This year’s Postgraduate Research Symposium was the finale of AUT’s inaugural Research Week – and marked its 13th year as an annual event celebrating and showcasing the exciting and innovative research of AUT Master’s and Doctoral students. When Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Mark Orams opened the Symposium with a mihi whakatau, he reminded us that the PG Symposium culminated Research Week for a reason: it is a significant representation of the future of research at AUT, in Aotearoa New Zealand, and across the world.
Professor Nigel Harris, Dean of the Graduate Research School, introduced the keynote speaker for the opening, doctoral student Damon Yu. Damon is a familiar face to many as the PG Affairs Officer in the AUT Students Association, and his keynote offered golden nuggets of wisdom for all AUT PG students! The theme of his talk, “Enjoy Your Research Journey,” reminded us of the key ingredient in approaching our research: Love.
Love may not always be the four-letter word that comes to mind when describing how our research is going. But Damon’s practical advice, delivered with plenty of humour, emphasized the importance of enthusiasm and genuine passion for our research topics. Damon advocated for the value of clear communication and planning with our supervisors, and taking care of our physical and mental wellbeing as we work toward completing our studies.
This year’s symposium then proceeded to thirty oral presentations, and one creative exhibition, across seven streams. The conference streams are always an exciting opportunity to engage with research on themes that stretch across different fields and open us up to new ideas. A session on oral health presented research in technical aspects of pain relief, the problem of patient anxiety, and the role oral health professionals can in take in child protection. The Applied Design and Creative Practice stream introduced the process of original filmmaking and Māori design and construction. The theme of Environment and Human Experience explored coastal governance, landslide prevention and responses to COVID-19. These are just a few examples of the connections made amongst research disciplines at the Symposium.
The poster session in the afternoon over drinks and nibbles gave researchers the opportunity to discuss their projects with attendees. The ten posters were also a diverse representation of research areas across AUT, including marine science, health sciences, and engineering. Audience members had the tough task of voting for their favourite.
Professor Nigel Harris then announced two prize winners for the Best Abstract and Best Poster at the Symposium. Although every abstract and poster was of a high standard, there could only be one winner in each category. The winners – Yousef Adeeb Chamachaei and Mackenzie Freeman, respectively – were announced at the closing of the event. Congratulations to Yousef and Mackenzie!
We are already looking forward to next year’s PG Research Symposium – and we want to see you there. Look out for a call for abstracts here on Thesislink, and If you need assistance or advice preparing your abstract or presentation, look out for PG workshops via eLab. You can also get great advice on presenting your research from supervisors, the Graduate Research School, and the friendly Te Mātāpuna Library and Learning Services staff.
And, don’t forget to check out the pictures and highlights video from this year’s event, which are accessible from the AUT Graduate Research School’s Facebook page.
The PG Research Symposium was just one event of a full week of exciting workshops and symposia that made up Research Week. When balancing study with work and whānau, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a routine or even feel isolated. Research Week was an outstanding opportunity to meet our research support staff, network with researchers from other schools and campuses, and learn about tools for planning your future career. Networking events, full day symposia and kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face) time with more experienced colleagues were some of the rewards for taking part. However, even if you couldn’t attend as many events as you’d like, make sure to stay up to date with workshop offerings via eLab, Postgrad Mix and Mingle, and writing events to stay connected and take advantage of all the support AUT has to offer.