Thriving Together as PGRs


An interactive conference for postgraduate research students looking to develop their network and succeed in research. Taking place on City Campus on Thursday 6 June 2024 and open to PGRs across all Research Institutes. Please book your place via MS Forms.

09:30am-10:45amWelcome, Keynote Speaker and Networking

Katrin Stefansdottir is a senior lecturer in Events Management at the Sheffield Business School who graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a PhD in 2020. The focus of her doctoral studies was on the individual attendee’s conference journey, developing an understanding of the impacts it creates over a lifetime of multiple conference attendances. Following her graduation, she has continued to research within the niche area of business events, with particular interest on conferences and their contribution towards career development opportunities and new learning. In addition to teaching future events managers about best practices when designing and delivering impactful events, she applies her research findings to her own professional development. She also enjoys supporting others with their professional development by regularly delivering workshops for doctoral students about the importance for academics to attend conferences and the impact the attendance can have on their research and career progression.

In this keynote she will talk about her PhD journey and introduce the highlights from her research on how to make the most of your day at the conference.
10:45am-11:30amThree Minute Thesis Competition Final

Amy Grace, Social and Economic Research Institute
Locked in: An exploration of high consumption in the UK

Brighton Karimakwenda, Health Research Institute
Exploring the development of research culture within the Operating Department Practice profession

Charlotte Nutting, Health Research Institute
Optimising Radiotherapy experiences when people have an Intellectual Disability and Cancer

Chinenye Okonkwo, Industry and Innovation Research Institute
Unravelling Parkinson’s disease: The amyloid connection

Emma Sadler, Social and Economic Research Institute
Paradigms, Policy and Practice: Experiences of Neurodiversity in Education

See our Meet the Finalists page for more information.
11:30am-11:45amComfort Break/Refreshments
Please bring a reusable cup with you.
11:45am-13:15pmPanel Discussion

Highlighting the theme of this year’s PGR event, we will be delving into crucial topics to support PGRs such as the international PhD journey, milestone attainment, identity vs productivity and managing the unexpected with our panellists:

Ebru Calin – An ESRC-funded doctoral researcher at the University of Liverpool, studying how religious professionals experience multi-layered negotiations concerning their work and families located within multiple relations of power structured by gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class and notions of belonging. She has a TEDx talk - Too Brown, Queer & Muslim? Or not White, Muslim or Queer enough, featured on Liverpool origin stories and co-host of a North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP) funded diversity and Inclusion podcast series titled “Bending Boundaries” which focuses on challenging notions of the stereotypical student by representing and celebrating more diverse voices.

Adenike Abidoye is a finance professional with 24 years of corporate work experience, mostly in the Oil & Gas sector. Her range of expertise includes controllership, compliance, and internal audits, reporting and operations management. She holds a master's degree in forensic accounting from Sheffield Hallam University, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, and an Associate member of the Institute of Certified Management Accountant of Australia and New Zealand.

Adenike is currently a Lecturer and a doctoral researcher at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Her research interests are Forensic Accounting, audit failures and financial statement fraud, compliance and internal auditing. She is very passionate about mentoring, both at a professional and personal level, and a firm believer in succession building. Adenike serves as a mentor for Black heritage students on the Sheffield Hallam University ASPIRE program.

Adaku Thelma Olatise – A foreign-trained medical doctor & a public health physician with over 15 years of experience with a focus on mental well-being, preventive & management measures of infectious diseases and long-term conditions. Currently, a post-graduate researcher in counselling psychology and a trainee counsellor and psychotherapist.

Alan Donnelly – is a Lecturer in Research, Evaluation and Student Engagement at Sheffield Hallam University. His role includes externally funded research within higher education, and institutional research and evaluation focused on improving student experiences and outcomes. Alan also works with staff across the university to develop their evaluation skills and knowledge.


1. Opening Remarks and Introduction (11: 45 AM - 12:00 PM)

· Welcome/Icebreaker

· Introduction to the panel discussion

2. Moderator-led Discussion (12:00 PM – 1:00 PM)

· The moderator will facilitate an interactive discussion among the panellists, exploring common themes, challenges, and opportunities arising from their research endeavours.

