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Parliament hosts research poster exhibition

12 February 2015

Rachel Atkinson

UCLan organised event attracted MPs and higher education representatives

The UK’s best undergraduate research has been on display to politicians thanks to the annual Posters in Parliament exhibition.

Sponsored by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Higher Education Academy, undergraduate students from 24 universities visited Westminster to unveil research findings from a huge range of fascinating subject areas.

The eye-catching posters included research into the human cost of antibiotic resistance, the forgotten art of memory, sustainable energy for the Playa Blanca community in Peru and British Empire sentimentality.

Now in its third year, the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) event was a celebration of British undergraduate research excellence and was inspired by the US Posters on the Hill event, where US students display their undergraduate research at the Capitol Building in Washington DC.

"Based on what has been displayed here today, undergraduate research in the UK is of a really high standard and I'm proud to have been part of it.”

The event gave UK universities a stage to present high quality work being produced by undergraduates and also demonstrated how research-informed teaching can enhance the overall student experience.

BCUR has made a significant contribution to the success of undergraduate research and continues its work to promote it in all disciplines by providing students with an opportunity to share their research through poster presentations, spoken papers, or through creative outputs such as performances and film.

The judging panel was led by UCLan Honorary Fellow Sir Anthony Cleaver, Chairman of the Natural Environment Research Council, and consisted of Professor Mick Healey, a leading expert of undergraduate research, and Professor Philippa Levy, Deputy CEO of the Higher Education Academy.

They chose Francesca Jaroszynska, from the University of Aberdeen, as the winner of the most outstanding research project. Her winning project was entitled ‘100 years of alpine vegetation change in Perthshire’.

The highly commended awards went to Aniket De, from the University of Oxford, for his ‘Living gods in borderlands: religion, nationalism and performance along the Indo-Bangladesh border’ and Lucinda McGregor, from the University of Leeds, for her ‘The reliability of cloud representation in climate models’.

Two students from UCLan attended to showcase their undergraduate research. Iain Hams presented his poster on ‘The Harris Institute at war 1914-1918’ while Kerys Herbert displayed her work on the ‘Effect of anticipatory stress on cognitive performance following fire-fighter training’.

"This is our third Posters in Parliament and the event is clearly going from strength to strength demonstrating the vitality and quality of undergraduate research."

Posters in Parliment

Iain said: “The Posters in Parliament event has been a fantastic opportunity to come to Parliament and see how things work. Based on what has been displayed here today, undergraduate research in the UK is of a really high standard and I'm proud to have been part of it.”

Kerys added: “The poster display is a really great way of displaying your research and it's far more engaging to talk through your research in conversation rather than through PowerPoint. I find it really interesting to learn about everyone else's research and at the same time explain my research to people who don't work in my field – it's a really important skill to develop and I've greatly enjoyed my day.”

The event, which attracted a host of current MPs, was sponsored by Preston MP Mark Hendrick.

UCLan’s Professor Stuart Hampton-Reeves, Chair of the BCUR Steering Group, said: “This is our third Posters in Parliament and the event is clearly going from strength to strength demonstrating the vitality and quality of undergraduate research. MPs and other policy-makers have today had the opportunity to see the next generation of academics performing at a level that is already of an international standard.

“It shows that UK higher education is in good health. ‎We need to continue to protect and nurture our undergraduate research base. By providing more opportunities for our young researchers to develop through inquiry, ‎we can help them grow as academics to confront some challenging topics. The range of issues discussed here today shows that this generation of students is already making a real and valuable contribution to understanding the world around us.”

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