Dublin City University hosted the first Irish Postgraduate Research Conference on the 8th and 9th November. This year’s theme was “Research Contributing to Society”. During the two-day conference over 120 delegates from universities across Ireland and abroad had the opportunity to share their research in a social and interdisciplinary forum, with a total of 91 oral and poster presentations on topics including Education & Learning, Medicine and Mental Health and Technology and Digitalisation among various others. The conference provided its delegates with access to different workshops in Research Communication, Grant Writing, Literature Referencing and Data Collection and Analysis. These aimed at improving the attendees’ soft skills, which are becoming essential in the current employment market. In addition to the Student Sessions, the conference highlights included two Keynotes: “Hard and Soft Borders in Communicating Research” by Brian Trench, president of the PCST Network and “Veil and Headscarf Bans as Harassment” by Mathias Möschel, associate professor at the Central European University, Hungary.
The IPRC conference also featured an expert panel discussion on ‘The Influences of Populism on Research and Higher Education’, which was opened by Judith Sargentini, the Member of the European Parliament who initiated actions against Hungary’s ban on Gender Studies. The panel, chaired by Dr Eugenia Siapera from the DCU School of Communications, included Mathias Möschel (CEU), followed by Prof Jane Ohlmeyer, chair of the IRC, Tom Boland, education consultant at BH Associates and former chief of the Higher Education Authority, Dr Ian Cooper from the DCU Brexit Institute and Dr Erika Biagini a researcher in Middle Eastern Politics from the IICRR. The conference, which is currently looking for a host for next year, aims to establish itself as a reference learning and networking platform for postgraduate students in Ireland and abroad, while maintaining a strong focus on bridging the gap between different disciplines as well as bringing research closer to the society. More information on the conference is available at iprc.ie and on Twitter (@iprc2018)