The dust has settled on the 2023 PGR and ECR Conference, Making the Invisible Visible. Thank you to all those who attended or presented on the day. The sold-out event on the 15 June, allowed us to showcase and celebrate wide-reaching research that addressed important issues and unanswered questions. We invited academics and students from every faculty, as well as non-academic staff and visitors from across the country to join us in the Austin Pearce and Lewis Carroll buildings on Stag Hill.
The day kicked off with a welcome from Dr Allan Kilner-Johnson, Interim Dean of the Doctoral College and Associate Professor in English Literature, and was followed by a keynote presentation from co-Directors of the Institute for Sustainability, Dr Tom Roberts and Professor Monique Raats.
In the first session, our stellar PGRs and ECRs presented research on subjects ranging from blood cell changes in those with chronic fatigue syndrome to water treatment and cancer diagnostics. The second session focused on motor development in Williams Syndrome, production techniques for bio-coating and sustainable business management.
Mid-afternoon presented an opportunity to split the conference into three parallel sessions. The Digital and Technological Futures session included talks on modular audio description for diverse audiences, intersatellite ranging, sleep structure regulation and a study in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mega-constellations.
The Healthy and Inclusive Futures session centred on bacteria in veterinary sinks, Vitamin B12 treatment for anaemia, coercion and control in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and climate injustice depictions in Paul Beatty’s Booker Prize-winning novel The Sellout.
The Sustainable and Resilient Futures session showcased talks on Foot and Mouth disease in Uganda, control of bacterial disease in poultry, working conditions in the digital platform economy and small-scale mining in Africa.
On the parallel sessions, one delegate commented: “I liked the organising of the afternoon talks into different streams. It allowed us to view research in a relevant field which helps with networking and idea sharing.”
The talks, throughout the day, were supported by a wide selection of poster presentations in AP1 and AP2. These gave the delegates the chance to gain concise, illustrated insights into the amazing research being conducted by our community of PGRs and ECRs.
We were fortunate to benefit from the expertise of two research skills specialists. Dr Jo Noble from Teeside University demonstrated the wide variety of data visualisation techniques open to researchers at all stages of their careers and Dr Janet Ramdeo of the University of Surrey showed how thoughtful, considered and inclusive education practices can improve the experiences and attainment of students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.
The closing keynote was by Gearóid Maguire, the Culture, Equity and Diversity and Inclusion Practice Manager at the Wellcome Trust. This keynote was followed by prize-giving hosted by Dr Allan Kilner-Johnson and the Provost and Senior Vice-President, Professor Tim Dunne, with awards presented for posters, talks and the 3-minute Thesis (3MT) competition.
Making the Invisible Visible was appreciated by delegates. One person commented: “The informal and friendly atmosphere made the conference very welcoming.”
We are conducting a short evaluation of Making the Invisible Visible, and are pleased to report that responses so far show that it has been well-received by attendees. The approval rating (scores Good, Very Good and Excellent) was 89.7% for the ‘Overall Conference Experience and Atmosphere’.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the PGRs and ECRs who made Making the Invisible Visible possible through their tireless effort and dedication across the four months that led up to the conference. These are our wonderful MIV 2023 conference committee members: Sade Adamolekun, Annette Aliu, Zhuming ‘Ming’ Bao, Hannah Case, Angshumi Dutta, Oliver ‘Ollie’ Fisher, Ashley Fraser, Iain Lee, Maureen Okibe, Vera Spangler, Bettina Chioma Teegen and Nisha Tucker. It was a pleasure to work with all of them, and we look forward to following their academic careers in the months and years to come.
Words by Dr Jay Rowe. Photographs by Grant Pritchard.