Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) research project from last summer at the British Conference for Undergraduate Research (BCUR) held at the University of South Wales. BCUR is an amazing platform for students looking not only to disseminate their undergraduate research but also learn a great deal about research work being done from all over the world.
As engineering leaders, many of us are often faced with the difficult decision of having to pick career paths between research and industry. Last summer, when I decided to do a 10-week SURE research placement, I never thought my work would get me this far. There are many misconceptions about research, and attending the BCUR conference definitely put them to rest for me in my mind once and for all. So, here are the top 3 things I learned about research and the importance of attending events such as conferences which cater to the dissemination of research work.
1. Research work is so diverse!
And all this taught me was that the scope of research is infinite. It can be on whatever you want it to be on.
2. Research work is an incredible networking opportunity!
Wanting to follow up further on someone’s research was also an excellent way to kick-start conversation. With so many like-minded individuals, all passionate to learn, striking up a conversation was very easy. Furthermore, it became a great source of ideas for future research topics as well as collaborations!
3. Research work leaves you inspired, motivated, and wanting to give back!
The research work presented at BCUR ranged from 6-week summer placements to independent research projects and final year dissertations. Everyone was at different stages in their career in terms of what they wanted to do and where they saw themselves in the future. Nonetheless, the stories everyone had to offer were unique and nothing short of inspiring and motivating. Studies from all over the world, very different and yet all so relevant, really set the scene for the breadth and importance of research projects. It is a collaborative and fulfilling experience.
I would definitely recommend attending more research conferences where possible, or even better, submitting your work and being invited to present your research.