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Doctoral Research Conference 2018 – University of Reading

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Doctoral Research Conference 2018

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The Graduate School's annual Doctoral Research Conference, which is for both doctoral researchers and their supervisors, is to showcase and celebrate excellence in doctoral research from across the University. Along with a chance to hear about the doctoral research highlights from the last year, the conference includes presentations from the PhD Researcher of the Year finalists, the ever-popular Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MTĀ©) and an exhibition of entries to the Research Poster Competition, Research Image Competition and the Research Life in Pictures Competition. It will also be a chance to network with colleagues from across the University.

As the conference is a professional development opportunity, this conference can be considered an RRDP course and therefore can count towards a doctoral researchers required number of sessions for the academic year.

The Conference took place on Wednesday 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 Christoph Kent (Meteorology)
Three Minute Thesis Willemijn Doedens (Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences
Three Minute Thesis - People's Choice Willemijn Doedens (Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences
Research Poster Jordan Bilsborrow (Biological Sciences)
Research Poster - People's Choice Salem Al-Aidy (Biological Sciences)
Research Image Innes Serra (Chemistry, Food & Pharmacy and Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences)
Research Image - People's Choice Rashed Alzahrani (Biological Sciences)
Research Life in Pictures Shweta Band (Law)
Research Life in Pictures - People's Choice Kate Massey-Chase (Film, Theatre & Television)
Poetry, Rhyme and Rap Ruth Barnes (Food & Nutritional Sciences)
Poetry, Rhyme and Rap - People's Choice Shweta Band (Law)

Three Minute Thesis Competition 2018

Willemijn Doedens - Winner

School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences

PhD Researcher of the Year 2018

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 2018 winner was Christoph Kent from the Department of Meteorology. You can find out more about each finalist in the short films below.

Christoph Kent - Winner


Department of Meteorology

Title of PhD: Surface roughness parameters in cities: improvements and implications for wind-speed estimation


My area of research is urban meteoroloChristoph Kentgy - the study of the physical, chemical and biological interaction between the atmosphere and the built environment. My PhD aims to improve the understanding of the aerodynamic properties (or roughness) of urban surfaces, for the purpose of wind-speed estimation. Accurate estimations of wind speed are of interest to meteorologists and engineers for applications ranging from dispersal of pollutants to wind loading on buildings. The organisation of work and time from the outset is very beneficial. A three-year timeframe may be daunting so set obtainable goals within smaller timeframes.


Phatcharasiri (Angie) Ratcharak

Prosperity and Resilience Theme

Henley Business School

Title of PhD: Emotional labour in leadership identity construction among healthcare professional managers


It is widely recognised that managers are often expected to express certaPhatcharasiri (Angie) Ratcharakin emotions to influence employees' attitudes and behaviours in relation to wider organisational goals. My research builds on organisational behaviour and psychology lenses to consider emotional labour processes in which managers work on leader identity to gain mutually accepted leader-follower relationships whilst maintaining their own well-being. I have learnt how to manage my time effectively - allocating time to other interests. With this, I found that some great research ideas often come into my mind when I am spending time outside my study. I do believe that having a happy life is a first step for someone to become an excellent researcher.


Nikolaos Koukiasas

Food Research Theme

School of Agriculture, Policy and Development

Title of PhD: Leaf specific weed control in vegetable crops


Weed control in field vegetaNikolaos Koukiasasbles in the UK is increasingly challenging due to the loss of herbicides and pressures from policy makers and consumers to lower pesticide inputs. My research in collaboration with Concurrent Solutions llc. (USA) is to develop a robotic weeder - a novel droplet applicator applies herbicide droplets to individual weed leaves which avoids all direct applications of herbicide to the crop and soil. This engineering solution achieves a paradigm shift from spraying whole fields and relying on selective herbicides. Doing a doctorate can be a lonely journey. It is important you have a network of people, from within your research field and from other disciplines, that you can socialise with and who will support you throughout your PhD journey.


Mark Player

Heritage and Creativity

Department of Film, Theatre and Television

Title of PhD: Punktopia: intermedial aesthetics and heterotopic spaces in Japanese punk film productions

Mark Player RoY

My PhD focuses on a unique movement of DIY film production that came to prominence in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s, known as jishu seikaku eiga, meaning 'self made' or 'autonomous' film. My research seeks to analyse how these 'do it yourself' films interrelate with the country's punk music / culture scene and the radically changing film industry. Slowly developing confidence in your subject is a truly rewarding experience and you never know what opportunities may present themselves as you progress.



Vincent de Luca


School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences

Title of PhD: Changing our Brains and Minds: Exploring the effect of the bilingual experience on brain structure, function, and cognition


Speaking more than one language is thought to have several consequences fVincent de Lucaor both the brain and mind. My research is at a cross-section of neuroscience, linguistics, and psychology. I study the various neural and cognitive impacts of learning and using an additional language, and how these impacts are modified with changes to language experience over the course of a lifetime. Things will inevitably go wrong during the course of your research. However, all of these experiences are invaluable, if you learn from them! Problem solve when things go awry and be reflective in your mistakes and mishaps.

<Research Image Competition

The winning image '24hr Surveillance' (below) is by Ines Serra from the Schools of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy and Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences. Two different cell types are visible under a microscope within part of the brain known as the cerebellum, which helps control motor coordination and fine movement. Ines' research looked at the part Purkinje nerve cells (red) and microglia (green) play in causing autism.

Ines Serra











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