a fantastic experience for an early career researcher like me. I really enjoyed the novelty of the process, especially the ability to present my research idea right from the outset. The initial 2-minute video was a great idea as it forced candidates to present our proposals in a clear and concise manner, which is an absolutely essential skill for anybody attempting to build a career in research. I also thought the interview format worked very well, with the initial “pitch” allowing an opportunity to display our passion for the project we are proposing, and subsequent questions enabling our knowledge of the subject area to be examined in detail.

How will this grant award will help your career?

Success with this grant award has given me the confidence to actively seek other funding opportunities, and has demonstrated to me that I am starting to develop the skills required to be a successful academic. The funding will also enable me to perform research into a topic of great interest to me, which will hopefully lead to the development of much larger research projects in this area. I intend to have a fully active academic career and this grant award has hopefully provided the first steps to achieving that.

First launched in 2023, the Diabetes ‘Dragons' Den’ aims to provide a route for supporting clinically relevant innovative projects in the area of diabetes care. 

Learn more about the funding scheme.