Festival of Postgraduate Research 2018 Round up

The Doctoral College’s second Festival of Postgraduate Research saw a broad range of doctoral students and alumni showcasing their research through displays, presentations and competitions. Held at Huxley on 7 June, the penultimate day of term, the event brought staff and students together to enjoy a vibrant and stimulating afternoon.

After a welcome address from Prof Andrew Church, the festival opened with presentations from two pairs of PhD students who had taken on the Opposites Attract challenge of working with a researcher from a different discipline on a project of their own design for seven weeks. Heather Baid (Health Sciences) and Akinyo Ola (Business School) focused on exploring staff wellbeing and social auditing within the healthcare sector, a project that brought some of their overlapping research interests together. They presented their blog, discussed the project, future plans and what they’d gained from the experience. Robin Talbot (Environment and Technology) and Sandra Young (Computing, Engineering and Mathematics) focused on a shared interest in the environment for their project which used corpus-driven analysis, an approach from Sandra’s field, to investigate biofuels and deforestation in Brazil and representation of the issue in the news. Robin and Sandra presented their findings as a poster and spoke about the development of the project and what they’d learned from the collaboration. All four participants observed that working on an interdisciplinary project had proven to be surprisingly beneficial to their own research. Dr Ross English presented the winning duo, Heather and Akinyo, with the Prof David Arnold Memorial Prize of £500.

Prof Tara Dean introduced the second festival event, the highly popular Three Minute Thesis (3MT). Seven students stepped up to present their research to a general audience in under three minutes, using only one slide, with topics ranging from cyber security to cruise holidays to drinking during pregnancy.

During the break, audience members cast their vote for their favourite 3MT presenter and browsed submissions to the annual research poster and photo competitions, both of which were also open to online voting by the wider university community. Festival newcomer, Bake your Thesis, drew a great deal of comment and attention, and looks set to become a regular festival feature.

Prof Neil Ravenscroft then introduced a doctoral inaugurals session which saw three recent graduates, Dr Uschi Klein, Dr Richard Wallis and Dr Chantal Nobs, return to present their doctoral research. A panel discussion followed with three current students, Majed Al-Jefri, Abby Barras and Jason Porter joining the three graduates to discuss research study and research life at Brighton. Topics covered included wellbeing, expectations vs reality and advice to starters. Richard Wallis discussed the challenge of knowing when to stop and described the PhD is a starting point, not an ending, while Chantal Nobs advised not to spend too much time worrying about the viva and Abby Barras recommended treating research study like a job in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

The festival closed with a drinks reception and the announcement of the competition winners, with a final winner, the champion of a Tweet your Thesis competition, announced the following day. (See below for full list of winners.) Throughout the afternoon, the festival hashtag twitter feed was live-streamed on the plasma screens in Huxley. Check out the stream for a reminder of the day’s event.

Thanks to everyone who participated in and attended the festival. We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did and look forward to seeing you again next year!

Click on a pic to view full size photo galleries.

Poster competition winners

Prize-giving, drinks reception and bake-your-thesis eating


1st prize: Heather Baid (SHS) and Akinyo Ola (BBS)

1st prize: Jennifer Holland (SaSM)
Runner up: Jo Wilding (BBS)
People’s choice prize: Tochukwu Ozulumba (PaBS)

Joint 1st prize: Marta Falcinelli (PaBS) and Kristin O’Donnell (Humanities)
People’s choice: Myrthe Mampay (PaBS)

People’s choice prizes:
1st prize: Myrthe Mampay (PaBS)
Runner-up: Samuel Penny (PaBS)

1st prize: Marta Falcinelli, Renee Flaherty, Haya Intabli, Myrthe Mampay (PaBS) for ‘Baked Brain and Boobs’

1st prize: Harriet Pelling (PaBS)