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PGR Conference 2024: It’s not just about the thesis!

Thursday, 6th June 2024

About the EventPGR Conference Event Image

2024 marks the inaugural University-wide PGR Conference. The PGR conference will bring together doctoral students from across all faculties in an opportunity to develop skills and attributes that are often forgotten on the PhD journey.

There are brilliant interactive workshops that explore areas such as communication skills, resilience and creativity. In addition, we will host the finals of the 3-Minute thesis competition and there will be an opportunity to PGRs to celebrate the rich diversity of their research with a poster session. It promises to be a great opportunity to come together, connect with new and existing friends and celebrate our PGR community.

Event Date, Location and Capacity: 

Registrations are now closed.

Introducing Our Key Note Speaker: Phill Bell Image  

Dr Phill Bell is the company founder and CEO, of ART Health Solutions that focusses on a vision of a world with Happier, Healthier and Higher Performing people!  As previous PhD student at Northumbria, Phill has a huge range of experiences leading him to his current position, which in no small part was a result of his journey with Northumbria.

Previously Phill held an academic position at Nottingham Trent University, and later became a Principal Scientist at the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Human Performance Lab, where he played a pivotal role in developing a scientific support programme for elite athletes and sportspeople, including several world and Olympic champions. He has a strong academic background, having published several book chapters, and over 20 journal articles and presented as an invited speaker at international conferences.  Phill will share some of that journey with the conference delegation and illustrate the opportunities he was able to be make use of during his study that created the platform for a successful career outside academia. 

Submission for the Poster Session: 

Attendees are encouraged to bring along a poster for display. Funds are available to print posters if you do not have a poster already - if you would like to display a poster, please read the guidance and fill out this form

Confirmed Programme:
Workshop Descriptions are located beneath the registration form

08.15 Registration Opens (CCE1 - Business and Law School Entrance)

09.05 - 09:15  Conference Opening Remarks (CCE1 - 002)

09.15 - 10.00  Key Note Speaker (CCE1 - 002)

10.00 - 10.10 Brief Comfort Break (to allow for 3MT Final Set-Up)

10.10 - 11.30  Three Minute Thesis Final  (CCE1 - 002)

11.30 - 12:30 Workshop 1 (choice of 6) (Breakout rooms on ground and 2nd floor)

12.30 - 13.30  Sandwich Lunch and Marketplace/Posters

13.30 - 14.30  Workshop 2 (choice of 6)  (Breakout rooms on ground and 2nd floor)

14:30 - 14:45 Break

14.45 - 15.45  Workshop 3 (choice of 6) (Breakout rooms on ground and 2nd floor) 

16:00 - 16:30  Prize giving and close  

Register to Attend Below:

Workshop |  led by Matt Baillie Smith, Dean of Research Culture 

This session will explore ways to become confident when talking about research, exploring some of the challenges and identifying strategies to help you overcome these. We will work in groups to share our experiences, learn from each and develop our skills and understanding of how to make our research interesting for diverse audiences.  


- to build our understanding of ‘what works’ when communicating about our research 

- to develop our skills for communicating engagingly about our research 


Greater confidence in how to talk about and share our research findings to different audiences 

Tools and ideas to use when talking about our research 


Researcher Development Framework Domain D – Engagement, Influence and Impact: 
D2: Communication and Dissemination; D3: Engagement and Impact 

Workshop | led by Graduate Futures

This session will help you to take a proactive and creative approach to developing and realising your career plans.  Using the five mindsets of design thinking, we will work in groups and on individual exercises to map steps map steps toward our desired career outcomes. 

Aims and Outcomes 

By the end of this session you will :

- Be equipped with tools to help you to refine your career goals 

- Know how to source or create opportunities for development 

- Have identified some areas for development and actions to take 


Researcher Development Framework Domain B – Personal Effectiveness:  
D3 Professional and Career Development 

Workshop | led by Lucy Moorcraft and Sam King, Research and Innovation Services 


This is an introduction to some creative thinking activities, tools and techniques that can be used to help you formulate your ideas or concepts, look at problems from a different perspective to unlock a broader range of solutions, break big problems down into bite sized pieces. Come and try some creative thinking to maximise your skills to reflect, analyse and use your intuition to explore and formulate new ideas. 

Researcher Development Framework 

Researcher Development Framework Domain A – Knowledge and intellectual abilities: 
A3 – Creativity – innovation, argument construction 

Workshop | 

Join us for a hands-on session exploring metadata and documentation with LEGO®! Learn how to make your research data and files more reproducible by using metadata standards and documentation effectively. 


The LEGO® Metadata for Reproducibility game is an interactive game for 4-24 players, using LEGO® to help researchers explore the metadata they might need to record to aid reproducibility. The game addresses issues including planning for metadata, formats of metadata recording, standards and automation. 

Researchers will form small groups to build a small LEGO® model. Each group will leave directions to allow another group to replicate their model, according to the instructions on their table. 

Each group will be given a different bag of LEGO® and slightly different instructions and resources available to help understand how to effectively describe and document research data. 

Session and event description adapted from: Donaldson, M. and Mahon, M. (2019); LEGO® Metadata for Reproducibility. University of Glasgow. DOI: 


Researcher Development Framework Domain A – Knowledge and intellectual abilities:  
A1 Knowledge base: research methods: practical application and information literacy and management. 

Workshop | led by Ellen Cole, Research Culture and Quality Manager 

Academia can be a challenging, competitive working environment. At times this can be exciting, but at others it can be difficult to navigate. As well as support from peers and the University, developing personal resilience can help you to keep going through the ups and downs. This will look different for everyone, and it can be useful to have several different approaches at your disposal. 

In this session we will explore the Resilience in Research toolkit developed by the University of Dundee, trying out different methodologies to help understand what our resilience builders and drainers are; managing our work and environment; having self-direction in our work; having clarity in our roles; and having self-confidence to believe in and stretch ourselves.  

Researcher Development Framework Domain B – Personal Effectiveness: 
B1: Personal Qualities; B2: Self-management. 

Workshop | led by Sareh Akbarpoor, PGR Civil Engineering 

This session will explore career paths beyond academia through the real-life experiences of our PGR alumni and gaining invaluable insights into professional opportunities. 

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