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Third Annual WRDTC Spring Conference 2014

May 30, 2014


The third annual Spring Conference of the White Rose DTC took place on 20th May 2014 at the Edge, University of Sheffield. The theme of the conference was “Impact Through Engagement”.

P1010070The conference was attended by about 100 PhD students from the universities of Sheffield, Leeds and York. Attendees from Leeds and York travelled on coaches to reach the venue and join their Sheffield-based colleagues for the day.

The day presented a packed and exciting programme of talks on the topic of impact and engagement in research, as well as a more interactive breakout session. The conference opened with a welcome from the WR DTC Director, Prof. Martin Jones, and with an introduction by WR DTC student reps David O’Reilly (York), Robin Morris (Sheffield) and Marianne Hvistendahl Allday (Leeds). The student reps talked  about their role within the DTC and encouraged students to contact them directly.

The first two speakers, Zamila Bunglawala from the University of Manchester, and Professor Alan Harding, from the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Liverpool University, inspired the audience with their presentations and engaged in discussion during the Q&A sessions following their respective talks. Zamila spoke about “Knowledge Exchange Trials”, while Alan’s presentation focused on “Engagement Experiences and Challenges: The Case of Cities”.


Before the morning was over, Professor Mark Birkin (Leeds) and Dr Adam Whitworth (Sheffield) gave their talks on impact drawing from the experience they gained in their careers so far.

After lunch, attendees split into groups to reflect about impact during the breakout session. Each group then presented the outcome of their discussion to the full audience, before listening to Professor Gordon Dabinett (Director, Research Exchange for the Social Sciences (RESS), University of Sheffield), who spoke about ‘doing engagement’ within a White Rose university.


Before the end of the conference, there was time to announce the winners of the poster competition which took place during the day, the Doctoral Research Collaboration Essay Competition which was launched in occasion of the conference, and WRDTC Supervisor of the Year competition.


22 students submitted their posters for the exhibition and were entered into a competition and voted by the other attendees based on the quality and clarity of their posters.

The first prize in the Poster Competition was won by Stella Darby (Human Geography, Leeds) with a poster titled “Values-based community practice in austere times, or, ‘How not to sell your soul when you’re skint’”. The runner-up was Dana Kakeesh (Management, University of York), whose poster focused on “The Impact of Strategic Airlines Alliances on Brand Management Practices: The Case of Royal Jordanian Airlines in Oneworld Alliance”.

Entries for the Doctoral Research Collaboration Essay Competition were submitted to the DTC office in advance and the winner, Helen Hoyle (Landscape, University of Sheffield) read her winning essay to the audience.

Finally, the winner of the first WRDTC Supervisor of the Year competition, as nominated and voted by her students, was Dr Beatrice Szczepek Reed (Education, University of York). Katie Slocombe (Psychology, University of York) was also commended.