phd students presenting posters

PhD Summer Showcase 2023 | Thursday 13 July 2023 | 11:00-16:00 | Queens Tower Rooms - South Kensington

This annual event is organised by the Graduate School to celebrate the research being carried out by our PhD community.

The challenge for this year's competition was for students to communicate their research to a lay audience. This was assessed across two stages – firstly a video presentation or poster to be submitted in advance and then via a three-minute presentation at our in-person Showcase event.  

Our team of official judges assessed each video presentation or poster for its visual impact and content. Then at the in-person Showcase event, competitors were assessed on their ability to explain their research in a way that can be shared with the general public. 

Prizes were awarded for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place based on the judges scores and a People's Choice Prize was also awarded to the contestant receiving the most votes from visitors to the Showcase event.

Prize Winners 2023

We are delighted to announce the results of the PhD Summer Showcase 2023 are as follows:

1st Prize

Hendrik Beck, Department of Bioengineering - A planar omnidirectional treadmill to study insect locomotion (Entry No: BIO 4)

2nd Prize

Theo Glashier, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering - Smart Infrastructure: How can structural data help minimise downtime? (Entry No: CIV ENG 16)

3rd Prize

Adam Whitehouse, Department of Aeronautics - Learning from Nature to Transform Composite Structures into Tough Boxing Champions of the World (Entry No: AERO 1)

People's Choice Prize

Hsuan-Yi Li, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering - Unsupervised winter wheat mapping based on multi-spectral and synthetic aperture radar observations [pdf]  (Entry No: CIV ENG 15)

We would like to extend our thanks to all of the contestants, the judges and to everyone who voted for their favourite entry via the People's Choice award.

Competition info

Eligibility & Competition Rules

  • The competition is open to all current Imperial College PhD students. 
  • There are two mandatory stages to the competition – participants must submit either a research poster or three-minute video presentation in advance and must also be available to attend our in-person Showcase event on Thursday 13 July 2023

Stage 1 - Video Presentation or Poster (submission deadline: Monday 12 June 2023)

Entrants are required to communicate their research to a lay audience via one of the following options:

1. A three-minute video presentation with voice-over narration. 
Entrants are encouraged to use images, animations and other visual effects in their video presentation.

2. A research poster
This should be designed to convey the essence of the research in a clear and eye-catching way.

Posters and video presentation entries will be assessed by our judging team against the following categories: 'Visual Impact' and 'Content(see below for more detailed criteria)

All video and poster entries will be uploaded to the Graduate School's website and will be available for public viewing in the week leading up to the event. 

Stage 2 - In-Person Showcase Event (Thursday 13 July 2023)

Entrants are also required to present their research at our in-person Showcase event on Thursday 13 July 2023 in the Queens Tower Rooms, Sherfield Building.

  • All entrants will be allocated a 100cm wide x 100cm high poster board. 
  • Entrants can use their poster board to display anything that will assist them in communicating their research. This could be a research poster, a selection of images/artwork or any other visual aids; feel free to be creative! 
  • Entrants will be responsible for printing & displaying their visual aids on their poster boards (the boards are material covered so Velcro tabs will be provided). 
  • All entrants will be assessed by a selection of judges which will include Imperial staff and students (full details to be confirmed). 
  • Entrants will be asked to present their research individually to each judge; the pitch must not exceed three minutes and must be aimed at a layperson. 
  • Entrants will be judged solely on how well they communicate their research and in particular their ability to explain it in a way that can be shared with the general public (see the 'public engagement' category in the below judging criteria)
  • Entrants will be allocated to one of two judging slots: Morning: 11:00-12:00 or Afternoon: 13:30-14:30. 

All competitors should also be available to attend the Reception and Prize Giving Ceremony in the Queen’s Tower Rooms between 15:00-16:00Refreshments will be provided at the reception. 

Judging Criteria

Video Presentations and Posters will be judged on the ‘Visual Impact’ and ‘Content’ categories below. The in-person Showcase presentations will only be judged against the 'Public Engagement' category. 

CategoryConsiderationsMaximum Score


(Videos & Posters only) 

  • Clarity - presentation of content is clear, organised and has an appropriate amount of information that highlights key points. 
  • Use of images, graphics & text – do they enhance or detract from the video or poster? 
  • Visual appeal is the poster/video eye catching? Good use of colour etc to highlight key messages? 
  • Originality - Does the poster/video stand out? Is it creative with its use of visual aids? 
 5 pts


(Videos & Posters only)

  • Organisation - does the poster or video follow a clear and logical sequence? e.g. introduction, aims & conclusion
  • Narrative - Is the research communicated in a language appropriate to a lay audience?
 5 pts


(In-Person Showcase Presentations only) 

  • Ability to explain clearly & concisely - Was the presentation easy to follow and understand? Did the presenter explain any jargon? e.g. technical/non-technical terms? 
  • Pitched appropriately - Was the research communicated in a language appropriate to a lay audience? 
  • Important points coveredDid you understand what the important parts of the research are? Did the presentation emphasise the main points? 
  • Engaging – Did the presenter convey enthusiasm/passion for their research? Did the presentation hold your attention for the duration? Were you curious to find out more? 
 10 pts