Life Beyond the PhD Conference 2017

Life Beyond the Phd Conference 2017.JPG

My review of ‘Life after the PhD’ conference at Cumberland Lodge 2017 by Betsy Lewis Holmes

I had little idea what to expect of this conference.  I was concerned that it would not be relevant for me, would be a low standard and not suitable for PhD students, mature students or those with previous work experience (I fit in all these categories). I was very pleasantly surprised with my experience, and recommend a visit to Cumberland Lodge for students of all disciplines. It is particularly recommended if you are interested in interdisciplinary working and collaboration.

I arrived at the historic and beautiful Cumberland Lodge on Tuesday afternoon, having driven through Windsor Park. We stayed for three nights and I was lucky enough to have a room to myself. The Lodge has excellent facilities, much like an Oxbridge college, and it was a pleasure to stay. There are many sitting rooms, lovely gardens to stroll about, a bar, games room, and of course good quality catering.  The whole building is full of art and design (part of the Royal Collections Trust). The setting (particularly the catering) allowed delegates to really focus on making the best connections and having the most inspiring conversations possible. There were about 40 delegates in total.

All aspects of the programme had been carefully organised and vetted to ensure they were of the high standard appropriate to PhD students. For instance, I came to the 9am Wednesday session on ‘Successful Applications’ thinking this was perhaps not going to be helpful – what more could I learn about how to make a C.V? The speakers, Dr Steve Joy & Katie Hewitt, proved me wrong, and I am not usually someone who enjoys ‘careers talks’. We were given practical information, relevant to those applying inside and outside of academia. We practised mock interviews and shared our CVs in small groups.

Workshops included tips for the viva, public speaking and public engagement, topics, which many of us think we know but these were of a high standard, with well-renowned experts in the field. I particularly enjoyed the public engagement workshop given by Steve Cross (Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow) who encouraged us all to try using our thesis as material for stand-up comedy! This has really got me thinking about how to use creative skills when completing the PhD.

The final talk ‘Why is a PhD worth it?’ given by Dr Tom Cutterham from the University of Birmingham was the highlight for me personally as it affirmed many of my experiences of doing a PhD. Tom encouraged us to think about how the PhD allows you to think differently about your life choices, how it changes you and what you desire.

The majority of students during this year’s conference were from the social sciences. As a humanities student I found myself in a minority, and conversations with social scientists really pushed me to reflect on my thesis project, the steps taken, methodologies and ‘data’ gathered. I was inspired to think about my project with new eyes. On the Thursday we each gave 5minute presentations about our work and then created an ‘interdisciplinary research proposal’ together. This was possibly the most challenging task I have completed during my PhD – and tested our communication and collaboration skills, but was so fascinating and interesting in retrospect.

I left with new friends, colleagues and inspiration for completing my thesis and beginning my life after the PhD. I felt empowered and full of ideas for possible futures. I know I will be staying in touch with many of the delegates I met, and there is already a London follow-up event being organised.

Thank you to Exeter Doctoral College for funding my attendance at the conference. I encourage anyone who has the chance to visit Cumberland Lodge and am happy to discuss my experiences further or answer questions.

Written by: Betsy Lewis-Holmes- Medical History PhD Researcher

Betsy Lewis Holmes


From inception to inaugural launch: Exclamat!on: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Exclamation Journal

A new postgraduate journal supported by the University of Exeter’s College of Humanities and Doctoral College’s Researcher Development team.

Our decision to start a new journal for Postgraduate Research and Taught students in the disciplines of English, Creative Writing and Film at the University of Exeter was rather a spontaneous one. As we state in our editorial introduction to the journal, the initial idea was conceived in a corridor, and within six months or so, we were delighted to present the first edition. We named it Exclamat!on: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and set no thematic constraints for the first issue, so as to appeal to the widest range of contributors possible. Our initial mission for the journal was simple. We sought to create an innovative space in which PGRs and PGTs could engage in current debates and interdisciplinary discussions; we wanted to bring together divergent and creative ideas, and fundamentally showcase work via a new publishing platform within the Department of English.

Starting a journal was certainly a challenge, especially as neither of us (the editors) had any prior experience in publishing.  We sought initial advice from academics about what they felt a postgraduate publication should contain, how we should proceed, and how it should present English at the University of Exeter to the wider world. One of the key messages was that, to be forward-facing and in keeping with other academic publishing ventures, it should be online and open-access. However, we also felt that such a monumental venture deserved something a little more special for its inaugural edition than simply being uploaded onto the internet.

