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Students present research at 6th Annual Doctoral Research Conference

Event provides an opportunity to practice vital skills in front of colleagues

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

Graduate students from across the School of Health Sciences presented their research at the 6th Annual Doctoral Research Conference in April.

The conference was designed to provide an opportunity for MPhil and PhD students to practice the vital skills of presenting and disseminating their research work. The conference also provided a forum where the exchange of research ideas between students, staff members and external partners could take place.

Opening the conference, Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, spoke about the challenges and rewards of doctoral research. She said:

“As you are probably already well aware, doctoral research is one of the most personally challenging yet rewarding activities anyone undertakes in their academic career. There may be plenty of up and downs along the way but ultimately success will also represent a great personal achievement. Getting your PhD will not be an end in itself but will present you with lots of options and opportunities related to your career direction whether in research, teaching or clinical practice.

“This event, now in its sixth year, is our annual showcase of research currently being undertaken by our doctoral students in the School of Health Sciences. By bringing together our MPhil and PhD students from a range of disciplines and professional backgrounds it is a great opportunity to demonstrate the diversity and the quality of the work being conducted across the School.”

In addition to 12 oral presentations throughout the day, students also gave 8 poster presentations to colleagues. Topics were varied and included areas as diverse as ‘How do we see distance’ by Paul Linton to ‘Improving working memory in children with Language Difficulties’ by Emma Christopher.

Dr Ryc Aquino, a former City PhD student who is now at the University of Cambridge, also gave a keynote talk about her maternal health research, drawing on her experiences of how she got to where she is now. As part of the talk she highlighted the importance of being comfortable making mistakes and also ensuring that all students have hobbies outside of studies to provide an escape from academic work.

“Forget about linearity and perfection,” she said, while highlighting how in reality a PhD is much messier.

Dr Aquino also spoke about how health and wellbeing are vital, and the importance of having a network of people who can help reduce isolation and provide a way to help each other practically and socially.

Speaking about the event and the impact such doctoral research can have, Professor Salmon said:

“Dissemination is key to maximising research impact. It is therefore essential for all researchers to develop their skills of communicating and promoting their research - that is one of the aims of the conference today. Many of you will also take your research work to important national and international conferences in the future. I am sure many of you also intend to publish as part of the dissemination process.

“It is clear from the range and depth of work being presented here today that our doctoral students play an essential role in building and strengthening our research community within the School and University and help strengthen our links with the health professions and sector industries.”

Closing the day, President Professor Sir Paul Curran spoke about the development of research at City and also praised the translational work produced by staff and students in the School of Health Sciences. “PhDs may be taxing, but it is a wonderful time,” he said.

Read more about the oral and poster presentations

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