Showcase at the Forum lifts lid on UEA research in Norwich

From investigating the intricacies of eye transplants, to dissecting the popularity of the modern bromantic comedy – a postgraduate showcase at the Forum today lifted the lid on research at the University of East Anglia.

Researchers explained their work to the public through a series of quickfire 10-minute presentations, informal cafe-style discussions and poster displays.

Topics ranged from US race relations since Barack Obama's election to the Norfolk landscape in the Second World War, touching on medicine, film, nutrition, space exploration and medieval angelic song in between.

More than 40 students presented posters, with 10 also giving 'pecha kucha' talks in which they have 20 slides and 20 seconds to explain each of them.

Dr Sara Connolly, associate dean for postgraduate research in the social sciences, said the showcase was a chance to demonstrate the real-world applications of their research, much of which is publicly-funded.

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She said: 'It's a really terrific opportunity for students, and encourages them to think about how they communicate the core of their research.

'They have to use new techniques and creative ways of explaining their research to the public, whether that be through the cafe conversations or their presentations.

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'It also allows us to show the breadth of research we undertake, and its implications for the public – whether that be finding out if you are being ripped off by a cartel, or investigating the slasher movie genre.'

Final-year PhD students Andrew Osbourne, 25, presented research on a new technique to remove the retina from an organ donor's eye after death, and how it can be used to develop preventative treatments.

'Usually we are explaining to people with a scientific background, so it's a bit of a change the way we present,' he said.

'But it's a great chance to get feedback and also find out how the work we are doing is benefiting people.'

He also brought information on organ donation and transplant, in the hope of alerting people to the importance of donors in medical research.

'For example, although parts of the eye are used for transplant, the remaining eye globes can be used for research, helping us to understand and treat currently incurable diseases, and advancing our medical understanding of visual loss.'

Philippa Parnell, a second-year PhD student, displayed a poster explaining her research into the wave of Hollywood 'bromantic' comedies focusing on male friendship.

History PhD student Stephen Nunn presented his findings on the effect of the Second World War in Norfolk, documenting how airfields, defences and training areas changed the county's landscape for ever.

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