· Audience participation will be encouraged, with attendees invited to pose questions and contribute to the dialogue.

3. Q&A Session (1:00 PM – 1:10 PM)

· Open-floor Q&A session, allowing attendees to engage directly with the panellists.

4. Closing Remarks (1:10 PM - 1:15 PM)

· Recap of key insights and takeaways from the panel discussion.

· Expressing gratitude to the panellists, moderator, and attendees for their participation and contribution.

· Feedback
14:00pm-15:00pmSocial Activities

Board Games
There will be the opportunity to chat and meet other PGRs/staff who support PGRs and play board games.

Session Facilitator: Dr Elizabeth Scanlon (RIDA)

Introduction to Watercolours
A beginners introduction to watercolours with Professional Fine Artist Norman Anderson. At well as painting Norman volunteers his time in the chaplaincy team and will lead a calming and peaceful session with watercolours.

Session Facilitator: Norman Anderson
15:00pm-15:45pmSheffield Institute of Policy Studies Poster Competition

1. Danielle Kilgour: University Student’s Pornography Use and the Implications for Sexual Violence: A Social Constructionist Perspective

There are growing concerns raised about the levels of sexual violence perpetration and victimisation among university students, and the prevalence of young people turning to pornography as a source of sex education. As a result, the following study aims to discover whether pornography consumption is associated with sexual violence perpetration and victimisation among university students. This mixed methods study applies a social constructionist perspective to expand current theoretical debates. Quantitative data is collected through an online survey and qualitative data from semi-structured interviews from a sample of university students aged 18 to 20. The use of statistical analysis enables the ability to identify correlations between variables within the quantitative data set. Additionally, the use of thematic analysis to analyse the qualitative data from the interviews uncovers key themes around student’s sex education at school, understanding and perceptions of sexual violence and their understanding of and confidence in reporting sexual violence. The potential significance of this study includes the ability to inform policy development and improve support for victims and perpetrators of sexual violence. Furthermore, it enhances the present understanding of the effects of pornography and enables higher education universities to improve their sexual violence prevention and support procedures and services.

2. Brighton Karimakwenda: Exploring the development of research culture within the Operating Department Practice profession

Research in healthcare contributes to the evidence base that is essential in supporting decision-making. Engaging Allied Health Professions (AHPs), a substantial workforce group in the national health service, in research has got the potential to significantly impact patient care and organisational efficiency positively. The Allied Health Professions Research and Innovation Strategy for England (2022) was established to encourage AHPs research engagement by mapping research pathways, promoting equal access to research infrastructure and embedding research culture in practitioners’ identity. Findings from a scoping review assessing research capacity building in AHPs in the United Kingdom highlighted the minimal inclusion of Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) in research capacity and culture (RCC) studies. Moreover, these studies lacked perspectives from key stakeholders and practice managers, crucial for informing research strategy implementation in practice. In response, a descriptive qualitative study was designed to explore RCC in ODPs by obtaining key stakeholders and practice managers insights for this workforce group. This presentation provides insights of the preliminary data analysis from interviews conducted with the key stakeholders. The findings from this study will be used to develop a guidance and recommendations document to enhance ODPs research engagement in practice. Wider AHP adoption of the outline recommendations is anticipated.

3. Emma Jayne Sadler: Paradigms, Policy and Practice: Experiences of Neurodiversity in School

Up to 1 in 7 people are thought to be neurodivergent (that is, having a cognitive difference which impacts how they think and experience the world). I have spent the past 12 years of my teaching career, working with neurodivergent school pupils and I am acutely aware that they are not understood well enough. They are under constant pressure to fit in and the support or intervention that is put in place to help them fit in often simply excludes them further. This has consequences for their educational experience as well as impacting wellbeing. My research uses ethnography to explore this topic. I have immersed myself in my school community in order to examine and understand the daily lives of pupils and staff, uncovering how neurodivergent experiences are shaped by the paradigms, policies and practices present in the school. While I have identified ways in which pupils are excluded and experience additional burdens, I have also seen the ways in which they are embraced such that they thrive and feel valued, included and able to be themselves.

