In April 2018, 38 QMUL undergraduates from all three faculties attended the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR), a national multidisciplinary academic conference. They spent two days discussing their research, listening to a vast range of presentations and meeting their peers from across the UK and abroad.
Our students presented on topics as diverse as ‘The precarious reality of urban employment: an investigation into the risk-laden mobilities of Deliveroo's bicycle couriers’ and ‘Can primordial black holes be dark matter and explain the LIGO events?’
For those who plan to go onto Masters and PhDs, BCUR provides a valuable introduction to academic conferences. For all participants, learning how to present research to a non-discipline specific audience is an invaluable experience they can take forward into later careers.
The participants had the opportunity to practice their presentations in sessions organised by Learning Development staff before the conference. They were also well-supported by their academic supervisors. The practice and support paid dividends when it came to the day of the conference, as, once again, the standard and quality of their presentations were very high.
Feedback from the students about BCUR was uniformly very positive. Some of their comments included:
“I feel that my research was elevated in an environment where it was really appreciated … this experience that has really motivated me to pursue a career in academia.”
Jason Lynch, 3rd yr. Environmental Science
“Most memorable moments: actually presenting and having other students from QMUL to come and support, the conference dinner (because of the amazing venue and sitting down and talking with other students), generally feeling passionate when listening and watching other presentations”
Vinn Binh Chau, 3rd yr. Geography
“Really enjoyed the conference, best thing was getting to watch presentations about topics I'd no idea I would be interested in!”
Puja Patel, 1st yr. MBBS, SMD
“I established some connections which will hopefully turn into future collaborations. I also became more aware of myself within the field of research and more importantly I am more confident about the direction in my discipline.”
Kalina Todorova, 2nd y. Drama
“This is a real asset on CVs (I added it to my master’s proposal).”
Simon Hardy, 3rd yr. Human Geography
As well as representing a record level of attendance for Queen Mary students, BCUR 2018 reached a new record of attendance over all, with over 600 undergraduates presenting their research.
In 2019, BCUR will visit Wales for the first time in its history in April 15-16. Hosted by the University of South Wales in the Welsh capital Cardiff, BCUR19 promises to build on the success of this year’s record-breaking conference in Sheffield. Hopefully we will continue to raise the bar.