Before lockdown, two Middlesex students took part in the annual Posters in Parliament event organised by the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR): the second year MDX has participated.
Students from 47 universities representing the full spectrum of the UK HE sector exhibited posters which illustrated their research projects. The event, held at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) on Parliament Square, showcases to an audience including MPs and policymakers undergraduate research, a growing field; and gives undergraduates the opportunity to present and explain their work to a room of strangers. In the morning, there was an Introduction to Parliament workshop run by the parliamentary education outreach team, explaining the links between research and the formulation of policy and featuring a talk by a Select Committee chair. The event is inspired by Posters on the Hill in the US, where students present their research work to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In an internal competition at MDX to choose two students to put forward, there were 19 entries by second and third year students, judged by Executive Dean of Science & Technology Sean Wellington and Head of Department of Design Engineering Mehmet Karamanoglu. The winners were third year Architectural Technology student Desislava Veleva, whose poster displayed post-occupancy evaluation survey findings about the MDX Living Pavilion, and IT and Business Information Systems student Vincent Quirante Amande, with a poster explaining a mobile app that supports fuel card top-ups.
“I participated in the competition because it was a way to show my work to people from other universities and industries” says Desislava. In the evaluation of the Pavilion, a collaborative construction project on campus completed in 2019, Desislava and her coursemates asked ten questions focused around why members of MDX were using the Pavilion or not using it, what they think about the space, whether they like it or not, and what changes they’d like to see. “In the poster the information was summarised through graphs showing the results,” she says. At the exhibition, “I had to explain my topic and research. It was challenging and I managed to improve the way I present my ideas”.
Vincent says he took part because “I take pride in my undergraduate project”. He research addresses the issue of accounting and reporting transparency around bulk fuel purchases, with a mobile App connected to fuel cards that captures transaction irregularities. The proposal he says benefits both fleet operators and the public as it makes them aware how Information Systems play an important role supporting fuel card top-up reporting.
Senior Lecturer in Architectural Technology and BIM Homeira Shayesteh said: “Posters in Parliament is a great platform to showcase Undergraduate Research, and a very valuable experience for students as they to learn to communicate their work to a wider audience and to understand the relationship between research and policy. Desislava and Vincent put lots of effort on their work and very enthusiastic. They also presented excellent posters. I look forward to MDX’s third year of participating in the event in 2021”.