4. Sue Davison: Identifying barriers and facilitators to physical activity in people at risk or with Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a prevalent condition, affecting 33% of UK adults aged over 50. People with MetS have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity (PA) is a first line treatment to manage or reverse MetS yet it is underused (Myers et al, 2019). This project aims to identify the determinants of PA adherence in people with or at risk of MetS using exploratory sequential mixed methods. The results will serve to identify those behaviour change techniques (BCTs) most likely to support PA adherence and select appropriate intervention components to improve adherence. Using the COM-B model (Michie et al, 2011), Theoretical Domains Framework (Atkins et al, 2017) BCTs and the Behaviour Change Wheel (Michie et al, 2014) provides a structured and theoretically coherent approach to the complex behaviour of PA adherence. Project findings could inform the development of interventions in healthcare and community settings, which could support people with MetS to become more physically active and so prevent or delay the development of chronic disease.

5. Stephanie Beecroft A qualitative exploration of local authority approaches to address obesity in the North East and Yorkshire region

Obesity is a complex adiposity-based chronic disease which can have a multitude of negative influences on an individual’s health. There are various approaches to address obesity commissioned by local authorities. The aim of this project is to explore approaches to tackling obesity in Yorkshire. This qualitative research project will use a realist informed methodology comprising of four studies. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with obesity leads of local authorities in Yorkshire. The findings from these interviews will guide further in-depth service mapping (study one). A realist review will identify key concepts and find evidence of recommended approaches (study two). A select number of areas (n=4-6) will then be further investigated with in-depth case study methods (study three). Findings will be synthesised to build a rich comprehension of the context in which approaches to tackle obesity are developed and how they operate. A consensus workshop will then ensure shared learning between local authorities (study four) to develop recommendations for key stakeholders implementing obesity strategies.

6. Charlotte Nutting Cancer experiences of people with Intellectual Disabilities and the people who support them

Whilst people who have an Intellectual Disability are living longer, they are more likely to die from an avoidable medical cause of death (University of Bristol, 2021). The incidence of cancer amongst this group is increasing and barriers to screening (Chan et al., 2022), advanced stage diagnoses (Heslop et al., 2022), and fewer invasive treatments (Boonman et al., 2022) are evident. People from this community are often excluded from conversations about their cancer care, treatment, and support (Flynn et al., 2016; Abdulla & Spassiani, 2021) and a range of factors can prevent inclusion. A Scoping Review titled ‘Living with and beyond cancer: the experience of patients with an Intellectual Disability’ highlighted an evidence gap about the Radiotherapy experiences of people from this community, and the perceptions of stakeholders who support them. Given this evidence gap, an approved qualitative study is exploring Radiotherapy decision-making, treatment, and post-treatment support that involves people who have an Intellectual Disability and cancer, from the perspective and experiences of multiple stakeholder groups in England and Australia. Study findings will inform the development of a framework to optimise the Radiotherapy pathway for and with people who have an Intellectual Disability and cancer.

Session Organiser: Zoe Rodgers (SERI)
15:45pm-16:00pmComfort Break/Refreshments
Please bring a reusable cup with you.
16:00pm-16:45pmHow to Say No Professionally

"How to Say No Professionally" is a session with the aim to provide essential skills and strategies to navigate challenging requests and maintain professional relationships. In the dynamic and often demanding academic environment, Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) will be presented with opportunities for development and encounter requests for their time, resources, and expertise which can very easily become overwhelming. We hope to provide you with nice tools to decline requests tactfully, yet assertively, preserving your productivity and focus but without closing the door on future opportunities.

By the end of this session, PGRs will have a comprehensive toolkit to navigate professional interactions with grace and confidence, ultimately improving your overall experience and productivity. "How to Say No Professionally" empowers PGRs to strike a balance between their research goals and their personal well-being, fostering a healthier and more productive PGR community.

Session Facilitator: Dr Márjory Da Costa Abreu
16:45pm-17:00pmPrizes and Closing