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Doctoral Research Conference 2017 – University of Reading

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Doctoral Research Conference 2017


Three minute thesis competition

Phd Researcher of the year

Winner: Max Brookman-Byrne

Rebecca Emerton

Anna Thompson

Saleh Omairi

Will Davies


The 2017 Doctoral Research Conference took place on Tuesday 20 June. Below are the winners of the associated competitions. The People's Choice awards were voted for by conference delegates on the day of the conference.

Competition winners
PhD Researcher of the Year Max Brookman-Byrne (Law)
Three Minute Thesis

Oliver Wilson (Environmental Science)

Three Minute Thesis - People's Choice Louise Arnal (Environmental Science)
Research Poster Katy Whitaker (Archaeology)
Research Poster - People's Choice Nick Hollely (Built Environment)
Research Image Orla Fannon (Biological Sciences)
Research Image - People's Choice Orla Fannon (Biological Sciences)
Research Life in Pictures James Lloyd (Classics)
Research Life in Pictures - People's Choice Shamsa Mas'oud Nasser Al Sheibani (Economics)

Three Minute Thesis competition

You can watch Oliver Wilson's winning Three Minute Thesis talk below. Oliver went on to reach the semi-finals of the national Three Minute Thesis competition organised by Vitae.

PhD Researcher of the Year - Max Brookman-Byrne

The conference's most prestigious competition is the PhD Researcher of the Year award. There are five award finalists and each finalist gave a presentation on their doctoral research and their time at Reading at the conference. The 2017 winner was Max Brookman-Byrne from the School of Law. You can find out more about each finalist in the short films below.


Max Brookman-Byrne
Prosperity and Resilience Research Theme
School of Law

Title of PhD: The international law implications of the use of armed drones

My research considers the vague and problematic interaction between the use of armed drones by states and international law. I am assessing the overall lawfulness of the use of these weapons systems, as well as looking at how their use may be altering parts of international law, as these issues have big implications for the way states interact with each other. I am particularly concerned with highlighting how international law has been used to promulgate an approach to the use of armed drones that serves to undermine the protections enjoyed by individuals across the globe.


PhD Researcher of the Year Award - finalists

Rebecca Emerton

Environment Research Theme
School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science

Title of PhD: Implications of climate variability for global scale flood forecasting and predictability

Floods are the most frequent of natural disasters, affecting more than 90 million people worldwide every year, and the anticipation and forecasting of floods is crucial for flood preparedness. Flood forecasting systems producing forecasts for the entire globe are now becoming operational, and my research aims to find ways to improve these global scale flood forecasts in order to provide earlier warnings of upcoming flood events. One aspect of my PhD explores the use of large scale atmospheric features, such as El Nino, to provide early indicators of flood events across the globe, months to seasons ahead.


Anna Thomson

Food Research Theme
School of Agriculture, Policy and Developmentanna-thomson-grad

Title of PhD: Improving the efficiency of forage legume utilisation in the UK dairy industry

I have studied methods of feeding dairy cattle in the UK, with the aim of improving the sustainability of farming systems by replacing grass with specific legumes (clover or lucerne) in the diet. Growing ryegrass requires a high input of nitrogen fertilizer, which has a large carbon footprint and is expensive, whereas legumes are able to fix their own nitrogen from the atmosphere and also enhance local biodiversity. However, farmers often experience difficulty growing and feeding legumes efficiently, and therefore the aim of my PhD project was to generate knowledge on how to incorporate legumes successfully into their systems.


Saleh Omairi

Health Research Theme
School of Biological Sciences

Title of PhD: Blood supply is the key determinant to endurance exercise and muscle regenerationsaleh-omairi-grad

Two ideas have been central to our understanding concerning the structure and regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle. Firstly, that the size of muscle fibres that support long term exercise could not grow above a certain limit which was set by the diffusion capacity of oxygen. Secondly, that the key determinant in promoting effective muscle regeneration was stem cell number.My research has overturned both these concepts. My work shows that it is possible to generate large muscle fibres that are able to generate a large amount of force whilst enduring longer periods of exercise. My work also demonstrated effective muscle regeneration in the face of a massive reduction in stem cell number.


Will Davies

Heritage and Creativity Research Theme
School of Literature and Languagewill-davies-grad

Title of PhD: Samuel Beckett and the Second World War

My PhD thesis uses archival, historical and theoretical approaches to reassess Samuel Beckett's writing in the context of the Second World War. In bringing these approaches together, this project offers new ways of understanding the role of Beckett's experience of the Second World War within his writing whilst also working to recover the 'moment' of Beckett's wartime and postwar work. In doing so,the thesis engages more broadly with the still under examined question of Beckett's relationship to, and use of, history.





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