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 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. You can watch the presentations on our 20 minute video.

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

Photo 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)

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



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