Your PhD in 2 minutes!

From the makers of PhD Comics….

This is essentially a competition to communicate your research in an accessible way. It’s part of my life to encourgae researchers to do this, I’ve written about communication here and here. That’s why I’m glad that Jorge Cham is raising the bar and injecting a bit of fun into the process.

Focussing on why and taking the time to be creative without dumbing down are two key ingredients for engagement about the research we do.

The 2 minute thesis competition is now over and the winners and entries can all be found here:

UWE Postgraduate Research Summer Connections

Connections is the theme for the UWE summer conference for postgraduate research students on Friday 1st July.



This event has been in the making for a little while now, most of the faculties and/or departments at UWE have recognised and provide the opportunity for their research students to present aspects of their research at internal symposia or conferences. It allows researchers to practice communicating their research to their close peers in a friendly, supportive environment. Last year I worked closely with the (then) Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities to put on an event that would be useful & interesting to all research students in that Faculty regardless of their discipline areas. So we brought in an experienced facilitator, Malcolm Love, to talk to the research students about communicating their research to a wider audience. This was followed by an inspirational talk by Professor Len Barton on the topic of getting your research published, he shared many tips for early career researchers.

Fast forward a year and we are trying to make this an event for research students from across the whole of UWE, an event that would be useful or interesting regardless of ones subject area, something that I hope will become a regular fixture in the skills development calendar.

Postgraduate Research Student Summer Connections Programme

So what’s lined up?

1) Janet Wilkinson from Three Times Three will be opening the day with a session on how to ‘make connections with purpose’. She has a really intuitive take on how to get the best out of situations where engaging and ‘networking’ (some people find this term a bit…corporate?) with people is required. Inspirational facilitator she definitely is & I have worked with her for nearly ten years now.

2) The Poster Session. We’ve invited all research students to submit a poster for this event, it will hopefully showcase the diversity of the research that goes on across the university. All the posters will be entered into a competition to win the prizes we have up for grabs!

3) A key note address from Professor Paul Gough, the deputy Vice Chancellor of UWE and the most senior bod who oversees research activity. He came to the South West Universities GRAD School at Buckland Hall last year and gave a fascinating insight into how he used his networks to advance in his career. 

4) The Judges! I’ve called in a few favours to gather a select panel of learned folks to decide who will get the prize. We have Paul Gough to chair, Janet WilkinsonKaren Bultitude from the Science Communication Unit, Dee Smart who oversees community & public engagement at UWE and Neil Willey who is a reader in environmental plant physiology. And the prizes? 1) An Amazon Kindle, 2) £75 of Amazon Vouchers, 3) £25 iTunes voucher

5) The free food & drink! Key to any good research student gathering is the unwritten rule that the catering needs to fulfil the needs of your most impoverished of researchers so we have put on a free buffet lunch and the event will close with a drinks reception + canapes (we are talking UWE wine though which is high in alcohol, high in tannin, low in palatability…)

And that’s not all folks…. Some of the postgraduate research student representatives are organising an informal trip to the Canteen at Co Exist in Stokes Croft after the drink reception, surely a good way to start ones weekend.

How do you get in on the act? You can find out more here (and register if you are a UWE research student) at the Research Student Summer Connections Page 


I’ll look forward to seeing you there and I’ll post up highlights and pictures in due course.