On Tuesday 12 June, the Doctoral College held its inaugural Bake Your Doctorate Showcase which challenged students to describe their research through the medium of baking. Eleven students donned their aprons and dusted off their rolling pins to take part, creating a range of elaborate masterpieces.

This year’s entries were:

After an initial viewing session, it was time to cut the cakes and start tasting! Judges and attendees were treated to samples of delicious passionfruit profiteroles, white chocolate & raspberry sponge, chocolate cake, biscuits, pineapple sponge, shortbread, gingerbread men and women, vanilla sponge, peanut brittle and even jelly!

Our panel of judges had a difficult decision, but after much deliberation awarded Anna Kinsella, (Department of Chemistry) the Panel's Choice Award. Anna's creation used a ferris wheel of cupcakes to represent new and natural ways to form carbon bonds, found in molecules, using non-toxic materials.

Speaking about the competition and why the judges felt Anna met the criteria, Head Judge Prof. Cathryn Mitchell said:

“The event showed the passion that our doctoral students have for communicating their research to others. Each one of the entries was both inventive and engaging. We (the judges) particularly liked the creativity that Anna Kinsella showed in describing chemical processes through the cupcake fairground wheel. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and we thank everyone for taking part.”

The Doctoral Community Choice Award, as voted for by the attendees, was awarded to Shawn Rood, (Department of Chemical Engineering) for his creation. Shawn used a chocolate cake, a vanilla cake and a bridge made of peanut butter brittle to represent a catalyst material which could help keep our air clean and avoid climate change.

We asked Shawn why he took part and why he would recommend his fellow students to join in the fun next year:

"The Bake Your Doctorate competition was a fantastic experience. I’m passionate about my research and I love to bake, and this was the perfect opportunity to combine the two. Having to explain research in the form of cake forced me to consider how to best explain what I do for a non-specialist audience, as simply as possible. I believe being able to communicate and engage with the public is a very valuable skill for all researchers to develop.

I’d highly encourage other PhD students to take part in Bake Your Doctorate in the future. You’ll get the chance to present your research project in a unique way, learn more about other people’s research within the Bath doctoral community, and most importantly, have fun and eat cake!"

Hear from showcase organiser Dr Eleanor Parker (Doctoral Engagement Manager) and our competition winners about the benefits of taking part in Bake Your Doctorate.

You can also check out all the photos here.