Ema Talam, Postgraduate Researcher in Economics
Especially at the beginning of the postgraduate journey, but even at the later stages, just the thought of presenting your work at conference might be absolutely terrifying! Self-doubt is something that almost every postgraduate researcher faces, but getting past it is essential. Your work is incredibly important and you should let people know what your research is about. Furthermore, you would be surprised to see how many people are interested in what you are doing, and not just from your field!.
As with everything in life—when it comes to presenting at the conferences and public speaking more generally—practice makes perfect! Research conferences that are organised by your university are great places to start, as they offer a friendly and encouraging environment where you can present your work. Large numbers of your peers are attending and presenting their papers or posters at these conferences as well. Remember that they are going through similar journeys, and often are facing the same or similar challenges and doubts.
For the first time this year, Staffordshire University is organising a research conference where postgraduate researchers and staff members from around the University will gather at one place (previously, the Postgraduate Research Conference and Staff Research Conference were separate events). The conference will take place in June. It will be an amazing and an inspiring day, filled with different activities: parallel paper presentation sessions, a poster presentation session, Three Minute Thesis competition for postgraduate researchers, keynote speeches and various skills workshops. I list the following four reasons why you should attend and present your work at the Staffordshire University Research Conference.
1. Let the world know what your research is all about
The statement might be a slight exaggeration, but it is important that you start talking about your research. Once you start talking about your research, people will start to associate you with the field and your particular topic, and you will slowly start establishing your name in the field.
2. Get feedback on your work in a friendly environment
Both postgraduate researchers and staff members will attend the conference. This represents a unique opportunity for you to get feedback on your work both from academics and your peers. Furthermore, the discussions you may have after your presentation or during breaks can be very fruitful and can help you develop novel ideas.
Sadly, for a postgraduate researcher, it is not uncommon that sometimes days go by during which you hardly speak to anybody. Research conferences are a great networking opportunity—you will be able to meet and socialise with your peers from different departments, as well as meet academic staff from across the University. Take this opportunity to network and exchange ideas with people who work both within and outside your field—sometimes friendships develop and the greatest ideas come unexpectedly!
Build and develop your skills
Attending conferences is great for building and developing a whole set of skills that are essential for a researcher to have—ranging from subject-specific skills to more general presentation or networking skills. Furthermore, exciting skills workshops will be held during the day at the conference.
I hope to see you all at the Staffordshire University Research Conference 2020 in June!