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“Our terrific research culture”

Published: 3rd February 2011

MORE than 100 postgraduate research students benefited from a day organised especially for their benefit.

PhDs, MPhils and Masters by Research students held their own conference in Manchester where many presented their first ever papers and posters.

Early-career researchers from across the University picked up important tips in what it takes to be a success from Director of Research Professor Valerie Edwards-Jones and other speakers.

Professor Edwards-Jones said: "Students had suggested the University provide an experience as close as possible to that found at an external academic conference. So we put out a call for refereed posters and presentations, supported by workshops and arranged for the proceedings to be published in an ISBN volume."

Communicating research

The plenary session was led by Joanna Verran, Professor of Microbiology, who talked about the importance of communicating complex research to not only academics but to lay audiences including the media and the public.

"There is a terrific research culture here at Manchester Metropolitan University."

She said: "It’s incredibly important that we as academics are part of the popular conversation on key issues. Part of the reason people don’t always trust scientists is that we are not particularly good at communicating what we do."

One of the more original workshops was run by Bright Club Manchester – which trains academics to communicate via the medium of comedy. Several of the University’s researchers have already completed a stand-up routine around their area of expertise!

Rebecca Wiles, who was one of 21 student presenters, said: "There is a terrific research culture here at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am beginning a PhD in Sustainable Aviation and this is a great opportunity to practise talking to an audience."

Winners

Presenters prizes went to Jason Addy (business and law), Rebecca Wiles (environment), Gabriela Echegoyen (arts and humanities), Malcolm Kinninmonth (natural sciences) and Richard McHugh (education).

The best poster was won by Angus Rosenburgh, whose research is on the restoration of autochthonous ecological systems to the Peak District.