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MDX Research Students’ Summer Conference 2021 showcases how research world is changing through Covid-19

Co-curated, student-led event features papers by researchers in all disciplines from across MDX’s campuses and at partner institutions

MDX’s annual Research Students’ Summer Conference will be held as an online-only event on June 23rd. The co-created, student-led conference, on the theme of Research in a Changing World, demonstrates how conference culture and the research community has evolved during the pandemic. The papers come from all disciplines and from researchers at MDX’s partner institutions in the UK and internationally as well as at MDX’s London, Dubai and Mauritius campuses.

“We’re not just doing what’s on campus online” says Organising Committee Chair, Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics Dr Anna Charalambidou. “We’re thinking about what we can do differently”.

In aid of an overall conference goal of sharing ideas, creating fruitful collaborations and celebrating research, there will be sessions in a wide variety of styles beyond classic presentations, including performances, videos and online posters. The conference uses Hopin event organising technology, enabling networking and spontaneous conversations between attendees. The conference is open to the public and the event has excited interest from researchers at institutions across the UK. Click here for the conference website

PhD student Christa Sathish, who sits on the Organizing Committee, began her Media Practices doctorate at MDX in January 2020. Her research on UK academics’ use of social media evolved into a specific focus on social media use in the context of the pandemic. Christa has also recently become a Visiting Lecturer in Digital Marketing at MDX alongside her other commitments.

She says that volunteering on the conference committee “has been a most rewarding experience” during an often lonely pandemic year. “I was able to keep in touch with colleagues who I previously met on the campus… My role enabled me to forge relations across disciplines and departments while working in a diverse team”.

Dr Raliat Onatade, Group Chief Pharmacist and Clinical Director for Medicine Optimisation at Barts Health NHS Trust, who earned her Professional Doctorate (Health) in Advancing Clinical Pharmacy Practice from MDX in 2019, is giving the closing address at the conference. She said her experience studying at MDX was formative in her thinking about virtuous cycles of practice and research, putting methodology which research has demonstrated to work into practice, and the practitioner in turn creating more evidence for further research.

Raliat took a lead role in establishing the Pharmacy department at the NHS Nightingale, and oversees pharmacy services at the large scale vaccination hub on the site. The Nightingale in its phase as a temporary hospital was a dynamic environment, she says, where “you had to continually monitor the success of what you were doing” and adapt as needed, and there was “fantastic collaborative team-working”.

Raliat praises the ways in which her MDX professional doctorate stretched and developed her beyond her healthcare background, because of the programme’s strong grounding in social sciences, giving her a whole new skillset which she brings into problem-solving and building effective working relationships. She delights in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and hopes to instil this in students.

The keynote address at the beginning of the conference will be given by MDX Vice-Chancellor Nic Beech, at his first MDX Research Students’ Summer Conference since the 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic. MDX’s Collaborative Partner Institutions offering research degrees whose students will be among speakers at the conference are the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, Metanoia Institute, London School of Theology, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Hult Ashridge Executive Education and KMU Akademie.

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