2nd YP Postgraduate STEM Research Symposium, Leeds – October 2019

The YP Postgraduate STEM Research Symposium is single day event that gives opportunity to early STEM researchers, especially PGRs (PhD and MPhil), to present their research, receive feedback, and explore the possibilities of turning research to enterprise. The symposium is open to professionals and students and accepts abstracts submissions for posters and oral presenters. The first edition of the symposium was hosted by the Department of Computer Science, University of Chester. During the day, the attendees (both IEEE and non-IEEE members) participated in interactive workshops, oral & poster presentations, and an open-panel discussion.

The Postgraduate STEM Research Symposium

The second edition of the YP Postgraduate STEM Research Symposium held at the University of Leeds, UK. It was organised by the IEEE UK & Ireland Young Professionals, in collaboration with the University of Leeds IEEE Student Branch on 23 October 2019. The symposium was well attended by over 65 participants (23 IEEE and 42 non-IEEE members) including post-graduate researchers, and established professionals from the academia and industry. A total of 39 abstract submissions were received.

1: Some attendees and volunteers at registration desk

2: Some attendees networking before symposium kick-off

After collecting their symposium pack at the registration desk, attendees networked as they had welcome coffee. The morning session of the event began with welcome talks by the Head of School, School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering (Prof Robert Kelsall) and Chair of the IEEE Aerospace and System Society (AESS) for United Kingdom & Ireland (Dr Matt Ritchie). Thereafter, a keynote speaker of the Symposium (Prof Mike Hinchey, Chair of IEEE UK & Ireland Section) gave a talk on “building resilient space exploration missions” that elicited several interactive discussions. After networking during a short coffee/tea break, the morning session of the symposium concluded with oral presentations by the first group of postgraduate STEM researchers. Lunch was served around noon in parallel with a poster presentation session where postgraduate STEM researchers networked and discussed their research with symposium attendees in a professional setting.

3: Welcome address by Prof Robert Kelsall

4: Welcome address by Dr Matt Ritchie (AESS)

5: Prof Mike Hinchey chatting with other speakers after his engaging keynote talk

6: Symposium attendees networking during coffee & tea break

7: Oral presentation by postgraduate researcher

8: Oral presentation by postgraduate researcher

9: A cross-section of symposium attendees actively listening to a presenter

The afternoon session of the symposium began with a second keynote talk by Prof Peter Jimack (Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics) entitled “Efficient numerical algorithms for the solution of fluid dynamics problems”. The keynote talk was followed by two engaging and educative workshop sessions on “How to give a technical presentation” and “How to write research fellowship applications” facilitated by reputable academics (Prof Mohsen Razai and Prof Christoph Walti) from the University of Leeds. The workshop session was followed by another tea & coffee break which provided further networking opportunities and another chance to evaluate the symposium’s poster presentations.

10: A cross-section of attendees networking over lunch

11: More attendees networking over lunch

12: Attendee viewing symposium poster presentation

13: A presenter discussing her research with an attendee

The evening session of the symposium began with the final interactive keynote talk by Eric Hawthorn (Executive Chairman, Radio Design Ltd) entitled “Cellular Radio – Business & Technology”. Oral presentation by a second group of postgraduate STEM researchers followed the keynote talk. A knowledge sharing interactive panel discussion on increasing impact of academic activities on industry followed the second oral presentation session. The panel discussion had been put together to cover a broad range of topics, snapping academic opportunities, start-ups, entrepreneurship, fellowships and development in technologies. The session was chaired by Prof Ian Hunter. The panel comprise of experienced professionals from industry and academia including Dr Sarah Fores, Eric Hawthorn, Prof Christoph Walti, Prof Peter Jimack, and Prof Robert Kelsall. The panel discussion was interactive allowing panellists to share their experience and wisdom and counsel with the next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs. The panel comprise of experienced professionals from industry and academia. Panellists also responded to questions from symposium attendees in the interactive panel discussion.