We applied for, and were delighted to receive, funding in the form of the Researched-Led Initiative Award from the Researcher Development team, and the PGR Activities Award from the College of Humanities. As a result, we were able to commission a limited print run of the journal, and to hold a launch event. We wanted to ensure that as many PGRs and PGRs as possible could benefit from the event. To this end, we invited Ben Doyle, the English Editor from Palgrave Macmillan, to join us, to talk to students from across the Humanities about the publishing process, and to answer their questions about preparing and submitting a manuscript. These conversations were then continued informally over a drinks and canapes reception.

The event was attended by over forty postgraduate students and academic staff from the Departments of English, History and Classics (to name but a few), the Sabbatical Officers from the Students’ Guild, as well as senior members of the Doctoral College, and received wider support from across the University. The event was appreciated by the audience who described it as a “very useful overview of how to get published” and a “very useful and enjoyable session”. Students felt that they had a better understanding of the publishing process and several mentioned feeling more confident about approaching a publisher once they had finished their PhD. Staff attenders commented on the fact that they now felt able to better advise their PhD students about publication. The link to employability was also noted, with students appreciating the introduction to the world of publishing as a possible profession: “I will look more into publishing as a career prospect” was the action identified by one attendee.

The event in its entirety was extremely successful – much more so than we had envisaged or possibly could have hoped for – and a wonderful way to celebrate the beginning of a new journal. The production of physical copies cemented, for us, the reality of the process, and can now be utilised as an important marketing tool. The funding awards meant that we were in a position to put on a “very, very good” session and create a “fabulous, helpful afternoon”. More importantly, the whole process – from the journal’s inception to the finished product – crucially created opportunities to network, inform, and, most importantly, to celebrate the vibrant and diverse postgraduate community within the Humanities at the University of Exeter. This was our ultimate aim.

Even if we do say so ourselves, the journal also serves to exemplify the hard work and achievements of the editors, editorial team and contributors. We hope, too, that it demonstrates just some of the possibilities and opportunities that can occur beyond the PhD thesis. This is most evident, we feel, in the fact that, from beginning to end, it has been a distinctly postgraduate endeavour. The innovative and accessible nature of the journal has also meant that many of the conversations outlined above have continued beyond the first edition. As we now look ahead to the second edition, we hope that our venture will inspire other postgraduate students to get involved, as contributors, peer-reviewers or on the editorial board. As this pilot year, too, was such a success, we now have greater ambitions, and are looking to open up the journal in terms of submissions to all UK institutions. Following on from this, we will be sending out a call for submissions for the second edition, as well as opening up positions on the editorial team in the new academic year, so watch this space!

To view the journal please click here.

Written by:
Sarah-Jayne Ainsworth- Year 3 PhD English Student
Teresa Sanders- Year 2 PhD English Student

For more information and/or any queries, please feel free to contact us at:

Exclamation Editors

Fragmentary notes on hat-making and teaching modernism

In Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel, Mrs Dalloway, Septimus Warren Smith and his wife Rezia are engaged in a common creative act:

What had she got in her work-box? She had ribbons and beads, tassels, artificial flowers. She tumbled them out on the table. He began putting odd colours together – for though he had no fingers, could not even do up a parcel, he had a wonderful eye, and often was right […].
‘She shall have a beautiful hat!’ he murmured, taking up this and that, Rezia kneeling by his side, looking over his shoulder. Now it was finished – that is to say the design; she must stitch it together. (104)

This particular passage from the novel resonates with me, among other reasons, because I think it sums up concisely the prerequisites of genuine collaboration: attentiveness, openness and humbleness. Rezia, the professional hat-maker shares the contents of her toolbox with her clumsy and mentally ill husband, who despite having ‘no fingers’ takes an active part in the process of hat-making. He matches colours and textiles with uncommon sensitivity, while Rezia watches him with care and curiosity, ready to ‘stitch together’ the selected materials.

The above-mentioned scene from Mrs Dalloway cropped up in my mind at the 2017 BAMS Postgraduate Training Day, organised at De Montfort University, Leicester. This year’s topic was modernism and pedagogy, which gave us the opportunity to reflect upon teaching methods, current challenges in higher education, and most importantly, teacher–student relationships. In what ways can teachers of modernism – be they well-established lecturers in the field or graduate teaching assistants with minimal experience – rethink their approach to pedagogy, modernist fiction and students? And ultimately what can modernist texts themselves teach us about teaching? The lectures we listened to, followed by lively and intellectually fulfilling discussions raised many exciting questions.

