SPARC 2017

SPARC 2017 (Salford Postgraduate Annual Research Conference) took place at MediaCityUK 27- 29 June 2017.

Taking place in Salford’s 50th year as a University the theme for SPARC 2017 was ‘Retrospect & Prospects’, with postgraduate researchers from all disciplines invited to present their research from the view point of looking both forward and back. 138 of them took up the challenge, and a huge range of fascinating subjects were presented over 3 days at Media City UK, with presentations, posters, demonstrations and the fiercely contested 3 Minute Thesis™ final contributing to a vibrant celebration of postgraduate research.

Dr Jo Scott, PGR Director for the School of Arts & Media, summed up the conference "SPARC this year felt like an open, friendly and buzzing space when I attended. The session I chaired was full of diverse, articulate presentations, prompting rigorous discussions and was beautifully managed by my student co-chair, Adam Hart. The materials associated with the event, how I was welcomed into the space and the general feel was extremely positive. All of this was washed down with a flake and ice cream in the rain - a great event, beautifully managed!".

You can enjoy the full SPARC2017 photo album on our Salford PGRs Flickr account. Many thanks go to our conference photographer Atousa Zaeim! A PDF of the accompanying Book of Abstracts can be downloaded from USIR.

Day 1 of the conference was opened by Director of Postgraduate Research, Prof Yiu Lam and PGR student Muna Abubaker from the School of Environment & Life Sciences, who introduced our first keynote speaker Prof David Brettle. David gave an entertaining insight into ‘A Curious Mind’; talking about the importance of publishing and patenting whilst also maintaining a high ‘mojo’ level!

It was also on day 1 that the Salford Three Minute Thesis™ winner was decided, with Lauren Ward from Computing, Science & Engineering scooping first prize for her presentation ‘Accessible Broadcast Audio Customisation’. Lauren made it through to the final 12 competitors of the national competition, which was a fantastic acheivement!

On day 2 the proceedings were opened by the Dr Mohammad Takhtravanchi whose PhD was recently awarded from the School of the Built Environment, and Dr Marie Griffiths who is a Reader in Salford Business School and a longtime supporter of SPARC. Mohammad and Marie presented our second keynote, Geoff Thompson MBE who spoke passionately about the power of self-belief and determination to triumph over adversity, and the importance of giving something back to society. Geoff is a five times World United Karate Organization champion, and now works to address anti-social youth behaviour, child obesity, weapon and gang culture using sport, art and culture through his charity Youth Charter. That afternoon, the inaugural SPARC ‘Open Mic’ competition was held with researchers from Bradford, Bolton, UCLAN and Liverpool John Moores taking part.

Our final day was opened by PGR Shaymaa Al-Shammari from Computing, Science & Engineering and Associate Dean Research (CSE), Prof Ghasem Nasr who presented keynote Dr Ben Halligan from the University of Wolverhampton. Ben was previously PGR Director for the School of Arts & Media and jumped at the chance to come back and visit Salford, with his presentation 'Let Me Introduce Myself: Creating and Maintaining Your Online Profile as a PhD Researcher'.



Prize Winners

Three Minute Thesis (voted by judges Janet Morana, Postgraduate & Partnerships Manager, and Dr Gary Kerr, Environment & Life Sciences)

1st prize - Lauren Ward (Computing, Science & Engineering)
Runner up – Alix Chadwell (Health Sciences)

Watch the closing remarks and 3MT prize giving here.

Poster Competition (voted by all delegates)
First prize – Muna Abubaker (Environment & Life Sciences)
Runner up – Abigail Monk (Health Sciences)

‘Best presentation in session’ prizes  (voted by session chairs)
Session 1.1: ‘Doctor in the House’ - Muna Abubaker (Environment & Life Sciences)
Session 1.2: ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – Rachel Langford (Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences)
Session 1.3: ‘Superhuman 1’ – Eleonora Costamagna (Health Sciences)
Session 2.1: ‘Mad Max’ – Kamal Alogla (Computing, Science & Engineering)
Session 2.2: ‘Speed’ – Noorance Al-Mukaram (Computing, Science & Engineering)
Session 2.3: ‘Postcards from the Edge’ – Katie Scaletta (Environment & Life Sciences)
Session 3.1: ‘The Secret of my Success’ – Martyn Willcock (Salford Business School)
Session 3.2: ‘The Social Network’ – Naser Al-Falahy (Computing, Science & Engineering)
Session 3.3: ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ – Stuart Robertson (Environment & Life Sciences)
Session 4.1: ‘Planet Earth’ – Abimbola Adeleke (Environment & Life Sciences)
Session 4.2: ‘Anchorman’ – Lauren Ward (Computing, Science & Engineering)
Session 4.3: ‘Risky Business’ – Violet Mtonga (Salford Business School)
Session 5.1: ‘Nine to Five’ – Vicki Harvey (Salford Business School)
Session 5.2: ‘Evolution’ – Muhammad Abba (Computing, Science & Engineering)
Session 5.3: ‘That’s Entertainment’ – Adam Hart (Arts & Media)
Session 6.1: ‘Starter for 10’ – Kirsten Stoddart (Arts & Media)
Session 6.2: ‘Superhuman 2’ – Diana Madalina Stan (Environment & Life Sciences)

'Open Mic' Competition - Faiza Choudhry Parveen, University of Bradford