School Research Conference success

On Friday 16 April, we held our annual School Research Conference to celebrate and showcase some of the inspiring and innovative work currently being conducted by our research students.

During the online conference, around 100 second year PhD and EngD students presented their research to attendees through a two-minute oral presentation, before fielding questions from attendees during breakout poster sessions.

Research topics were diverse, representing all seven of the School’s research institutes – from the 3D printing of bioengineered tissue to treat cardiovascular disease, to bio-inspired underwater soft robots and data-driven improvements to windfarm performance, among many others.

Explaining the idea behind the conference, Head of the Graduate School Professor Prashant Valluri said: “Not only has this been a fun way of quickly sharing the myriad of research fields under investigation within the School, it also provides our second year postgraduate students with a very useful opportunity to polish their presentation skills in front of a friendly audience.”


Towards the end of the day, participants voted for their favourite posters and oral presentations. Well done to the following winners:

  • Joshua Collins won the Academic Panel Vote for his poster on ‘Simultaneous 1D hybrid fs/ps rotational CARS and CH* chemiluminescence in a side-wall quenching burner’
  • Kayleigh Doherty won Best Oral Presentation for her presentation on ‘Electrochemical sensing for continuous monitoring of fetal health’
  • Patrick Sullivan won the Popular (Student) Vote for his poster on ‘Bursting the Bubble on Vapour Growth Dynamics’

Winners each received a £200 voucher, kindly funded by civil engineering alumnus and former Lord Mayor of London, Sir Francis McWilliams.

Photo (left to right): Prize winners Joshua Collins, Kayleigh Doherty and Patrick Sullivan

Programme highlights

The day featured a keynote speech from Professor Cath Noakes OBE, Professor of Environmental Engineering for Buildings at the University of Leeds and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

Professor Noakes shared insights into her career and research interests – which have focused on ventilation and indoor air quality for public health, including the transport of airborne pathogens – and answered questions from students during a Q&A led by PhD student Allana Lewis.

Delegates also heard from Ruby Marshall, Head of the Engineering Graduate Society (EngGradSoc) about the latest opportunities to get involved in the School’s postgraduate research community.

“Inspirational window”

Head of School Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh commented, “This event continues to be a uniquely inspirational window on our research activity, which reaffirms Edinburgh as a leading UK powerhouse in engineering research. The past year has been a very challenging time for all researchers due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and I’d like to thank all of our doctoral students for their perseverance in the face of such difficulties.”