Doctoral Academy Conference

The 2020 Doctoral Academy Conference will be taking place on Thursday 23rd April at the Merseyside Maritime Museum

Judging for the poster competition will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd April.  

The theme for 2020 is “communication”. As well as an opportunity for participants to communicate their own research to a wide audience, the talks and events throughout the day will explore research into science communication, practical and creative approaches to research communication, and celebrate PGRs who have excelled in communicating their research beyond academia.

We are delighted to confirm two keynote speakers, Dr Marta Entradas, LSE,  researcher in Science Communication, and Dr David Wilkinson, editor-in-chief of The Oxford Review

The conference is organised by the Faculty PGR Representatives with support from the Doctoral Academy.

All postgraduate researchers at LJMU are invited to attend and there are plenty of ways to actively take part in the conference. PGRs can book a place here through eDoc (for any participants without access to eDoc, please book here instead).

Taking Part in the Conference

Postgraduate researchers are encouraged to share their research with the rest of the PGR community through different formats. Newer PGRs (first year or part-time equivalent) are invited to present a poster. Those in the mid and later stages of their doctorate can take part in the Three Minute Thesis Competition, or submit an infoposter.  PGRs who have completed the Confirmation stage of their research degree can also take on the role of a poster judge on the 22nd April.

For more details on each format, please see below.


All early-stage postgraduate researchers are invited to take part in a poster competition at the conference. The competition is open to first year (or part-time equivalent) PGRs, who have not yet undertaken their Confirmation of Registration. 

The poster competition is a great opportunity to share the early stages of your research with other PGRs from right across the university. There is also the chance to win £200 in prize money. 

If you would like to take part, please email your proposed poster title and the name of supervisor(s) to by 5pm on Wednesday 1st April.

A pdf of your poster should be emailed by Wednesday 15th April.

Support with poster design

Posters should be A1 size.

The following resources may help with designing your poster:

Presenting your Poster at the Conference

Once your poster presentation is confirmed, please email a PDF of your finished poster to by Wednesday 15 April.

You will need to print your own poster and bring this along to the poster session on the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd April. The poster session takes place the afternoon before the main conference, with winners announced at the close of the conference on Thursday 23rd April.

All posters will be judged by teams of PGR judges. You will be given approximately three minutes to talk about your poster to your judging team. It is recommended that you prepare a 60 second summary of your research, and allow two minutes for questions. Remember that some of your judges will be from outside of your discipline.

The judges will be rating your poster against the following criteria:

  • Overall visual impact;
  • Organisation of content;
  • Clarity of message;
  • Discussion


Mid and late-stage postgraduate researchers are invited to take part in a research infoposter competition. 

This is open to any PGR beyond the Confirmation (formerly Transfer) stage of their research degree.

Infoposters take complex information and present it in a visual format that is easy to understand. Distinct from traditional academic conference posters, infoposters are more visual, contain less text, and their information can be absorbed in less than 20 seconds. They often bring together several infographic elements (visual representations of data) with an overarching narrative. They are very easy to share online and are an ideal format for communicating the key message of your research in an accessible way.

The infoposter competition is a great opportunity to get creative and share your research widely with researchers across the university and beyond. There is also the chance to win £200 in prize money.

To take part, please submit your research infoposter by email to by Wednesday 8th April.

The winners will be voted for by the conference delegates, who will be asked to consider the clarity, accessibility and visual impact of the infoposters. Winners will be announced at the close of the Doctoral Academy Conference on the 23rd April.

Planning your infoposter

  • There are several free programmes you can use to create infographics and infoposters, including power point, Piktochart, and Canva. You can also use Abobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop on any LJMU managed PC.
  • The Doctoral Academy, Library and IT support will be running a workshop on infoposters on Friday 20 March, 2-3.30pm in John Foster 207. You can book here.
  •  Your infoposter should include no more than 200 words. 
  • It should be static and printable. We will arrange the printing and will display them at the conference (when printing, we will maintain the scale used in your file, up to a maximum width of 29cm and maximum length 84cm).
  • Canvas Researcher Development Programme has lots of resources and examples of infoposters (if you are not already enrolled, you can self-enrol here)

Three minute thesis

The 3MT is an academic competition for doctoral researchers established by the University of Queensland, Australia. It challenges you to talk engagingly about your research and its significance in a very short space of time. It’s a great way to gain confidence in presenting, to really focus on the key message of your research and to reach a wide audience beyond your research specialism. 

To take part, presenters need to be registered for a PhD or Professional Doctorate (if on a PhD registration, you should have completed your Confirmation/transfer before taking part). You also need to have not had your viva by the time of the LJMU final on the 23 April. There is more information about judging criteria and rules on the Vitae website.

Presenters first enter their faculty 3MT competition:

  • Science 3MT: Wed 4 March, 16:00-18:00, contact Katie Lawrence for information.
  • Health 3MT: Wed 25 March, time tbc, contact Sue Alexander for information. 
  • Business and Law 3MT: Wed 1 April, 13:30-16:30, contact Scott Foster for information.
  • Art, Professional and Social Studies 3MT: Wed 1 April, time tbc, contact Simone Kruger Bridge for information. 
  • Engineering and Technology 3MT: Wed 8 April, 12:00-14:00, contact Natasha Walden-Jones for information. 

The top 3 presenters from each faculty will go through to the LJMU final at the conference, for a chance to win £500. A recording of the winning performance will be considered by Vitae for submission to the UK semi-final.

The Doctoral Academy is running training sessions on the 3MT for anyone considering taking part:

Poster judges

Mid and late-stage (post-Confirmation) PGRs are also invited to act as poster judges on the afternoon of Wednesday 22 April

Judges work in small, cross-disciplinary teams and each team is assigned a batch of posters (up to 10). Judges are provided with clear criteria for assessing the content of the posters, and each presenter will also get 3 minutes to talk to the judges about their work and answer questions. The judges work collectively to select the best poster from each batch to go forward to a second round of judging, and to provide feedback for the presenter. 

If you are interested in acting as a judge, please email us. You will need to be available for up to 2.5 hours on the afternoon of Wednesday 22 April (approx 1.30-4pm) at the Maritime Museum. 

Please contact for more details.