Nowadays, especially in western countries it has become widely accepted that teachers are not mere providers of information but they are rather facilitators, motivating and helping students on their intellectual journey. This might sound very democratic and reassuring but what does it actually mean for the educator (in particular for graduate teaching assistants who are somehow suspended in the liminal space between student and lecturer status)? One potential answer was offered by Dr Claire Warden’s thought-provoking presentation on the role of failure in higher education. Warden’s lecture was inspired by Carrie J. Preston’s Learning to Kneel: Noh, Modernism, and Journeys in Teaching (2016), which explores the influence of Japanese noh theatre on modernist poets and playwrights, such as Pound, Yeats, Brecht, and Beckett. However, as the author states in the Preface, the book was written not only from a scholar’s but also from a teacher’s (and student’s) point of view, Preston’s explicit aim being to share with her readers the lessons she learned as a trainee noh practitioner in Japan. The book argues in favour of a pedagogical model that interrogates western lionisation of success and instead seeks to embrace the notion of failure as a painful but necessary step in the learning process. Admitting failure in our capacities of teachers of modernism can ultimately lead to a more humble and open-minded attitude, and thus create a shared space with students, where we can momentarily un-learn rhetoric and master the art of respectful listening.

Obviously, acknowledging failure is not easy, primarily because it makes us exposed to forces beyond our control. But is vulnerability indeed such a scarecrow? Does it necessarily have to imply that we are weak, incomplete, never-good-enough? Many scholars seem to disagree with such views. In a 2010 article in Teaching in Higher Education, the authors have stated:

If we ask academics to hold students in a space of vulnerability and uncertainty in which they can embrace their own beings, it is necessary that we create the kind of environment where academics can explore their own vulnerability and uncertainty. (643)

Neither educators nor students are programmed machines designed to automatically process and transmit sets of data. We are human beings, with a limited amount of knowledge, individual backgrounds and emotions, which undoubtedly make us fragile and contribute to our increasing sense of uncertainty. But, after all, are these not the preconditions of our ability to ‘embrace’ our ‘own beings’ and that of others? The prerequisites of forming a community where everyone is given the chance to speak and listen, fail and stand up in their own time and rhythm?

We can turn to many excellent academic and non-academic guides when encountering dilemmas regarding our teaching practice, and by no means do I suggest that we should eliminate these from our reading list. But what if we also took inspiration from the very material we are teaching? Modernist fiction is fraught with passages similar to the one discussed at the beginning of this blog entry. By reading the hat-making scene in Mrs Dalloway we can learn, together with Rezia, how to ‘kneel’ by the ‘side’ of our students, looking not down on but with them, because as Woolf wrote in another novel: ‘looking together’ might, after all, create unity… (To the Lighthouse 106)

Works cited:

Blackie, Margaret A.L., Jennifer M. Case, and Jeff Jawitz. ‘Student-Centredness: The Link between Transforming Students and Transforming Ourselves.’ Teaching in Higher Education 15.6 (2010): 637–46.

Preston, Carrie J. Learning to Kneel: Noh, Modernism, and Journeys in Teaching. New York and Chichester: Columbia University Press, 2016.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs Dalloway. 1925. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Limited. 2003.

—. To the Lighthouse. 1927. London: Penguin, 2000.

Written by: Imola Nagy-Seres- Second year English Literature PhD Student

Imola Nagy-Seres


Imola Nagy-Seres is a second year doctoral student in English literature at the University of Exeter, UK. The working title of her thesis is ‘The Tremors of Sympathy: Affect Sharing in the Modern and Contemporary British Novel’. She is particularly interested in questions related to self, autonomy and the role of the body in creating interpersonal bonds. She holds an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature from the University of Leeds and a Joint Honours Degree in Hungarian and English from Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania. As part of her BA Degree she also completed a two-year pedagogical course and gained a PGCE in secondary education. She takes delight in writing about her research for a wider audience: her most recent blog entry entitled ‘Virginia Woolf and Ballet’ can be read on The Virginia Woolf Blog. Her latest critical review is due to be published in The Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies (HJEAS) later this year.


