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PhD research showcased at Hutton 2019 postgraduate event

Winners of PhD student competition (c) James Hutton Institute
"This event provides a valuable learning experience for Hutton students in communicating their work to the wider scientific community and promotes a collegiate atmosphere"

Our annual Postgraduate Student Event, which showcases the excellent science being undertaken by postgraduate students at the James Hutton Institute, took place at the Birnam Arts and Conference Centre, Birnam on Wednesday 6th March and Thursday 7th March 2019.

This event provides a valuable learning experience for Hutton students in communicating their work to the wider scientific community and promotes a collegiate atmosphere. It broadens awareness and knowledge of the varied projects undertaken at the Institute and is an opportunity to celebrate the work of students and their supervisors.

The event identifies four students to be carried forward to the SEFARI event and "Science for Life Lecture”. These students are identified from the oral presentation winners. Two students are selected from the oral session and two from the Academic Dragons Den Session.

The event consisted of sessions that required different styles of communication to reflect the different stages of a PhD studentship:

  • Poster session – 1st-year students
  • Oral session – 2nd-year students
  • Academic Dragons Den – a session devoted to short oral presentations from 3rd / 4th-year students

The students had to impress a panel of judges consisting of David Robinson of the Macaulay Development Trust; Jonathan Snape of James Hutton Limited; Peter Orrell of MycoNourish Limited; Ben Johnson of Graphic Science; and Lesley Torrance and Tracy Valentine from the James Hutton Institute. Oral and presentation skills were assessed on presentation skills, the quality of data interpretation and handling of questions and the prizes were awarded as follows:

Poster Session

  • MDT Sprent Prize: Ashleigh MacDonald; “Ozone-mediated control of food spoilage and food-borne pathogens”
  • James Hutton Limited Prize: Imelda Uwase; “How do soil microbes enlarge nutrient pools in cereal-legume intercropping?”

Oral Session

  • Chief Executive Prize and James Hutton Limited prize: Aurélia Bézanger; “My raspberry root rot quest: The story behind infection”
  • The James Hutton Institute Prize: Francesc Ferrando-Molina; “Isolation and characterisation of soil bacteria from a semi-arid region for their novel bio-fertilisers”
  • 3rd place prize: Thomas Lemma Argaw; “From farm to kitchen: How gender affects production diversity and the dietary intake of farm households in Ethiopia”

Academic Dragons Den Session

  • MDT Sprent Prize: Jose Barrera Gavira; “Avoiding senescent sweetening in stored potato tuners: Identification of potential targets for breeding”
  • Mylnefield Trust Impact Pitch Prize: Ruth Hamilton; “Speed breeding barley”

Ben Johnson, managing director of Graphic Science, gave two sessions titled “Public Engagement: Who and Why?” and “Public Engagement: How and Why?”. The first session was a chance to reflect on current practice among individual researchers, which audiences they engage with and what impacts they were expecting. The second session was looking at ways to improve that practice by using planning tools to ensure that we know who we are really targeting, why and with what expected impacts. 

The event featured a talk by James Hutton Institute alumnus Dr Peter Orrell, who has begun his own startup company MycoNourish Limited. He described the process of developing an idea, starting up a company and accessing available help resources.

The social networking task was to create and manufacture a hat for a fashion show. Teams were set up in 3 types of company. One had money, one had equipment and a third had paper. The teams had to negotiate, pay, barter, borrow from each of these companies to make their own hat. Apart from some pretty harsh negotiating, the hats created were superb!


Press and media enquiries: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

Printed from /news/phd-research-showcased-hutton-2019-postgraduate-event on 25/02/24 10:41:39 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.