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Empowering PhD students: advancing presentation skills

Our colleague, Raimonda Soloha, attended the 10th PhD Students Training School from November 22 to 26, 2023. The PhD training school is an annual event organised by the Baltic University Programme (BUP). The BUP is a network “with about 100 participating universities in the Baltic Sea Region, cooperating for education and research in Sustainable Development and Democracy”. The programme is coordinated by the BUP’s Coordinating Secretariat at Uppsala University (Sweden). The BUP PhD training school aims to bring together PhD students from different disciplines to network and exchange their research in a stimulating environment. The venue of this year’s training school was the Łódź University of Technology (Łódź, Poland), one of the BUP participating universities. The training school brought together more than 20 PhD students from various disciplines and universities all over Europe.

On the first day, students learned about the BUP and the host of the event, Łódź University of Technology. To get to know each other and foster creative thinking, students were engaged in a design thinking workshop. On the second day, the event was opened by the Director of the BUP Centre in Poland Prof. Ireneusz Zbiciński. His talk was continued by various presentations about scientific presentation skills. D.Sc. Mirosław Imbierowicz gave a presentation on “How to prepare a really bad PowerPoint Presentation”, Prof. Paweł Wawrzyniak presented “How to prepare a good poster”, and Prof. Tomasz Brańka delivered a speech about “First impressions matter: Presentation Intros Unleashed”. While the topics are well known, it was a good opportunity to reflect on how to create a compelling, structured and logical presentation.

One of the BUP activities is the BUP PhD Award aimed at supporting high-quality research promoting sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region in two disciplines: natural sciences, technology and engineering, as well as social sciences and humanities. Award holders of the BUP PhD Awards 2023, Dr. João H.P.P. Eustachio (HAW-Hamburg University of Applied Sciences) and Dr. Ramin Moghadasi (Uppsala University) presented their works to the participants of the training school. This was a great opportunity to strategize how to present the results of the PhD research from several years of research.

Afterward, each student had the opportunity to talk to experts about their PhD theses in an individual one-to-one session. The central point of this conference was the oral presentations of each participant introducing other PhD students and experts to research topic and discussing the topicality, research methods and results of theses.

Upon looking back at the event, Raimonda shares her reflections:

“This training school was a great opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and present PhD thesis to a diverse audience of PhD students and professors. While I find communication challenging, this was a great opportunity to present research in a supportive environment along with other PhD students who often feel the same struggle in presenting their work. A very important takeaway from this conference is also the knowledge gained through conversations with other PhD students about their study and research experience and the challenges they face. I would also sincerely like to thank Prof. Grażyna Budryn (Łódź University of Technology) to whom I had the opportunity to discuss my thesis and delve into in-depth discussion about the challenges of food loss and waste prevention and reduction, both from a researcher’s, as well as an individual's point of view. Her background in food technology and nutrition gave me a perspective on how to frame my research, as well as think of how food safety and diet are interlinked with food waste and impact its generation. In conclusion, I would like to thank my supervisor Elina Dace for encouragement, and the organisers for the opportunity to participate in this event.”

Photo credit: BUP photo archive.

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