Relaying Your Research Competition Success

Posted on 22 August 2012

Congratulations to Jennifer Reynolds, PhD student, Department of Sociology who won third prize in a competition to commemorate the Olympic Torch Relay in York. Ten University of York PhD students presented their research to a lay audience and ‘passed on the baton’ of research to the next generation.

Olympic logo

The competition took the form of a three minute pitch about the impact of their research to an audience made up of school pupils, teachers, members of the general public and industry.

Ten finalists, representing the arts and humanities, social science and science disciplines, took part in the event at York Racecourse. Having been given initial training in public engagement and communication, they pitched to a panel of judges made up of sixth form pupils, business development managers, entrepreneurs and media representatives.

Communicating to different audiences is important as it helps us to demonstrate the contribution that research makes to wider society and the economy. In the case of schools and colleges, this gave researchers the chance to engage and enthuse learners about research and perhaps inspire them to come to a research intensive institution. 

Jennifer said: “While I have thought generally about "impact" and how it relates to my research, this competition allowed me the opportunity to fine-tune my thoughts and articulate it to an audience outside the academic community.  It also made me think of the practical steps I hope to take with my results: what will I do with it?  I can't express enough how important this will be in my current research and direction.  Academic research is robust with insightful implications, but if the broader community is unaware of this it will be difficult to garner support to finance additional projects in unstable economic times such as the present.  "Relaying your research" is an event which synthesizes fun, learning and the development of skills that are extraordinarily important for future researchers. It was fabulous!”