Institute of Health Research Early Career Researcher Network Event

The Early Career Researcher Event was held on a warm sunny day on St Luke’s Campus. A sense of anticipation was in the air, as the attendees caught sight of the burgeoning tables, overflowing with offerings for the cake competition later that day.

Cake 1 Cake 2Cake 3

A few of the entrees to the competition

All Early Career Researchers on bands E and F were invited to attend, along with people who had recently been promoted to G grade. We were especially eager to make the event open to research facing professional service staff and people based in Cornwall and Plymouth University.

Our Speakers:

Jane Slaven, an Advisor from the HR department started off the day by talking to us about the structures that are in place within the University to support us during our career progression. She highlighted the importance of working alongside our line managers to ensure we could identify and meet the targets required for progression. She also signposted us to the University webpages where we might find a range of useful resources to help us manage our physical and psycho-social wellbeing:

Our second speaker was Professor Michelle Ryan, Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology/ Dean of Postgraduate Research and Director of the University of Exeter Doctoral College. She discussed the role and structure of the Doctoral College and emphasised the importance of Early Career Researchers in providing feedback to her regarding particular issues which affect us. This will help the developing Doctoral College listen to the voices of Early Career Researchers and ensure that the support they provide is representative of our needs.

The Vice-Dean of Research, Professor Angela Shore then talked about how our roles as ECRs are funded; primarily through individual research grants and teaching opportunities. The importance of gaining lecturing experience was discussed in an interactive session, with audience members contributing various other ideas, such as contributing towards funding bids, which could aid in our career progression. Attendees found this session highly useful and it highlighted the need for the peer-network to also consider how individuals without a PhD could also progress with their careers.

Professor Nicky Britten (Professor of Applied Health Care Research) built on the theme of being proactive. Talks focused on the need for ECRs to flag any concerns about the way we are managed with our Heads of Research. This led to a discussion later on that afternoon about the need for a suitable feedback system so that ECRs knew what actions had been taken after they had raised concerns. Nicky also outlined how ECRs contribute towards the IHR.

Afternoon Discussion:

The afternoon discussion provided the opportunity for ECRs to discuss what they would like the future of the peer-network to look like. Whilst we agreed that it was useful to have a space to come and share concerns, it was suggested that it would be constructive to also have a positive focus during meetings. Various ideas which were put forward included:

  • Having the opportunity to talk about the work that we are all involved in.
  • Inviting external speakers to occasionally attend part of a session and deliver talks on agreed topics for the development of ECR peer network members.
  • Structuring sessions around particular topics e.g. C.V. construction.

Inspired by the talk from Michelle, there was a high degree of interest in using a peer-network meeting to identify key issues of importance for ECRs at Exeter University to feedback to the Doctoral College. A preliminary date for this has been set for 5th July, during the next face-to-face Early Career Researcher Meeting in South Cloisters.

Our attendees from Plymouth indicated that they would like to be involved with the Exeter Peer Network via video-conferencing. This is a very exciting expansion of our peer-network and we look forward to getting to know each other more in the future.

When asked about what they had found most useful from the event, attendees said:

  • “All speakers provided very useful information”
  • “Loved the cake competition!”
  • “Finding out that whatever level, people have similar concerns”
  • “Understanding overall what the perspective of the university is around ECR’s”
  • “Talking to other ECRs!”

Winning Cake

Winning entry to the cake competition: Jo Varley-Campbell (Research Fellow: University of Exeter Medical School PenTAG Systematic Reviewer) with her beautiful white chocolate and raspberry creation.

Overall, the event was a welcome opportunity to meet colleagues at a similar stage in their careers and share experiences over cake. We look forward to doing the same again next year.

Written by : Dr Liz Shaw -Research Associate: University of Exeter Medical School HS&DR Systematic Reviewer

Liz Shaw

The Researcher Led Initiative awards are intended to enable postgraduate research students and early career research staff to be creative, proactive, and empowered, through the process of initiating, designing, managing, and delivering new professional development activities for their peers that will develop the skills and experience needed to progress their careers. The awards support short-term, well-defined initiatives that develop and deliver transferable skills training experiences and/or resources to the applicants’ peers across the University.

Are you preparing your poster for the upcoming Postgraduate Research Showcase?

Are you preparing your poster for the upcoming Postgraduate Research Showcase? Kirsten Thompson, one of last year’s prize winner’s, offers her thoughts and tips for designing a poster.

