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Bristol welcomes new postgraduate research students

15 November 2017

Bristol’s postgraduate research community welcomed over 400 postgraduate research students at an inauguration event on 9 November, hosted by the Bristol Doctoral College.

For many this was the first time they were meeting fellow research students at the University. The event offered an opportunity to explore research connections across the disciplines, form friendships and working partnerships, and discover the support and opportunities on offer at Bristol.

The richness and diversity of Bristol’s research community was on display at the event. From visualisations of dinosaurs and protein design to PhDs studying anti-fascist women writers, the use of artificial intelligence to test hardware and cardiac re-modelling after a heart attack.

While some students are investigating specific topics, sometimes as part of a wider research group, others were less certain of the direction of their research and are looking forward to seeing how their research questions evolve, supported by leading figures in academia and industry.

Vice-Chancellor and President Hugh Brady formally welcomed the students to Bristol and celebrated their place in our ‘international community of scholars’. Students then heard from Professor Nicoletta Momigliano, winner of Research Supervisor of the Year in 2017, and Three Minute Thesis International UK finalist and Bristol student Alfie Wearn.

Professor Momigliano recounted the ‘sheer enjoyment’ she felt at learning new things and emphasised the importance of having fun with research and sharing it with others. She also highlighted the challenge our researchers now faced: ‘there are no fixed rules in research, no quick tips, no easy answers. If there are, it’s unlikely to be of any use’.

Alfie encouraged students to make the most of their time here and the support available from the Bristol Doctoral College: ‘There will be many opportunities presented to you – careers advice, seminars, social events, public events to showcase your work and interest the public and other researchers. Take part. Don’t think, I’m not the person for that, why couldn’t it be you?'.

Alfie also tackled the so-called 'imposter syndrome' that many research students encounter at some point throughout their research degree. 'We’ve all had those thoughts – “it must have been an admin error and I wasn’t supposed to be accepted” – be assured there was no mistake. You are supposed to be here.’

Bristol Doctoral College Director, Dr. Terry McMaster, reflects on the event, 'I was delighted to help welcome hundreds of new postgraduate research students into our vibrant, interdisciplinary research community. Our University Inauguration event was the perfect opportunity for students to connect and feel part of a wider research family. I found it inspiring to get a sense of the breadth of research that our new students will be undertaking over the next few years.'

Further information

There are plenty of opportunities to find out more about the work of our postgraduate research students, from the Bristol Doctoral College blog to the Research Without Borders festival in May. Please contact the Bristol Doctoral College for more information.

View photos from the event.

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