Keele Postgraduate Conference 2020

View all of the posters and videos from the conference, including the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition on the ILAS website.

Originally scheduled to take place earlier this year in its usual April slot and in the traditional surroundings of Keele Hall, the fifth Keele postgraduate conference, like so many events in our post-Covid world moved to an online virtual environment this year.

The ambition, however, remained unchanged; to celebrate the fantastic range and diversity of postgraduate work undertaken at Keele University.

The challenge to our students also remained unchanged; to share their work in progress and present their research in an accessible and inspiring way to an informed, but non-specialist audience of peers, students and staff with a focus on effective and engaging communication.

In doing so, the conference provided postgraduate students with an opportunity to gain valuable experience in sharing their work beyond their own field and most importantly to hear and learn more about the diverse range of work being undertaken in different fields and from different perspectives.

The conference also marked the official launch of the Keele Doctoral Academy (KDA).

Students could choose to:

  • Present their work as a poster, including a brief title and an abstract limited to 200 words.
  • Enter the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition; students present their work using just one slide and in just 3 minutes.
  • Create Your Doctorate; students present their research in a non-traditional format i.e a poem, painting or picture.

The online format proved popular with 140 visitors joining the conference throughout the morning. With 30 posters from 9 schools, 8 Three Minute Thesis presentations and the brand new Create Your Thesis competition, the Keele Postgraduate Conference was once more the place to be to celebrate postgraduate work across the university.

Conference welcome

Opening the conference, Vice-Chancellor Professor Trevor McMillan warmly welcomed participants to an exciting showcase of the talent, creativity and hard work of our postgraduate community.

He touched on the work of the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences, founders of the university’s first postgraduate conference in 2016. He went on to welcome Professor Alexandra Lamont as the recently appointed Director of the KDA. The Vice-Chancellor stressed the importance of the KDA in being the key mechanism for implementing a coherent strategic and operational approach to doctoral and postgraduate research (PGR) students across the university.

We were also delighted to welcome a recorded speech from the President of the Keele Postgraduate Association (KPA), Katie Charlton.

Katie commented on the work the KPA undertakes as a Students' Union that specialises in representing the interests of postgraduate students at Keele. She went on to congratulate students on their work on display today and to comment on how much she is looking forward to working closely with the KDA.

Three Minute Thesis competition

All eyes then turned to the much-anticipated Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition.

Eight engaging participants impressed the judges and audience with their pacy and polished presentations.

All who took part were commended by the judges for the exceptional quality of their work. Difficult as it was to separate the participants, the judges awarded £50 voucher prizes to the following:

- Amy Worrall, School of Pharmacy & Bioengineering
- Trisha Vikranth, School of Pharmacy & Bioengineering
- Mairead Hyland, School of Medicine

All those who attended were also asked to vote for a People’s Prize winner and here there was agreement with the judges with Amy Worrall the worthy recipient in what was an extremely close contest.

Panel session

In between time for networking with the poster presenters, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor David Amigoni chaired a panel, ‘What next? Reflecting on life after doctoral study’.

We were delighted to welcome Dr Jodie Underhill, Research Associate at Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), Dr Amber Regis, Senior Lecturer at University of Sheffield and Dr Jim Walsh, Chief Executive Officer at Conway Hall to offer their insights and reflections on their personal experiences of their experiences both during and after doctoral study.

Announcement of prizes

Throughout the morning, participants had been encouraged to engage with poster presenters, view their work and discuss their research before casting an online vote. Once all votes had been cast and counted, it fell to Pro Vice-Chancellor and ILAS Director Professor Jonathan Wastling to announce the prizes.

Jonathan commented on an excellent set of presentations and a really good attempt to communicate complex ideas through visual and text media. He noted that the judges were particularly impressed with the range of topics and methods and the creative ways people illustrated their research.

The Judges Prizes were awarded to the following people and their posters:

1st Prize
Kyle Storey, School of Medicine
Can ‘stealth’ coatings for therapeutic nanoparticles prevent inflammatory responses by the brain’s immune cells?

2nd Prize
Hannah Cross, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Species identification of compromised bone: An analytical study

3rd Prize
Julie Longson, School of Social, Political & Global Studies
When did you last see your Father?

There was a People’s Prize for both winner and runner-up and as with the Three Minute Thesis completion, the voting was incredibly close.

1st Prize
Chris Briggs, School of Computing and Mathematics
Reducing Carbon Emissions by Enabling Consumer Acceptance of Smart Meters Through a Novel Privacy-preserving Energy Forecasting Application

Joint Runners-up
Hannah Cross, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Species identification of compromised bone: An analytical study

Aimee Merrydew, School of Humanities
What did they really say? Exposing rape culture through blackout poetry

We were also delighted to announce the winner of the Create Your Thesis competition as voted for by both the judges and the people attending the conference:

Amy Worrall, School of Pharmacy & Bioengineering
The Sense-Saving SIFT (a Dr Seuss-inspired short poem)

Closing remarks

Finally, Professor Alexandra Lamont, who had brilliantly chaired the conference and expertly guided us all through the various online channels and breakout sessions (no easy thing to do!) thanked everyone for their participation and engaging contributions to what had been a very different but no less enjoyable Keele Postgraduate Conference.

We look forward to welcoming you all to the 2021 Keele Postgraduate Conference.

A series of break-out sessions closed the day at which all participants were encouraged to attend.

You can watch the conference on the ILAS website here, as well as view all of the posters and book of abstracts.