Making a good poster, a really good poster, is not as easy as you might think and is an incredibly good skill to acquire. Think about attending large conferences with 4,000 delegates and hundreds and hundreds of posters. Do you want to spend the time reading the text of every one? Which ones catch your eye? Make you want to stop? Which ones do you walk away from feeling inspired and actually understanding the new discovery?

I found designing my poster for the University of Exeter Postgraduate Research Showcase 2016 a task which forced me to really focus the key findings of my research. I had to distil several years of research into a very small word count. I work on a deep diving oceanic Southern Hemisphere whale which we only very rarely see alive – Gray’s beaked whale. Almost all we know about this species is what we have inferred from genetic analyses. My poster attempted to tell the story of how this research has evolved and how the methods we have used have developed our understanding of the biology of such an enigmatic species.

Secrets of the Dead
Kirsten Thompson’s Winning Poster- Secrets of the Dead: Examining genetic kinship in Gray’s beaked whales

I was absolutely delighted to be the Winner of the STEM category! I am a part-time student also working part-time as well as being a mother to three teenage children. It was incredibly encouraging to have won this award, not only to be the recipient of the Amazon voucher, but also to be given recognition for the time, care and thought spent.

PGR Showcase Display in the Forum

I learned a huge amount and here are the key things that really stand out for me both when I was designing my poster and when I have spent hours floating through aisles of poster boards looking for one that will change my life (or research).

  1. You have less than one minute to capture your reader’s attention. Whose attention are you trying to capture – who is your audience? Make sure that the poster is inviting and the lettering is big enough. An abstract of 200 words is a useful test to make you focus the key findings of your work. Make sure that this abstract is easy to find. If you want the reader to take away key messages, draw the eye to them with bold. At least one good figure that tells your story will be appreciated.
  2. Less is more. Don’t make the poster too busy, it will take too much time to read and make the reader work too hard for the prize.
  3. Enjoy the process. You will learn a lot and if you love your research, let this joy flood out onto the page with some creative flair!
  4. Ask for advice from your co-authors. They also know your research and will probably have presented many posters in their time. The final decisions are yours, but if co-authors are willing to give advice you may learn something.

The University of Exeter Postgraduate Showcase is a valuable opportunity to trial your skills in presenting your research to a cross-disciplinary audience. You don’t have to win a prize to learn something and if you enter every year throughout your degree you will certainly hone your skills. It also gives you an opportunity to talk to people who know nothing about your work. Acquiring this skill will be critical as you present to much larger audiences and develop your career, whether in academia or not.

Written by: Kirsten Thompson- College of Life Environmental Sciences

This year’s showcase will take place all day 15th-17th May in the Forum Street, with prize ceremony on Wednesday 17th May starting at 14:00. For further information about the Postgraduate Research Showcase and to view previous winning posters visit the website here.

Great Ideas Start With Discussion (GISWD)

Did you know that a group exists where you can come and share ideas in a friendly environment? Do you often feel the need for a casual space to discuss your research ideas?

GISWD is run by PGR students for PGR students as a platform for friendly yet constructive exchange and communication. We were set up for PGR students to have a forum to discuss issues relevant to our PGR journeys in a broad range of disciplines, which are:

  • Detailed enough for answering specific questions;
  • Insightful based on previous experiences of PGR graduates;
  • Resourceful in signposting to most relevant parties;…

Our story so far:

The GISWD was set up in 2015 by a group of enthusiastic PhD candidates based at the University of Exeter from successful funding gained from the ESRC.

In the last 2 years the initiative has held sessions on: sharing conference experiences, research methodologies, as well as insights into publishing and featured guest speakers.


One of our landmark events was a conference based on Collaboration, which celebrated the successes of postgraduate research students from the universities of Bristol, Bath and Exeter.


The day involved engagement across a wide range of platforms which included: keynote addresses, student presentations, a poster competition and networking. A number of students won a poster prize presented by Prof. Michelle Ryan, Director of Doctoral College (University of Exeter).

Our upcoming events:

‘The Interdisciplinary PhD’

Tuesday 21st February 12:30-13:30 in XFi Seminar Room B.

We will discuss topics such as Interdisciplinary definitions, benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary research at various stages, including the Literature Review and Methodology. Questions and discussions are encouraged. Lunch is provided.

 ‘Careers inside and outside of academia’

Tuesday 21st of March 12:30-13:30 at Building One (Business school), Kolade Teaching Room.

