Crick PhD Student Summer Symposium 2023

Blog by Sophie Kraunsoe, Research Postgraduate, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction

On the 10th of July, for the second year running, the Francis Crick Institute hosted the Crick-partner Universities PhD Student Summer Symposium providing an opportunity to bring together biosciences students from across London. Students from all stages of their PhDs from first years to final years presented their science and had a chance to network with peers across multiple universities including Imperial College London, UCL and King’s College London.

We kick started the day with a series of excellent mini symposia on topics ranging from neuroscience to cancer and immunology. Talks were contributed by students from all universities and year groups giving the chance to practice communicating science and giving feedback in a supportive and encouraging environment. The breath of topics covered was very impressive and displayed the full range of exciting science that PhD students in London are researching. Discussions were continued after the talks with two poster sessions where more students were able to share their work and network with peers.

The symposium had an additional focus on wellbeing in academia supported by a panel discussion of experts chaired by Fryni Panayidou (Crick student support and wellbeing lead) and including Crick group leader, Jeannine Hess, Imperial faculty of medicine senior tutor, Jeffrey Vernon, PhD student and researcher of the impact of loneliness/mental health on postgraduate student, Luqmaan Waqar and University of Surrey lecturer, Cassie Hazell. All the invited panellists gave a short talk detailing their insights into the problems and possible solutions to tackling how to improve wellbeing in an academic context. This was followed by an engaging discussion based on questions submitted by the audience; there were so many questions that these are being followed up beyond the symposium with an email due to be sent to all attendees with comments on the questions we didn’t have time for on the day.

Following on from the panel discussion, we welcomed keynote speaker, Professor Molly Steven from Imperial College London who gave an inspiring talk on the use of bioengineering tools to address challenging problems in healthcare from diagnostics to therapeutics. Seeing how such a multidisciplinary lab conduct their research was hugely inspiring for our audience.

The day concluded with a networking social of wine, cheese and jazz music providing the ambience and atmosphere to relax and socialise after a long day of science. Prizes were awarded for the best poster and talks in each year group as well as an overall prize after attendees voted for their favourites throughout the day. Hopefully, attendees left feeling more connected to the PhD student community in London having had an opportunity to learn about each other’s research and meet each other in person!

We are very grateful to the Postgraduate Community Fund for their support in organising this event.


Find out more about the Postgraduate Community Fund