June 1, 2015, by Michael Jennings
Don’t miss Research Showcase 2015
Kamaljit Moirangthem is a second year Bioenergy PhD researcher working with Professor Greg Tucker, Professor Ian King and Dr Julie King at our Sutton Bonington Campus. As the first-prize winner of Research Showcase 2014, he shares his story and looks forward to this year’s event.
The Research Showcase is an annual event – like the community open day May Fest – but aimed around the innovative research happening at the University. It’s an opportunity for researchers to explain their work to the general public. Come along to talk to our postgraduate researchers about their amazing projects, learn how they apply research to solve big challenges and find out what inspired them.
It has been a year since I won the Research Showcase. My poster was titled ‘Dual Purpose Wheat – For a future that demands more food and energy!’. I explained the scientific aspects in brief, the way this can solve some of the problems we are facing, and how it fits in our day-to-day lives. My experience as an ambassador for the University helped me adapt my discussion to suit people as I have been asked on several occasions about my research. Speaking to the visitors gave me an understanding of various aspects I would need to consider if I am to implement my research, and I even made some new contacts.
Gordon Barksby, a resident of Nottingham who was a visitor at the event gave me an opportunity to visit a wheat farm in Leicestershire that belonged to his friend John Stanley. I learned about the setup of wheat cultivation in UK, the farming practices, and the fate of straw after harvest. This was very useful to me as my work involves using straw to make biofuels. Understanding John’s views as a farmer was important because farmers will be one of the groups to benefit from my research outcome. John showed me his workshop where he creates some of his farming equipment with his excellent welding skills, a common practice among farmers here. His family also gave me a farm management book which will be an important resource when I begin my thesis writing.
I also discovered that after visiting our Showcase last year, Ron Inglis from Nottingham City Museum was inspired to have a somewhat similar event to encourage local school students to take up STEM subjects. This led to the creation of ‘The Secret Science Show’ at Wollaton Hall organised by their science officer Rebecca Arnott. They invited Priya Ramakrishna, PhD researcher and fellow contestant at the Research Showcase, and myself to speak about our research and do some hands-on science activities. The students were very enthusiastic and raised many fascinating questions and ideas, some of which could even form a PhD proposal!
In science as in life, there is a certain element of serendipity. The presentation at the Research Showcase last year has led to a cascade of events that have given me confidence and presented me with many other opportunities. It is an experience that I would strongly encourage you to be a part of, and if you attend you will definitely learn something new and interesting!
Research Showcase 2015 takes place on Wednesday 17 June from 10.30am to 4.15pm in the Engineering and Science Learning Centre, University Park. All welcome. Visit the Graduate School website for more information.