This year our Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) Applied Biosciences for Health students (Alex Jenkins, Hayley Robinson, Joe Moore, Ksenia Trischel, Sophie Mohamed and Laura Simmons) attended the 3-day summer school at the University of Huddersfield. This year‘s theme was ‘Making an Impact: Research, writing and you’.

The event included insightful talks from Matthew Cobb (University of Manchester) who discussed the components of good biology and Liz Towns-Andrews (University of Huddersfield) who talked about making an impact with your research.

In addition to keynote speakers we also engaged in interactive writing workshops. Prior to the session we were all asked to bring along a sample of our work, which was then peer reviewed by other members of the DTA. This was a great opportunity to obtain feedback from a non-scientific audience.

On day two we were introduced to the Impact Challenge where groups had to present a pitch to a group of judges on a research topic. The aim of the challenge was to choose a target from global goals [1], design a project which addressed the goal and create a pitch that outlined funding requirements, outputs and outcomes. Projects included: a uterus massage to reduce haemorrhaging and maternal mortality (Laura Simmons); a diabetes mobile app to reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote mental health (Sophie Mohamed); and implementing an online training course to empower healthcare workforces in developing countries (Ksenia Trischel).

DTA students also had the opportunity to attend workshops on making an impact at conferences, interviews and with a CV or covering letter. The world café hosted at the end of day two allowed students to talk to a range of academics and professional services about future career paths.

Overall this year’s summer school was a good opportunity to learn about making an impact with research and what is expected when designing a project for funding applications. The three-day event also provided a chance for PhD students to take time out of their studies to socialise and enjoy being a member of the wider DTA network.

By Laura Simmons

For more information about the Doctoral Training Alliance visit their website https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/programmes/dta-applied-biosciences-for-health.

[1] https://www.globalgoals.org/3-good-health-and-well-being