Fairbrother Lecture – 14 March 2017

The 2017 Fairbrother Lecture is now open for bookings.

This year’s lecture, taking place on 14 March 2017 (7 pm), will be delivered by Ruth Barnes, a final year doctoral researcher from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences. In her lecture (When Healthy Foods Go Wrong: food poisoning and fresh produce), Ruth will be discussing some of the current issues and challenges in ensuring safety within the food chain. In particular, Ruth will discuss her doctoral research into new methods for controlling food borne organisms. This research aims to help reduce the amount of unwanted bacteria on fresh food cutting the incidence of food poisoning which effects around a million people in the UK every year.

The event will also feature a visual display of other high quality doctoral research.

The Fairbrother Lecture is a University public lecture established in 2014. Named after Jack Fairbrother, who in 1929 became the first student to be awarded a PhD from the University, the Fairbrother Lecture is an annual event at which a current, or recent, Reading doctoral researcher presents their work to a wider audience.

Members of the public, along with members of the University are invited to attend what promises to be a fascinating evening. Booking information is available via the link below.


Venue: Henley Business School, Whiteknights Campus


And now on the Today Programme…

On the 24th November, Meteorology PhD researcher Sammie Buzzard was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.  Here are her thoughts on her appearance on Radio 4’s most popular programme:

“Late in the afternoon, just as I was hoping to finish for the day, I received a call from the University’s Press Office. They needed someone with knowledge about Antarctic sea ice to talk about a colleague’s work on the ‘Today Programme the very next day.

At first I was worried about talking about work that wasn’t my own; I deal with land ice and I didn’t know the details of the study. However, the Press Office assured me that I only needed to give an overview, and thanks to giving the Graduate School’s Fairbrother Lecture earlier this year, I felt confident enough that I would be able to answer general questions about the polar regions.

I had been warned by the Press Office that it would be an early start; I was due to speak at 6:50am. That’s fine, I thought, no-one will know if I’m still in my pyjamas, it’s the radio, I’ll be phoning in.

Shortly after I received a phone call, “they need you to come into the studio, a taxi will come at 5:30”. So much for pyjamas then, but at least a face to face interview would be far easier than over the phone.

Given that I had relatively little time to prepare, I was only really able to read the paper that my colleague had published and review my notes for the Fairbrother Lecture – luckily I had already been prepared for a lot of questions about sea ice so most of the background information was already there.

Arriving at the BBC in what felt like the middle of the night was very odd, to get to the radio area you walk past the main news room you’re used to seeing on the TV, it was quite intimidating. Yet as soon as I was in the studio the presenters were very friendly and put me straight at ease.

The interview itself went by in a flash. Thankfully the questions were quite reasonable (this is never a guarantee when talking about things related to climate change!) and it was a really great experience. Then it was back to Reading on the train and into the office even earlier than I would have made it in on a normal day!”

If you would like to listen, the interview is still available on iPlayer at around 52:30 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b084jqx6

Open Day for AHRC SWW Studentships

On 5 December 2016, the University of Reading will host an Open Day to provide an opportunity for those interested in applying to the AHRC SWW DTP for a PhD studentship to learn more about postgraduate research and training at Reading. It is open to those who were not able to attend the SWW DTP Information Day on the 28 November, as well as to those who wish to visit the University of Reading after that event.

This Open Day will enable attendees to learn more about the AHRC SWW DTP and the University of Reading. It will provide:

  • a workshop on developing and writing an AHRC SWW DTP PhD research proposal and application;
  • an opportunity to meet current SWW DTP students and academic staff, as well as prospective supervisors by prior arrangement by e-mail with them; and
  • a tour of related Departments and facilities.

The event will be held at the Graduate School, University of Reading from 2-4 pm on Monday 5 December 2016. If you wish to attend please contact Dr Wendy Matthews (w.matthews@reading.ac.uk)


For more information on the wide range of Doctoral research and training opportunities and AHRC funded studentships offered by the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership please see the SWW DTP web-site: http://www.sww-ahdtp.ac.uk