Doctoral Research Conference 2021
Due to restrictions, this year’s Doctoral Research Conference (DRC) was delivered as a pre-recorded film which was released on 16 June. This virtual event was open to all doctoral researchers and staff from across the University and showcased the diversity of doctoral research undertaken at Reading.
The DRC film included presentations from the four PhD Researcher of the Year finalists, the ever-popular Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT©) and an online gallery of Research Life and Image entries.
Current doctoral students and staff can request the film link by contacting the Graduate School.
MEET THE FOUR PHD RESEARCHER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
SIMON LEE - WINNER
Environment Research Theme Winner
School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences
Title of PhD: Stratosphere-troposphere coupling on sub-seasonal timescales
"During winter, 10-50 kilometres above the Arctic in the stratosphere, there is a vortex of westerly winds called the 'polar vortex'. This vortex varies in strength during each winter and sometimes breaks down entirely in a 'sudden stratospheric warming' event. Changes in the strength of the vortex can persist for weeks-to-months and influence the weather patterns we experience at the surface. My research investigates how we can better understand and predict changes in the strength of the polar vortex and diagnose when and how it affects the surface weather patterns several weeks ahead."
Simon's advice to fellow researchers: "Read as much as you can early on (as you will get much busier later), and don't worry about what goes over your head as it will all start to make more sense with time. Be ambitious; set yourself big goals and don't be afraid to take charge of your research."
MAIS IFLAIFEL – FINALIST
Agriculture, Food & Health Research Theme Winner
School of Pharmacy
Title of PhD: Understanding safety differently: developing a model of intravenous insulin infusion use in hospital inpatients
“Intravenous insulin infusions are very effective in treating elevated blood sugar in hospitalised patients. However, insulin can cause severe harm if used incorrectly. Unlike traditional safety approaches which focus on learning from errors to prevent their recurrence, a new way of thinking about safety, Resilient Health Care, shifts the focus to understanding successes as well as failures in everyday work. My research aims to develop a model of intravenous insulin infusion use in hospitals.”
Mais’s advice to fellow researchers: "Experience has taught me the value of formulating a clear set of objectives to be achieved over my doctorate and checking these off periodically to promote pride in progress achieved. I would also encourage doctoral researchers to consider feedback from supervisors as a springboard to learning and to improving academic and research skills rather than criticism.”
CHRISTOPHER EVANS - FINALIST
Prosperity & Resilience Research Theme Winner
School of Law
Title of PhD: Assessing the theoretical and practical impact of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in revitalising nuclear disarmament efforts
"My research examines the recent Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which entered into force in January 2021. My thesis undertakes a rigorous analysis of how the TPNW addresses various loopholes within the existing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament international legal framework and discusses whether the TPNW offers a useful framework to advance nuclear disarmament. I also aim to explore the current impact of the TPNW within international nuclear disarmament discourse to assess the influence of the treaty in practice so far. My project aims to show that the TPNW is, in theory, a potentially useful framework for pursuing nuclear disarmament. I also seek to raise awareness of this historic achievement."
Chris's advice to fellow researchers: "First, believe in yourself, your research, and your capabilities! Second, start writing early in your studies. While reading widely is certainly important for any new researcher, I found writing my thoughts, ideas and plans to be incredibly useful early on - both for developing my primary PhD thesis, and constructing other research ideas."
EMILY PEIRSON-WEBBER - FINALIST
Heritage & Creativity Research Theme Winner
School of Humanities
Title of PhD: Masculinity and the British mining industry from nationalization through to pit closures
"My research explores the experiences and representations of men employed in the British mining industry through a methodology combining oral history testimony and the rich material culture of mining communities. Considering the mining industry since nationalization in 1947, my thesis examines the intergenerational transmission of masculine identities; embodied and performative masculinities in the workplace, and the camaraderie between men and how this was manifested."
Emily's advice to fellow researchers: "Make new connections and engage with research beyond your immediate field, as there are huge benefits in interdisciplinarity. Take up any opportunities that are offered, whether that be training, attending a conference, or presenting a paper: develop your skills and create personal and professional resilience."
Tunde geher-herczegh - Three minute thesis winner
School of Biological Sciences
Abi Gazzard - Research Life and Image Competition Winner
School of Biological Sciences
A spike in numbers
"Between 2016-2019, local hedgehogs were marked with tiny numbered tubes so that I could identify them if they were re-encountered during capture-mark-recapture surveys. Such surveys have enabled me to build a dataset of population variables for this declining species."