Monday 20 March 2017

Alzheimer’s researcher picked to present at STEM for BRITAIN event

Gemma Roberts, Alzheimer’s Society Clinical Fellow was selected to present at the STEM for Britain poster event at Westminster this month.

The poster presentation was part of the STEM for BRITAIN Exhibition – a display of posters by early-career research scientists, engineers and mathematicians.  

The event took place at Westminster on Monday, 13th March 2017, sponsored by Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the STEM for BRITAIN organising group of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.

Gemma Roberts, Alzeimer’s researcher at Newcastle University tells us about the STEM event and what it meant to her at this stage in her research career.

The aim of this annual event is to raise the profile of junior researchers in STEM amongst an audience of Parliamentarians.  MPs are invited to come along and talk to the presenters, and a panel of specialists in each field judges the presenters on their scientific merit, clarity and enthusiasm.  I presented in the physics session on diagnosing dementia using a nuclear medicine heart scan, part of my PhD work funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central came to all the sessions and spoke to me and the other five researchers from Newcastle University – this attracted a lot of attention from the professional photographers and media officer on Twitter!

I was pleased to have just been shortlisted for the event, given that I had only been working on my PhD for a few months when I entered; I wasn’t expecting to be in with a chance of winning a prize.  However on the day it went really well and my poster got lots of attention from the judges and guests.  I have to admit to being a little bit disappointed when the prizes were announced, but one of the judges came over afterwards and said I’d just missed out…

We had two winners from Newcastle in other sessions though – Yvonne Choo won gold for chemistry and Laura Wadkin silver for maths.  Congratulations Yvonne and Laura!

A list of all the winners from the day can be found on the STEM website

I’d definitely recommend entering the event next year to other PhD students and post-docs.  It’s a great opportunity to talk about your work to MPs, meet other researchers in completely different fields, and get some experience in communicating your research to a lay audience.