Winchester hosts research festival

11 Apr 2024

Aerial of West Downs Centre

The University of Winchester is hosting a two-day event for doctoral students focusing on ways they can develop their research skills and broaden their horizons beyond academia.

The University’s West Downs Centre (pictured) is the venue for the second GuildHE Research Doctoral Festival on 16-17 April, the flagship event of the research consortium for smaller and specialist universities.

It will showcase the variety of research and impact being developed by students and researchers at GuildHE Research member institutions and will feature speakers and workshops covering current trends in research and innovation.

Day One concentrates on research skills development, introduced by keynote speaker Dr Helen Kara. A leading independent researcher, author, and teacher, Dr Kara will lead sessions on creative research methods and research ethics.

Rakhi Biswas Evans from the UK Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit will give an overview of how Parliament engages with research and how researchers can offer their expertise and insights for policy development. The day will include a reflection on activism, allyship and research led by coach Lou Chiu.

The second day turns to careers in research. Participants will hear first-hand accounts of life beyond doctoral studies from a panel of recent alumni of GuildHE institutions. The panel will include Dr Julie Wharton, a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Winchester and the programme leader for the National Award for Special Educational Needs (SEN) Coordination.

Participants will hear of a new initiative being piloted by GuildHE and the Wellcome Collection - the free museum that challenges how we think about health - to provide placements for PhD students. University of Winchester PhD student Susan Birch will introduce the pilot and discuss her goals.

The day will be wrapped up with two talks on work of a national scale, giving participants insights into research ‘in the real world’. Dr Joanna Thornborough from The British Academy will discuss their important research into the career paths of arts and humanities researchers. Dr Rebecca Hill will introduce the recently launched People’s Vision for R&D project from the Campaign for Science and Engineering, part of a groundbreaking project to understand how research and development are viewed by the public.

Dr Carlos De Luna Lopez, Head of  Winchester Doctoral School, said: “We are delighted to host the GuildHE Research Doctoral Festival at the University of Winchester; the Doctoral School team has worked hard to ensure that the event runs smoothly.

“The Doctoral Festival will provide not only our doctoral students but all doctoral students in attendance with an invaluable experience to broaden their horizons, discover a world of knowledge, and the opportunity to connect with the speakers and the other students from GuildHE universities.”

Professor John Strachan, Director of GuildHE Research and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Bath Spa University, said: “As a consortium of 30 diverse institutions, collegiality and collaboration is at the core of GuildHE Research, of which the Doctoral Festival is a perfect example. We are particularly  grateful to all the speakers who offer their time and expertise, without which the Festival would not be possible

“Bath Spa hosted the first Festival in 2023 which was a resounding success. It is wonderful to be working with the University of Winchester on this year’s sell-out event which promises to be an enriching and developmental experience for all involved.”

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