We will have two guest speakers from the Research development office who will give a short talk. The session will be informal with students having the opportunity to share experiences, pose questions and reflect on their future plans after the PhD.

Other exciting events planned too please watch this space.

This year we have a fantastic line-up of sessions for you guys with free lunch included. We hope to see you in anyone of them!

Be there or be square (literally staring at the computer for too long will make your eyes square :-))!

The GISWD Committee

For any enquiries, please drop us an email:


The GISWD is recruiting!

Are you looking to engage with fellow students during your PGR journey? The GISWD committee are looking for new members, if you would like to join please send your expressions of interest to the email address below.

For any enquiries, please drop us an email:


Come and join us in a relaxed environment where you can openly discuss your PGR journey and get well informed of and prepared for the challenges that might come with it!

Who says PGR is a lonely journey? Let’s make it together!

Scientist on Tour

Blog Post by Jodi Walsh, Yr 3 PhD Student, Renewable Energy (CEMPS) Cornwall

Last year, I was asked by the South West Institute of Physics (IOP) to go on tour with my Research. Yes, on tour, like a rock band, only less drugs and rock and roll, more dodgy cafeteria food and school children. The idea was to spend 13 days in total over 3 trips travelling the South West of the UK (including the Channel Islands!) giving a 1 hour lecture about my research and being a scientist. The opportunity arose because I had given a public lecture previously for the IOP and apparently someone liked it!

The aim of the tour was to reach as many school children (aged 12 – 18+) as possible, highlighting the exciting research I am doing, while showing girls that they can be scientists just like the boys, and encouraging everyone to consider a future as a scientist. In my talk I highlighted that I am a ‘normal’ human being with various interests, I got them to complete a small demonstration, and I spoke about the travel I have been able to do for the sake of Science.

Over the 13 days I estimate that I travelled to 20 different locations, giving 30+ school talks with class sizes between 12 and 300 at a time. It was exhausting, exciting, fascinating and eye opening all at the same time. [Side note: There is such a huge difference between the quality of science education across the South West and it doesn’t come down to whether it’s a public or private school. It is all about the enthusiasm of the teachers!]

I was also lucky enough to give 2 public lectures and 1 radio interview for BBC Radio Guernsey. I have never been on the radio before, and it was scary to talk about a subject I think I know little about! (Damn Imposters Syndrome). The interviewer was really nice, and let me talk about things I knew, and moved on from questions I didn’t! A fantastic experience.

I learnt a few things about myself, education and science on this tour. Firstly, it gave some awful flashbacks of Secondary School! Secondly, I was really impressed by the young people in the classes. Some of them were so engaged by the subject and really interacted with and questioned what I was talking about – the future scientists. It was really empowering to be able to share what I have learnt during my PhD with an honest audience – much nicer than a conference audience! Finally, it showed me the importance of outreach work, and how we all have a responsibility as researchers to inspire the next generation of scientists.

For those of you who are interested, the talk I gave was titled, “Listening to Machines Underwater: How Acoustics Can Help Renewable Energy”. My PhD title is “Acoustic Emission Technology for Environmental and Engineering Health Monitoring of Offshore Renewable Energy” under the supervision of Dr P R Thies and Prof L Johanning from the University of Exeter and Dr Ph Blondel from the University of Bath as part of the NERC GW4+ DTP.

Business School PGR Awards 2016

This years Business School Postgraduate Research Awards were held on June 17 2016. Awards include Postgraduate Research Champion (Student and Staff) and Best Presentation (each discipline) winners from the day included:

Postgraduate Research Champion (Student) 2016- Hugh Waters

School awards Hugh Waters imagecrop

  • Hugh Waters is a highly active and engaged PGR.
  • Hugh was successful in securing external funds to run a Great Ideas Start with Discussion initiative. This comprised forums to discuss topics across the PGR community in which speakers were invited to attend.
  • He was successful in securing additional funds to run a collaboration conference, held at the University of Exeter. PGR students across Bristol, Bath and Exeter were invited to attend the conference and present their research or a poster. Speakers were also invited to discuss the topic of collaboration.
  • Both of these have been highly successful and attended by PGRs across the university, allowing the PGR community to develop professional and friendship connections within disciplines and within and across universities.

