The Sci-Tech PGR conference is an annual conference of oral and poster presentations by postgraduate researchers (PGRs) in the Faculty of Science and Technology at BU. Each year, the conference, organised by PGR representatives from each of the departments in the Faculty, provides a platform for PGRs across the Faculty to meet and share their research with their peers in a welcoming environment. The conference also provides valuable practice for PGRs in presentation and networking skills vital to a successful career in research. This year, the SciTech PGR Conference Committee hosted the Conference virtually via Zoom on Friday 9 October 2020 which saw fourteen PGRs from across the Faculty presenting their research in either oral presentation or digital poster format. To kick things off, Professor Tiantian Zhang, Deputy Dean of Research and Professional Practice, opened and closed the conference with an address to the participants and audience members, noting the importance of the event and praising the quality of the PGR presentations. More than 40 PGRs and Sci-Tech staff also tuned in to listen to the talks, join discussions, and support the presenting PGRs.
The conference had previously been scheduled for May 2020 but was postponed to October 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. While in previous years the conference was held in-person at BU’s Talbot Campus, this year the conference took place virtually over Zoom. While hosting a virtual conference may have felt like unchartered territory for those on the planning committee, the conference was a great success! During each of the four sessions chaired by PGR representatives, several PGRs from different Sci-Tech departments shared their screens to deliver fascinating presentations about their research.
Mixing different presentations from different departments in each session encouraged PGRs to tune in to a variety of research talks. During the course of the conference, four PGRs from the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, three PGRs from the Department of Computing and Informatics, two from the Department of Psychology, and one each from the Design and Engineering, Creative Technology, and Archaeology and Anthropology Departments gave overviews of their research during presentations. Additionally, two PGRs from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology provided digital posters to be viewed by conference participants, which can also be viewed here. At the end of each session, time was devoted to allow the audience to pose questions to the speakers. The presenting PGRs ranged from Master’s students through to first, second, and third year PhD students, allowing an array of research progress to be put on display. The talks ranged from, but were not restricted to, microplastics in fish, mangrove conservation strategies in Kenya, the mechanisms of fake news, ancient ports of trade, threat detection in computer vision, and malicious automotive devices. It was a good day for Sci-Tech PGR research at Bournemouth University!
Although 2020 has been a bit of a crazy year, it is so impressive that the PGR community in the Faculty of Science and Technology have been able to band together to support each other and to continue developing their research. This conference could not have happened without the support of faculty and staff in the Sci-Tech Faculty, and particularly the Research Administrators Naomi, Emily, and Karen. A huge thank-you for all the support! And of course, thank you to the staff and students who made up the audience. And we’d be remiss to not thank the conference presenters for their fabulous contributions!
Here’s to another exciting year of PGR research!
The 2020 Sci-Tech PGR Conference committee