The Doctoral College welcomed over 200 doctoral researchers, staff and members of the Bath public to their inaugural Doctoral Festival of Ideas on 24 - 26 June 2024. Funded by the Enhancing Research Culture Fund, this three day academic conference took place during the University of Bath's Research Culture Month and sought to enhance the research environment within the doctoral community.

Seeking to establish a greater sense of community and belonging for PGRs at Bath the festival featured a series of keynote speeches, workshops and presentations from current PGRs. Presentation sessions highlighted the work being carried out by PGRs who are approaching a shared topic from a range of disciplines across the university. This allowed presenters and audience members to listen to different points of view, reconsider their own thinking and see their own research from an alternative perspective. All the while these sessions aimed to expand opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration: empowering the research community to work across disciplines to approach shared research challenges.

The festival planning team was equally collaborative and was made up of the Doctoral Development Team alongside two current PGR representatives from each of the four faculties and school.

Our aspiration was to create a flagship event that enables doctoral students to feel more connected to the university's research culture and ultimately help us drive further improvement of students’ perceptions and role in contributing to the research environment at Bath and feedback from attendees has led us to believe that we have achieved that mission!

"I Just wanted to thank you all for your hard work organising the Doctoral Festival. It was a great idea and good fun, and I was very grateful for the opportunity to present. My doctoral supervisor, as well as three friends from outside the university, attended and all enjoyed it too." Dr Paul Secular (PGR, Department of Mathematical Sciences)

Highlights from the festival programme included keynote speeches from Psychologist and Dr Andy Cope (AKA 'The Happiness Dr') and Prof Turi King who shared her expertise and experiences in her talk 'Richard III: the resolution of a 500 year old cold case' alongside an institution-wide PGR poster competition. Further information and the full programme can be found here.

We were also fortunate to be visited by The Chancellor of the University. The Chancellor was able to meet with the senior leadership team, the event organisers as well as a couple of doctoral researchers.

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who was able to join us at the event. In particular, we would like to recognise the following individuals who were awarded prizes:

PGR Poster Competition

The PGR Poster Competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students at the University of Bath. Established by the Doctoral Development Team and hosted and Judged by Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research Prof Joe Devine and the Director of the Doctoral College Dr Rachel Arnold.

Competition categories included 'Pre-Confirmation', 'Post-Confirmation' and 'Professional-Doctorate';

Jonathan Cleverly, Dept of Physics who won the Pre-Confirmation category with ‘Detection of whale vocalisations within Arctic Soundscapes’

Bethany Gray, Dept of Architecture and Civil Engineering won the Post-Confirmation category with ‘Developing Wearable Robotics for Assisted Motion and Fall Prevention’

Mike Dunkley, Dept for Health won the Professional-Doctorate category with ‘The impact of cold environments on the provision of Pre-Hospital Advanced Life Support (ALS) by UK Military Healthcare Professionals’

Each of the poster competition winners received a £150 training and development fund grant.

Congratulations also to Berrak Balci, Dept of Architecture and Civil Engineering who won the People's Choice prize with ‘Daylight control and energy evaluation of office buildings with adaptive façade louvre’.

Berrak received a £50 Amazon voucher.

We are thrilled that the event was a resounding success and there are plans in place to host another Doctoral Festival of Ideas in 2025.