14: Prof. Peter Jimack (Keynote)

15: Prof. Mohsen Razavi delivering a workshop

16: Prof. Christoph Wälti delivering a workshop

17: Eric Hawthorn delivering a keynote talk

18: Oral presentation by postgraduate researcher

19: Oral presentation by postgraduate researcher

20: Oral presentation by postgraduate researcher

21: Panelists during an interactive discussion session

22: Workshop session

23: Kieran Bull receives award and certificate for best poster presentation

24: Simon Obute receives award and certificate for best oral presentation

The symposium closed with awards ceremony for “Best Oral Presentation” and “Best Poster Presentation” at the STEM Symposium. Simon Obute’s oral presentation entitled “RepAtt: Achieving Swarm Coordination through Chemotaxis” won the award for the best oral presentation. Eleanor Nuttall’s and Kieran Bull’s poster presentations entitled “Terahertz Lasers: New Techniques for Studying the Chemistry of Climate Change” and “Systematic construction of scarred many-body dynamics in 1D lattice models” respectively both won the awards for best poster presentation. A post-symposium dinner provided further networking opportunity for pre-registered symposium attendees, speakers and organising committee members.

25: Symposium group picture including speakers, attendees and volunteers

The Role of IEEE UK and Ireland Young Professionals (YP)

The YP affinity group was the main sponsor of the event. This is because supporting Postgraduate STEM Researchers to develop necessary research and presentation skill is one of our priorities as an affinity group. The symposium held at the University of Leeds is one of such events that promotes interaction between young professionals (STEM researchers) and experienced academia and industrial professionals to help the younger professionals develop skills and strategies to excel in their research degrees and future careers.

26: A group of symposium speakers, volunteers and attendees at the networking dinner

IEEE YP UK & Ireland will continue to deliver to the community of young people with similar events, while building diverse professional networks. We are glad to make the second edition of the Postgraduate STEM Symposium happen along with our co-organiser, the University of Leeds IEEE Student Branch. Members of local organizing committee (at the University of Leeds) includes but is not limited to Dr Mustafa Bakr, Opeyemi Ajibola, Azza Eltraify, Li Lei, Nikollao Sulollari and Mansourah Aljohani. The YP’s effort was led by the vice chair, Dr Thaddeus Eze with active support from the chair, Mr Noel Gomes and other YP volunteers (Mr Opeyemi Ajibola, Dr Moises Jezzini and Dr Mortaza Doulaty). All volunteers participated in the planning of the symposium.

The symposium committee also received strong support from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering who facilitated free access to the symposium venues, facilities used at the University of Leeds, and assigned faculty members to act as advisors supporting the symposium planning (Prof Ian Hunter, Prof Mohsen Razavi, and Clair Atkinson). In addition, several faculty members at the University of Leeds including but not limited to Prof Ian Hunter, Prof Peter Jimack, Prof Robert Kelsall, Dr Sarah Fores, Prof Mohsen Razavi Prof Christoph Wälti actively participated in the symposium by giving welcome addresses, keynote talks, workshops and joining the panel discussion session. Eric Hawthorn the Executive Chairman of Radio Design LTD also supported the symposium by giving a keynote talk and attending all session of the symposium. Eric also sponsored drinks for all participants at the networking dinner the concluded the symposium.

The symposium committee were also supported by IEEE UK & Ireland Section. Prof Mike Hinchey (Chair, IEEE UK & Ireland Section) gave a keynote talk at the symposium. During the planning stages the Section also helped with publicity of event through their website and eNotice messages.

The Impact of the Event

The feedbacks from the event attendees were encouraging. Some of the participants hadn’t heard about the IEEE, the University of Leeds IEEE Student Branch and the IEEE YP affinity group before and we seized the opportunity to introduce IEEE and its benefits to a good number of them. By the end of the event, four participants showed interest to join the University of Leeds IEEE Student Branch.

With events like this, we are hoping that more enthusiasts will join our team, as members and volunteers to further our goals and commitment to our members. We hope to build on the success of the second edition of the Postgraduate STEM Research Symposium next year by hosting the third edition of the symposium. Check here for more photos of the YP Postgraduate STEM Research Symposium. The benefits and impacts of the symposium summarised by Prof Jimack here.


The symposium was approved and supported by the IEEE UK and Ireland Section. The symposium secured $400 funding from the Student Professional Awareness Activities (SPAAs) and $1000 from the IEEE Aerospace and System Society (AESS) to support the symposium. The IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) Chapter UK and Ireland sponsored the prizes awarded for best oral and poster presentations with £300. The University of Leeds sponsored an additional award for best poster presentation with £100 and provided material support, including free venue and poster holders.

Report prepared by:

Opeyemi Ajibola (Symposium Secretary and YP Volunteer)

Dr Mustafa Bakr (University of Leeds IEEE Student Branch, Chair)

Dr Thaddeus Eze (IEEE UK & Ireland YP Vice Chair)