PhD students showcase their research at summer festival

Colette Jeffrey discussing her PhD on getting lost in buildings

Postgraduate researchers from across Birmingham City University’s faculties came together to discuss their ideas and present their findings as part of RESFEST, an annual research festival taking place in The Curzon Building.

The importance of postgraduate research

The event, which took place on Wednesday 3 July, invited PhD students to participate via presentations, posters or three-minute soapboxes. The day began with a keynote from Mark Radford, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at NHS Improvement and a Visiting Lecturer at the University. “It’s great to come and speak about how I’ve used my research career to support the development of nursing, both within the NHS and academically,” Mark says. “Events like RESFEST are absolutely critical, as we can ensure the projects we are conducting inspires others to take their research further.”

After a welcome from Deputy Vice-Chancellor Julian Beer, PhD students then had the opportunity to attend an array of presentations being given by participating students, showcasing aspects of their research.

Getting your message across

As well as the presentations, participating researchers had also displayed posters across the First Floor. After lunch, four PhD students had the challenge of presenting their research via a three-minute soapbox, using just their words and delivery to articulate their projects. One of these students, Nassir Ibrahim, says he opted for the soapbox style in order to fine-tune his message without any aids. “Steve Jobs never had slides – he sold you his vision by engaging with you,” Nassir says. “If you want to know if your research is coming across well, you need to stand up on your own terms. I want to expose my ideas and get my message across clearly without the support of slides.”

Sharing research

Researcher Colette Jeffrey, who discussed her work on why people get lost in buildings, believes events such as RESFEST are essential. “They’re fantastic, just the difference of research and wealth of knowledge that’s going on is amazing,” she says. “I think as you get further on through the PhD journey, which is challenging and difficult at times, these events are really helpful. They get people together from different stages of their PhD to share a coffee and discuss their findings.”