June 14, 2012, by Tara de Cozar

Exploding brain syndrome – PG Research Showcase

Have just got back to my desk after visiting the excellent 2012 Postgraduate Research Showcase in the Engineering and Science Learning Centre on University Park. I have a slight throbbing in the temples to be honest. There were so many interesting projects on show, and so many enthusiastic people to talk to, that I could really do with a bit of a lie down in a dark room… I’ve settled for a cup of tea though.

The event is put on annually by the Graduate School and features research by PhD researchers across all disciplines. That’s part of the problem – you spend ten minutes talking to one person about their research into amoebas which cause fatal brain infections, before going on to have a discussion with someone else about why we find it more difficult to get our heads around poetry than prose. It’s a stretch mentally to keep track of the switch between disciplines. But then, that’s what I also enjoyed most about the event. The fact that you can get a real sense of all the amazing stuff that’s going on across the institution. What you get out of the Postgraduate Research Showcase is worth the headache, basically.

So, what did I find out? Well, that children can help their mothers escape domestic violence; that the way you shop can ‘green’ the planet; that an insider’s perspective on care homes is unique in research; how the world’s most effective malaria drug can be improved; whether loud music actually does damage your hearing; and whether maths can help change vets’ perception of disease in cattle. And apologies if ‘ve garbled anyone’s research intentions there, but I will be reporting back on all these research projects and and more.

And it wasn’t just me, a non-academic with an interest in research in general, that got a lot out of the event. The researchers themselves were making the most of the opportunity to meet their counterparts in different fields, making new contacts and discussing methodology. So it went beyond communicating ideas to a broader audience – there was also a value in networking too.

I know I sound like some sort of research showcase evangelist, but it really was very good.

There were 49 posters in the showcase. I chatted to quite a few of their authors, but didn’t get round them all. But I’ll be keeping in touch with the Graduate School (who can support the career’s of ALL research staff at the uni, not just PG researchers BTW…) to make sure that the cream of PG research gets reported through this blog and beyond.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the keynote speech by guitar physicist Dr Mark Lewney (“a cross between Einstein and Jimi Hendrix, according to CBBC…). Or for the prize giving for best poster and press release. I’ll do a separate post on the winners when I get the info from the Grad School.


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