Doctoral researchers were awarded funding from the Doctoral School’s Researcher Led Activities Fund to organise a poster event. Jill Dickinson and Michelle Newberry describe the successful event.

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14 PhD students from across the Departments of Law & Criminology (DLC), Psychology, Sociology & Politics (PSP), Natural & Built Environment (NBE) and the Centre for Regional, Economic & Social Research (CRESR) took part in a new poster event on 25 April 2017.

Students were invited to submit abstracts for poster presentations which either provided an overview of their whole project, or which focused in on a particular element of it.

Forming part of the Sheffield Institute of Policy Studies (SIPS) programme, this multi-disciplinary event facilitated both networking and potential collaboration opportunities between students, staff and external partners. Recognising the importance of developing contact networks for both completion of their doctoral studies and also future career opportunities, students were asked to invite 2 contacts to the event, including at least 1 external contact.


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Following a networking lunch, Professor Peter Wells, Assistant Dean for Research & Knowledge Transfer, Faculty of Development & Society welcomed delegates and opened the event. Students presented their posters to delegates from across the university, and also further afield. Feedback from delegates showed that 100% were impressed by the quality of research on display and were likely to recommend the event to others. It was also great to see those students who were due to complete their confirmation or final viva stage using the event as an opportunity to seek different perspectives on their work to help them to prepare for their assessments.

Whilst delegates were treated to afternoon tea, the posters were judged by a team of Professors from across the Sheffield Institute of Policy Studies: Peter Wells, David Best and Paul Hickman. The judges were looking to award 2 prizes; one for academic significance and other for potential economic, societal and policy impact. The standard of submissions was so high that the judges decided to instead award 4 prizes, 2 for each category. The winners were:

  • Beth Collinson (Department of Law & Criminology)
  • Chris Devany (Centre for Regional, Economic & Social Research)
  • Rosie Martin (Department of Psychology, Sociology & Politics)
  • Lucy Poignton (Department of Law & Criinology)

One of the winners, Chris Devaney noted: ‘Unlike formal conferences, the SIPS PhD Student Poster Event gave presenters the opportunity to engage with attendees on a relaxed one-to-one level. I received plenty of invaluable advice and suggestions which have shaped my PhD going forward’.

Over 93% of delegates rated the event as either good or excellent and almost 70% said that they were extremely likely to attend a similar event in the future.

Reflecting on the success of the event, Professor Peter Wells commented: ‘The SIPS PhD Student Poster Event was a fantastic success. It provided an excellent basis for doctoral researchers and supervisors to come together, share ideas and learn more about cutting edge research going on across the Faculty of Development and Society.  Our aim for the event is that it becomes a key part of the research calendar at SHU.’

The team are already working on the development of next year’s event. Following feedback from delegates that ‘it was a very valuable and enjoyable event’ which had a ‘winning formula’, the event is to be expanded and rolled out to PhD students from across the whole of the Faculty of Development & Society.

Many thanks to Oxford University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Blackwells and the Sheffield Institute of Policy Studies (SIPS) for also sponsoring the event.

For further information, contact Jill Dickinson or Dr Michelle Newberry

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