Festival of Postgraduate Research 2017 Round Up

Our inaugural Festival of Postgraduate Research was a huge success. Featuring work from almost 90 postgraduate researchers, and including three visiting keynote speakers, a research poster and photo display, and the finals of the Three Minute Thesis, this week long series of events brought staff and students together in a celebration of doctoral research. Thanks to everyone who helped, participated and attended. We couldn’t have done it without you!

We’re already starting to think about future plans and would love to hear people’s thoughts on this year’s programme. Check out the festival highlights below, and if you have a few moments to spare, please complete our brief survey.

Catch up on the festival highlights

Three Minute Thesis
Posters & Photos
Opposites Attract
Keynote Lectures
The Winners

Could our competing students explain their research to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes? Find out below and see who'll be going forward to the national 3MT semi-final.

Three Minute Thesis Final and video




Daire Cantillon: Bacteria as Building Blocks; Investigating the Role of Biofilms in Tuberculosis

Enormous congratulations to:

  • Daire Cantillon: winner of the Research Photo Competition (above)
  • Marta Falcinelli: winner of the Research Poster Competition (student)
  • Qiaoyi Wang: runner up of the Research Poster Competition (student)
  • Jenny Hassall: winner of the Research Poster Competition (staff)
  • Dr Matt Adams: runner up of the Research Poster Competition (staff)
  • Majed Al-Jefri: people's choice in the Research Poster Competition

Many thanks to all researchers who entered the competitions and to everyone who cast their votes in our online ballots.

View all the submissions:

Research Photo Competition

Research Poster Competition

Our Opposites Attract Collaboration Challenge teamed up research students from different disciplines and invited them to work on a project of their choosing. The winning team were awarded £500 in memory of Prof David Arnold, former Dean of the Doctoral College. 

Read about the three projects and find out who won!





We were delighted to welcome three guest speakers to the festival: Dr Patricia Fara (Cambridge), Prof Steve Fuller (Warwick) and Prof Matthew Weait (Portsmouth).


Watch the keynote lectures



Relive the festival via our Twitter Storify!

Please don’t forget to share your thoughts with us. Our survey should only take a few minutes to complete.

Three Minute Thesis Live Final, May 2017

L-R: Patricia Soares, Lujain Mirza, Bahar Esfahani, Madeleine Conaghan, Qiaoyi Wang, Myrsini Athinaiou, Majed Al-Jefri

Our Three Minute Thesis (3MT) live final, one of the highlights of this year’s Festival of Postgraduate Research, brought an enthusiastic audience to Falmer to cheer on seven competitors (pictured above). Prof Tara Dean introduced the event, sharing her enthusiasm for this prestigious, global initiative and reminding us of the rules of 3MT: presenters must explain their research to a lay audience in just three minutes, using only one slide. Anyone going over the three minute limit would be disqualified.

For the first time, Brighton was participating in the national 3MT competition hosted by Vitae, open to research students who have passed transfer. Wanting to give early stage doctoral students the chance to join in the fun and practice their presentation skills, we ran our live event with two categories, pre- and post-transfer. Meet the competitors:

1. Majed Al-Jefri (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Automatic Assessment of Online Health Information Quality
2. Myrsini Athinaiou (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Risk management in the rescue of interconnected health systems
3. Qiaoyi Wang (School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Science): Modification of Antimicrobial Nanoparticles for Functional Textiles—A Potential Tool to Reduce the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance

4. Madeleine Conaghan (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Identifying and Reducing the Drivers Cognitive Burden
5. Bahar Khayamian Esfahani (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Prevention of skin cancer in young males through using a gender-aware HCD approach
6. Lujain Mirza (School of Media): Who are Saudi women?
7. Patricia Soares (Brighton & Sussex Medical School): What’s the role of personalised medicine in asthma and eczema?

The stage is set.

This was a truly international line up with only one of the seven presenters having English as their first language. Two 3MT training workshops had been held earlier in the year as part of our Researcher Development Programme, so some of our competitors had been refining their scripts and practising their presentation for months.

Our judging panel was six strong and comprised of Prof Alison Bruce, Prof Tara Dean, Dr Mark Erickson, Prof Darren Newbury, Prof Neil Ravenscroft and Dr Susan Sandeman. In addition to the judges’ awards in the two categories, the People’s Choice Award was to be decided by a poll of votes from audience members. The standard of presentations was excellent and after a break for judges’ deliberations and audience voting, the winners were announced. Congratulations to Qiaoyi Wang who scooped the pre-transfer prize and double congratulations to Lujain Mirza who took home both the judges’ post-transfer prize and the People’s Choice Award. Lujain, who will now go on to represent the University of Brighton in the national semi-final, said:

‘After attending the workshop for the 3MT I decided not to participate, but then one of Brighton University’s organisers told us “If fear is the only thing preventing you from joining, then you should participate to get over your fears.” This was the statement that encouraged me to join. I never imagined I would win, especially since English isn’t my first language and given my fear of speaking in front of a large audience. Winning was not the only thing I gained, but I met very nice people and made new friends. I also tested my limits and conquered my fears. This was a great experience that I would recommend to everyone.’

Watch our video of the live event below, and if you’re inspired to participate next year, keep an eye open for our training workshops. Congratulations to all participants – and best of luck to Lujain as she goes forward to the next stage!

Festival of Postgraduate Research 2017: the winners

Winners photo
Back row (L-R): Daire Cantillon, Qiaoyi Wang, Marta Falcinelli, Lujain Mirza.
Front row (L-R): Katie McCallum, Majed Al-Jefri, Kate Monson

Congratulations to all competition winners in our inaugural Festival of Postgraduate Research! Along with your peers, you highlighted the wealth and diversity of exciting, important research being undertaken at Brighton and helped make our festival a resounding success. Thank you.

Enormous thanks too to everyone who participated in our festival, whether as presenter, competition entrant, organiser, online voter or member of the audience.

Winners of our four competitions are listed below. Click the names in the poster and photo competitions to view the winning submissions. To view all poster and photo entries, go here.


1st prize: Marta Falcinelli (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences)
2nd prize: Qiaoyi Wang (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences)

1st prize: Jenny Hassall (School of Health Sciences)
2nd prize: Dr Matt Adams (School of Applied Social Science)

Majed Al-Jefri (School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics)


1st prize: Daire Cantillon (BSMS)
2nd prize: Lujain Mirza (School of Media)

1st prize (post-transfer) and entrance to the national 3MT semi-final heat: Lujain Mirza (School of Media)
1st prize (pre-transfer): Qiaoyi Wang (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences)
People’s Choice Prize: Lujain Mirza (School of Media)

1st prize, in memory of Professor David Arnold: Majed Al-Jefri (School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics), Katie McCallum (School of Humanities) and Kate Monson (School of Applied Social Science). Find out about the winning project here.


We’ll be back shortly with more photographs and a fuller write up of the festival. Videos of the 3MT competition and keynote lectures will also be uploaded in the next couple of weeks. We’ll be bringing you a short survey too as we’re keen to receive feedback from as many people as possible to ensure next year’s festival is the best it can be. Stay tuned!