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PhD Research Spotlight Competition results

Posted on 18 January 2017

Congratulations to Charlotte Rowley, Michael Bottery, and Rosie Smith, winners of the PhD Research Spotlight competition 2017. Find out more about the finalists, winners and their presentations.

Rosie Smith receiving the prize as overall winner from the Vice-Chancellor, Koen Lamberts

Our postgraduate research students were invited to create exhibition pieces relating to their research. The finalists displayed their work at YorkTalks and one winner was selected for each category by our judging panel.‌

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, presented prizes to the winner from each faculty as well as an overall prize. All nine finalists received certificates.

The winners were:

  • Arts and Humanities: Charlotte Rowley
  • Science: Michael Bottery
  • Social Sciences: Rosie Smith
  • Overall winner: Rosie Smith‌


Winner for Arts and Humanities: Charlotte Rowley

‌Ghosts from a Small Island: Investigating the 12,000-year-old traces of humans living on a lake island in Yorkshire‌

Charlotte Rowley, PhD Spotlight winner with her display

Charlotte's research studies tools and soil composition from the Meolithic sites of Starr Carr and Flixton Island to "to make visible the phantom traces of human behaviour left in the soil for the 12,000 years since".

"It was good to see what areas I struggled to discuss, that was useful in prepping for the viva! It was also good because I could see what areas were robust and what were underdeveloped just generally in terms of the project objectives. Great for getting new insights into other avenues I could explore from the people coming around - really encouraging researchers to come to this is the way to go I think.." 

- Charlotte

Winner for Science: Michael Bottery

‌Observing the evolution of antibiotic resistance‌

Michael Bottery, PhD Spotlight winner with his display

Michael's exhibit showed that far lower levels of antibiotics than expected can cause bacteria to evolve resistance. He presented what this could mean for modern medicine, which relies on antibiotics for routine medical procedures, encouraging us to think hard about what we can do to combat this.   


"The PhD competition gave me a platform to share my PhD with a wider audience. It really helped my communication skills; I found that using metaphors really helped get my points across in a clear and understandable way. People were engaged, asked insightful questions, and made me think about my work in a wider context."

- Michael

Winner for Social Sciences: Rosie Smith

‌The Spectacle of Justice‌

Rosie Smith, PhD Spotlight winner with her presentation

Rosie's research explores how high-profile cases have been presented in the media to investigate the public's role in criminal justice.

"This was a great opportunity to approach my research in a more creative way than my day-to-day PhD work allows; I was able to use different mediums and although it required more time and preparation than perhaps I had first imagined, I was happy with my finished project. I thought the day went very smoothly and was really enjoyable."

- Rosie


PhD Spotlight Finalists with Tom Stoneham, Dean of the York Graduate Research School and the Vice Chancellor, Koen Lamberts.


  • Megan von Ackermann: Access Denied: Implications of the appearance of locks and keys in the archaeology of the early middle ages
  • Ghada Alkuwaihes: Exclamatives in Gulf Arabic and Standard Arabic: Is there any difference?
  • Michael Bottery: Observing the evolution of antibiotic resistance
  • Kasturi Hazarika: Public art projects: artistic exchange between international artists for addressing critical concerns of urban space and ecology
  • John Packer: Low temperature plasma vs prostate cancer; a new solution to an old problem?
  • Shuang Qiu: Behind separation: Chinese couples living apart together
  • Charlotte Rowley: Ghosts from a small island: investigating the 12,000-year-old traces of humans living on a lake island in Yorkshire
  • Sam Simpson: Using a mobile game to help deliver therapy for a serious mental illness
  • Rosie Smith: The spectacle of justice