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PhD research showcased at Hutton 2020 postgraduate event

Winners of the Hutton PhD event 2020 alongside judging panel members
"This event provides a valuable learning experience for Hutton students in communicating their work to the wider scientific community and promotes a collegiate atmosphere"

The annual Hutton 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 Thursday 5th and Friday 6th March 2020.

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.

This year the programme included interactive training sessions led by Institute staff members, covering the topics of grant writing (Dr Ali Karley, Dr Lee-Ann Sutherland, Anne Ross), paper writing (Dr Tim George) and science communication (Dr Alice Hague). There was also a social science interaction session led by Dr Mags Currie, identifying multiple worries and fears associated with studentships (and post-doctoral research) and prompting discussion between staff and students.

The event consisted of different student presentation sessions that required different styles of communication to reflect the different stages of a PhD studentship: a poster session for first-year students, an oral session for second-year students, and an academic Dragons' Den-style session devoted to short oral presentations from third and fourth-year students.

The event identifies four students to be carried forward to the SEFARI student showcase. 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 students had to impress a panel of judges consisting of Hutton Directors of Science, Professors Deb Roberts and Lesley Torrance; Head of James Hutton Limited, Dr Jonathan Snape; and Hutton scientist Dr Tracy Valentine.

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

  • Macaulay Development Trust Sprent Prize: Sophia Puliasis, University of Dundee, “In-silico exploration of alternative proteases to trypsin.”
  • James Hutton Limited Prize: Fiona Plenderleith, University of Aberdeen, “Consequences of tree diseases for connectivity: Predicting the impact of ash dieback on forest insect communities.”

Oral Session

  • Chief Executive Prize: Araceli Torro-Galiana, University of Dundee, “Applications of machine learning to identify drivers of Phytophthora infestans population diversity.”
  • The James Hutton Institute Prize: Ursula Ploll, University of Bonn, “The grower, innovation and society – how growers are juggling with innovation, using the example of beneficial soil-microbes.”
  • James Hutton Limited Prize: Trisha McAllister, University of Dundee, “Get a grip – mechanisms underlying variation in barley grain hull adhesion.”

Academic Dragons' Den Session

  • MDT Sprent Prize: Nia Gray-Wannell, James Hutton Institute, “Natural mineral solutions to technological applications.”
  • Mylnefield Trust Impact Pitch Prize: Leigh-Anne Kemp, Lancaster University, “How does mycorrhizal fungi change gene expression in bioenergy crops?”

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, James Hutton Institute,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-2020-postgraduate-event on 02/12/20 09:43:06 AM

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.