Postgraduate Research Champion (Staff) 2016- Professor Gareth Shaw

School awards Gareth Shaw image7 (002)

  • Professor Gareth Shaw is a highly supportive supervisor.
  • He provides critical, complementary and timely feedback to work submitted without fail.
  • He is adaptive to the needs of the student whilst being able to guide the student through their studies.
  • Gareth encourages his students to engage with the research community within and external to the university. He provides suggestions for training schools and collaboration.

Best Presentation Winners at the annual Business School Postgraduate Research Conference

Accounting– Festo Nyende Tusubira
Economics– Lorenz Harmann
Finance– Ozkan Haykir
Management Studies– Louisa Hood
Organisation Studies– Matt Gitsham

Atheer Hameed- ICSAE 2016

Atheer next to Wall of Fame

The First International Conference for Students on Applied Engineering (ICSAE 2016) was successfully held in Newcastle upon Tyne from 20 to 21 October 2016. More than 90 papers were scheduled for oral and poster presentations over the two days of the conference and will be published by IEEEXplore. University of Exeter (UK) PhD student Atheer Hameed of the Vibration Engineering Section,  did an exceptional job, not only initiating, but also  co-chairing  the conference as well.

The event hosted Professor Masayoshi Esashi (Tohoku University, Japan) and Professor Kenneth Dalgarno (Newcastle University, UK) as keynote speakers, who inspired the audience with their outstanding ideas and informative speeches

Nearly 150 participants on each of the two days of the conference, who included authors, non-authors, exhibitors, sponsors and invited guests, witnessed the Opening and Closing Remarks on the 20 and 21 October. One highlight was the opening speech of Professor Phillip Wright (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering, Newcastle University, UK) who addressed the attendees with a very warm welcome message on the first day. Another highlight was the presentation of the Best Paper Awards for the best 12 papers (as scored by a panel of 30 international experts), Best Poster Awards for the best 12 posters (as scored by three experienced judges), and Women in Science Awards (for female authors).

Atheer said: “Right from the early stages of preparations this conference had attracted more than 160 researchers from 62 different institutions from 15 countries. This reflects the diversity of this conference, which we are very proud of. Each paper went through a rigorous reviewing process, which was made possible by the help of more than 30 esteemed reviewers, which we really appreciate.. We worked tirelessly as a diverse team, for more than 10 months, to bring this event to life. The team comprises 21 postgraduate students from eight different universities. Here, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who participated in the success of this event”.

Atheer added: “The impact of this event is evident from the successful collaboration between related institutions and academia, improving postgraduate researchers’ abilities by putting them in contact with like-minded peers, and ultimately a contribution to the field of engineering by means of published conference proceedings.”

Atheer concluded: “Since the conference was very successful, we are considering making it an annual event – especially as there are few bodies who are interested in sponsoring it.”

For more information, please visit

ICSAE Team with one of the sponsorsICSAE Team

Early Career Researcher Network CEMPS

2016 has been a busy year for the Early Career Researcher Network (ECRN) in CEMPS, we have run a number of events with the aim of building a supportive community for early career researchers across the college, helping researchers to get to know other researchers outside their research group.

In June the ECRN had a “relaunch” event where we highlighted what the aims of the ECRN were and what support was available. This included a lunch, talks from the heads of discipline, a poster session and the opportunity for people to give a 60s elevator pitch on their research. Prizes were awarded for the best elevator pitch and posters, and we encouraged everyone to think about what makes a great poster by introducing a peer marking scheme for the posters.

“ECRs networking during the poster session at the relaunch event”

“ECRs networking during the poster session at the relaunch event”

We have also run specific workshops for early career researchers. In April we ran a promotions workshop for postdoctoral researchers with advice from both HR and academics on what the promotions process involves and what you can do to maximise your chances of success. On the 25th October we ran a finding funding workshop with advice from Dr Debbie Marsden on the college support available for grant applications and an opportunity to build a data base of suitable opportunities for early career researchers.

Finally, on the 8th of December the ECRN held a Christmas social with festive food and activities. One of the activities was for people to write an abstract describing their research using only the 1000 most common words in the English language, prizes were awarded for the best abstracts and everyone had the challenge of matching them to their scientific titles.

“Crackers, hats and science fun at the Christmas social”

“Crackers, hats and science fun at the Christmas social”

“Well done to all the winners of the ECRN competitions this year.”

“Well done to all the winners of the ECRN competitions this year.”

We would like to say thank-you to the research led initiative (RLI) award and funding from the college for making these events possible and we are looking forward to running many more events in 2017.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!