Here we go!

After almost three months of meetings, numerous discussions and a lot of hard work, it is time to officially write a few words about the origins, mission and vision of the Irish Postgraduate Research Conference or IPRC, which will have its first edition on the 8th and 9th November this year.

Like many things, it all started with an idea (not original here!).

Many colleges hold their own postgraduate research conferences, with examples such as the ones in Trinity College Dublin or Limerick with many years of experience and success. However, most of them are always college based and usually include a program composed of specialist sessions, where discipline groups of delegates attend a conference to present their work as if they attended one of their lab meetings or a field-specific conference. Despite having delegates from various disciplines at the same event, the concept of interdisciplinary was often not positively achieved.

Additionally, in the recent years, a boom of science, or more generally, research communication events such as Thesis in Three, Tell it Straight, PubhD or FameLab has brought forward the concept of bringing research to the public as an essential part of our jobs as a researcher. From a training perspective, all those events aim to provide a practising ground for researchers to deliver their talks to a broader audience as a way to give back to acknowledge the right of the public to know what their tax money is paying for, with lots of funding being public. Also, concepts such as Citizens Science, are proving to prove that research can benefit from including other people than the actual specialists and that the researchers can in many cases get something back from sharing their work in those fora.

Mixing the two above concepts, IPRC was born – a space for postgrads all over Ireland (and abroad!) to share their research in a (less and less) unconventional way – using layman’s terms and targeting a non-specialist but smart audience. The IPRC team is envisaging a conference in which participants come ready to share the research to peers in a way that it could also be shared to their friends or relatives, while they will benefit from those non-specialist peers input to improve their skills and enrich them both personally and professionally. Note that it is not an easy task! It is tough to make research accessible to everybody without falling into the trap to oversimplify. We hope that the coming new generations of researchers who are currently in their early stages accept the challenge.

So far, we believe we are on the right track! After closing our call of abstracts last on Sunday, we can already see that IPRC will highlight a broad variety of topics and from a very diverse set of institution all over the country and beyond. Our review process will be tough!