Festival of Postgraduate Research 2019 Round up

‘The best yet’ was the overall response to this year’s Festival of Postgraduate Research. Held on May 22 in Huxley, this annual event brought together around 120 staff and students from across the institution to celebrate the pioneering doctoral research being undertaken at Brighton.

Festival attendees Students presented their research and shared their experiences in a wide variety of formats. On display in the foyer were research posters, research photos and submissions to Bake your Thesis while in the main arena, students from a range of disciplines took to the stage to present to the festival audience.

Gavin Leong (SET) and Rageshree Sinha (BBS) spoke about their interdisciplinary project investigating the application of machine learning to predict ecological footprint trends, and detailed how much they’d gained from working with a researcher from another discipline.

A session featuring talks on two of the university’s COREs, SECP and STRAND, saw PaBS PhD student, Myrthe Mampay, revealing how she’d benefited from working in a multi-disciplinary cohort of students. Tochukwu Ozulumba, also from PaBS, shared her experience of public engagement work, including her journey from Soapbox Science volunteer in Brighton to Soapbox Science organiser in Nigeria. Esther Omotola Ayoola, PhD student in SASS, spoke about her work as a tutor on the Brilliant Club’s Scholars Programme, an initiative seeking to widen access to universities by placing doctoral researchers in state schools.

The Three Minute Thesis competition, back for its third year and one of the festival’s most popular events, featured seven students explaining their research in just three minutes, using only one slide. The judging panel, Prof Andrew Church, Prof Tara Dean, Dr Niki Khan and Dr Cathy Palmer, were highly impressed with the standard of work, particularly considering that a number of presenters were still in their first year of research study.

Research poster architecture and comics
People’s choice research poster winner: Alex Fitch, School of Architecture and Design (click to enlarge)

Another festival favourite, the doctoral inaugural lectures, saw three recent graduates, Dr Will Abbott (SaSM), Dr Louisa Buck (School of Art) and Dr Jonathan Dale (SET), return to speak about their PhD research and life beyond the doctorate, offering inspiration for current students working towards that end goal.

In addition to the various talks, competitions and stalls was a live demo of Pure, the university’s research website, newly launched for doctoral students. Originally scheduled to go live this summer, Pure’s early launch at the festival was the result of a great deal of behind-the-scenes technical work, precision planning and heavy-duty nail-biting from staff across four departments. To our relief, students were able to access and publish their Pure profiles on the day and take advantage of the associated profile photo drop-in held in the festival’s bustling foyer area.

The festival closed with a drinks reception and presentation of prizes – a somewhat restricted event this year due to the presence of an ‘art installation‘ (aka building repair works) in the foyer. Nonetheless, there was still enough space (just!) for attendees to mingle and raise a glass to the many and varied achievements of our wonderful, hard-working doctoral students.

We’re already thinking about next year’s festival so if you have any thoughts on this year’s mix of events and what you’d like to see next year, please complete our short survey.

Videos of 3MT and the doctoral inaugurals will be uploaded shortly. In the meantime you can view photos of the festival, including all Bake your Thesis submissions, in our online Flickr gallery.



Judges’ 1st prize: Alexander Kolliari-Turner (School of Sport and Service Management)

Judges’ runner up: Gheed Al-Hity (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences)

People’s choice prize: Alexander Kolliari-Turner (School of Sport and Service Management)


Gavin Leong (School of Environment and Technology) and Rageshree Sinha (Brighton Business School)


Judges’ 1st prize: Adora Udechukwu (School of Environment and Technology)

Judges’ runner up: Jason Preston (School of Applied Social Science)

People’s choice: Alex Fitch (School of Architecture and Design)


People’s choice prizes:

1st prize: Sam Penny (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences)

Runner up: Flavia Bonalumi (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences)


1st prize: Emma Ward (School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences)


1st prize: Adora Udechukwu (School of Environment and Technology)

Tweetyourthesis winner screengrab