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Medical Education

The National Undergraduate Neuroanatomy Competition (NUNC) 2021

Published: 7 September 2021

On Saturday 10th July 2021, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton, in association with The Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland hosted its ninth annual National Undergraduate Neuroanatomy Competition. One hundred and four medical students from across the UK and Ireland attended the one-day conference that was designed to inspire and enhance the skills of budding neurologists and neuroscientists. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, NUNC 2021 was hosted virtually via Zoom.

Competitors sat both a multiple-choice exam and neuroanatomy spotter via a bespoke online examination platform. Delegates were invigilated using proctoring software to ensure the integrity of the competition was maintained. The overall winners for the day were Fareha Khalil (Pre-Clinical Winner from the University of Limerick) and Connor Gillespie (Clinical Winner from the University of Liverpool). We were honoured to have talks from invited and distinguished guest speakers Mr Richard Nelson (Consultant Neurosurgeon, North Bristol NHS Foundation Trust) and Mr Bassel Zebian (Consultant Neurosurgeon, Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust).

The event was led by fourth year medical students, Deepika Anbu and James Harrison, who collaborated with a dedicated team of students, faculty staff and clinicians. Given the unique challenges facing NUNC 2021, the dedicated NUNC team were able to adapt and deliver a successful ninth (and first virtual) competition which was received well by delegates. We would like to thank everyone who supported and helped the event become a success particularly The Centre for Learning Anatomical Sciences, The Anatomical Society, MDU, BMA, Barber Medical, Thieme, Elsevier and The Society of Radiologists in Training.

Of note, we are particularly grateful to the Anatomical Society for their ongoing support of NUNC. The funding from the Anatomical Society allowed the competition to fund the use of a bespoke exam platform (Synap) to host both the anatomy spotter and MCQ examination. The professional service provided by Synap (including remote proctoring) ensured our delegates had a high-quality experience as well as maintaining the integrity of NUNC – without the support of the Anatomical Society using this platform would have not been possible. In addition, we are also grateful for the advice provided by the Anatomical Society in relation to the use of online cadaveric images. Using the advice provided we ensured all delegates read, understood and signed a pre-examination declaration regarding prohibiting sharing of images taken for the anatomy spotter examination. Finally, we would like to thank in particular Professor Ceri Davies for his continued support in particular reviewing our MCQ questions to ensure not only that they are of high quality but also align to best practice guidelines. In addition, Prof Davies provided a pre-recorded address on the day of the competition as well as provided a live address for our awards ceremony which helped to further promote and enhance the reputation of the Anatomical Society.

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