Ben LewisBen Lewis is a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry.

What was it like preparing for, and talking at, the annual FoNS Research Showcase?

We're all still getting used to speaking at virtual events and I still find it a bit challenging. I much prefer being able to see people's responses in a room rather than just talking at my laptop! This has been a busy summer of presenting this work, though, and the continual feedback and opportunities for development have been vital to me polishing this talk and feeling confident delivering it.

Why are opportunities like this important?

I think we all feel like we exist in silos. Getting out and seeing everything else that's going on around us, whether in the College or beyond, can be energising and thought-provoking. As someone working across disciplines, I am keenly aware of the potential for great work to come from collaborations of researchers who would otherwise never meet if they were to just stick to their own departments and fields!

Got any helpful advice for fellow students about giving an academic talk?

Especially for a broad audience, such as at a faculty-wide event, I was always told to treat your audience as highly intelligent but knowing nothing about your area of research! That definitely helps guide me in how to best explain the concepts involved. Most of all, though, the best piece of advice is to present more often - it's only through experience that these presentations really get easier!

View other student profiles from the 2020 Research Showcase

Find out more about the 2020 Research Showcase

Day One

Chemistry and Life Sciences

Day Two

Centre for Environmental Policy, Mathematics, Physics


The Showcase includes a competition for the best speakers and posters: congratulations to the prizewinners!