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

Festival of Postgraduate Research Programme 2019

Festival banner


Competition details and deadlines

Huxley foyer: registration, refreshments, stalls, poster and photo competitions, Bake your Thesis
Huxley 300 (lecture theatre): talks, demos and presentations

Festival Programme

10.30-12.00: Pre-festival workshop for doctoral students
Creating and Raising your Research Profile
Advanced Engineering, G2, Moulsecoomb
Sign up on PhD Manager (log in required)

11.30-13.00: Profile-photo drop in
Get a professional profile photo taken for your Pure profile
Huxley foyer

12.30-13.00: Festival registration

Check out the research poster and photo competition submissions, and visit our stands to find out about The Brilliant Club, Digital Storytelling and more.

13.00-13.20: Welcome address from Prof Andrew Church and Opposites Attract presentation
The Opposites Attract Collaborative Challenge pairs up doctoral students from different disciplines and challenges them to work on a project of their own design for eight weeks. This year’s participants present their outputs and reflections on the project.

13.20-13.50: Lightning talks

  • COREs: find out about the work of some of the university’s Centres of Research and Enterprise Excellence (COREs) and how they support doctoral students
  • Pure: find out about Pure, the university’s new research information management system and profile platform, and how it can help doctoral students raise their research profile

13.50-14.30: The Three Minute Thesis
Introduced by Prof Tara Dean
In this nail-biting festival highlight, doctoral students take on the challenge of presenting their research to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes, using only slide. Audience members are invited to vote for their favourite presenter during the mid-afternoon break with winners announced at the festival’s closing reception.

14.30-15.00: Break

Refreshments, 3MT audience voting and the reveal of this year’s Bake your Thesis submissions!

15.00-15.45: Lightning Talks on the theme of Public Engagement

  • The Brilliant Club:: Dr Cathy Mansfield from The Brilliant Club, a charity that places PhD tutors in state schools through their Scholars Programme, explains how you can participate and introduces Esther Omotola Ayoola, one of Brighton’s PhD tutors.
  • CUPP: Dave Wolff, director of the university’s Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP), discusses the benefits of the programme for community organisations and researchers, and explains how to get involved
  • Digital Storytelling: Isobel Creed, Research Communications Officer, discusses how digital storytelling can be used as a tool to help doctoral students hone and communicate their research project
  • A PhD student’s perspective: Tochukwu Ozulumba, PhD student in PaBS and our 3MT People’s Choice winner in 2018, reveals why and how she seeks to engage the wider public in her research

15.45-16.45 Doctoral inaugural mini-lectures
Three recent doctoral graduates return to present their research:
Dr Jonathan Dale: The evolution of the sediment regime in coastal saltmarsh restoration schemes
Dr Louisa BuckGreek Mythology and the British political cartoon: a classical reception approach to the case study of Sisyphus
Dr Will Abbott: Monitoring and prescription of GPS training load in elite academy soccer athletes

16.45-18.00: Drinks reception and prize giving



Get yourself Pure-profile ready!

Pure for doctoral students is coming soon… 

and it’s coming to the festival!

What is Pure? 
Pure is a research information management system used by many universities and currently available to academic staff at Brighton. Pure enables Brighton to better understand and report on the full picture of its research activity. It provides individual users with a platform for recording outputs and creating a research profile. Supervisor profiles on the university’s website now link to Pure.

Pure at the Festival of Postgraduate Research 2019
To support the launch of Pure and help you prepare your profile for the system, we have three activities at our festival on Weds 22 May, Huxley:

Creating and Raising your Research Profile workshop
Advanced Engineering G2, Moulsecoomb

This participatory workshop helps you adopt some of the best practices and avoid some of the pitfalls of academic profile building. We’ll look at how we can help others make best sense of our work and how we might attract new audiences to get us to the next stage of an academic or professional career.

This workshop is run by colleagues in the university’s Research Communications team.

A demo of Pure on the main stage
One of several lightening talks at the festival, this session will introduce you to Pure, and show you how to set up your profile and make the most of the platform.

Free profile photo drop in
Huxley foyer

Get your free, professional profile photograph. It can take 3-5 minutes for each photo to be taken so sign up on the day and await your turn. We’ll have lots going on in the foyer area with research posters and photos on display, and a range of information stands. You can upload your profile photo wherever you want, including to Pure. Thanks to colleagues in Careers Services and Media Services for providing this drop-in session. Here’s a couple of examples of the type of fabulous photo you could get.

Shaun Williams profile pic
Abby Barras, PhD student Shaun Williams, PhD student

Festival activities in Huxley lecture theatre will start at 1pm and close around 4.45pm when we’ll have prize-giving and a drinks reception in the foyer. We hope to confirm the full programme shortly.

In the meantime, get the date in your diary by getting your free ticket!