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PhD research under the Spotlight

Posted on 11 December 2018

Support PhD colleagues and find out about University research at YorkTalks.

A PhD Student shows a member of the public her research‌‌


Congratulations to the PhD Spotlight competition 2019 winners!

Arts and Humanities: Anna Detari
Sciences: Jack Smith
Social Sciences: Caroline Casey
Overall winner: Anna Detari

The finalists

PhD Spotlight finalists 2019

There’s a fascinating range of presentations from current PhD students at YorkTalks next month. An expanded shortlist sees 12 finalists exhibiting their research at this key University event. Faculty winners and an overall winner will be announced at the event on Wednesday 9 January 2019.

PhD Spotlight competition 2019 finalists

Arts and Humanities

An Aesthete in the East: Frederic Leighton in the Ottoman Empire - Madeline Boden, History of Art
What was the influence of travel on the work of Victorian artist and President of the Royal Academy, Frederic Leighton?

The Curse of Music: Curing the Mysterious Musician’s Cramp - Anna Détári, Music
Enhancing therapy for Musician’s Cramp - a neurological condition which makes the brain send confusing signals to the hands or facial muscles.

Boisterous Oysters, Playful Cats, and Medical Mules - Anjali Vyas-Brannick, English and Related Literature
Exploring literature of the 16th and 17th centuries to ask how animals help us ask the big questions of being human. Why should we listen to animals?

Primal Desire: Animals and Sex in Medieval Culture - Tim Wingard, Centre for Medieval Studies
Exploring representations of animals and sex in medieval culture and science to see how our notion of ‘natural’ sex is constantly evolving as society’s moral standards and scientific understanding changes.


Making Carbon Dioxide Work for Us with Electricity and Water - Mark Dowsett, Chemistry
Can we capture carbon dioxide within a solid material for storage or convert it into something useful?

Virtual 3D Audio: Treating a Fear Of Sound for Children with Autism - Daniel Johnston, Electronic Engineering
How can virtual reality sound be used to help children with autism spectrum disorders?

Smarter Prescriptions: Technology for Tackling the Antibiotic Problem - Callum Silver, Electronic Engineering
In order to combat inappropriate use of antibiotics, can we develop a rapid diagnostic technology to detect resistance in bacteria to a first-line antibiotic?

Listening to Insects with iPhones - Jack Smith, Electronic Engineering 
Providing technologies for the automatic monitoring of biodiversity through sound in order to expand the amount of data collected, increase reliability of classifications, and heighten public awareness of biodiversity decline.

Social sciences

University or Degree Apprenticeship: A Moral Choice? - Caroline Casey, Education
Can degree apprenticeships close the gap between people from different backgrounds in access to decent work?

Public Men and Sexual Assault: Where Are We After #MeToo? - Nicole Froio, Centre for Women’s Studies
Where is the fight for gender equality and justice for sexual violence survivors now?

It’s All Greek to Me! (Or Might As Well Be) - Michelle Hunter, Education – Applied Linguistics
What learning and teaching strategies could help deal with emotional and self-confidence issues when working in a foreign language in university classrooms?

People and Climate Governance: The Case Study of Central Borneo, Indonesia - Gracia Paramitha, Politics
Examining the main factors affecting bilateral climate partnerships in Indonesia, as well as the lack of direct access of funding for civil society groups in Central Borneo and their environmental livelihood in the future.

The Judging Panel

Lauren Marshall, Hall Manager & Audience Development Officer, Merchant Adventurers' Hall, York

Prof Doug Cleaver, Director of the Doctoral School and Professor of Materials Modelling, Sheffield Hallam University

Emma Brown, Acting Head of Business Development, University of York

Jennifer Gilmartin, Acting Director, Research and Enterprise Directorate, University of York

The Criteria

Each exhibitor will receive a maximum score out of five against each of the four criterion:

  1. Visual appeal, presentation and coherence
  2. Clear message about originality of research
  3. Relevance outside a single field, and able to excite those working in other disciplines
  4. Appropriateness for non-specialist, academic audience


There will be prizes for the exhibition that scores most highly in each of the three faculty categories (Arts and Humanities, Science, and Social Science) plus an overall winner. These will be announced during the drinks reception at YorkTalks.

Find out more