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Festival of Early Stage Researchers (FESR)

Connect. Appreciate. Celebrate.

FESR 2024


FESR 2024 is here!

7 - 10 May
Explore, network and celebrate with your community.

The annual Festival of Early Stage Researchers (FESR) celebrates the invaluable contribution UCL’s early stage researcher community makes towards research and innovation.

Calling all doctoral researchers and early-career academic and research staff. You are invited to take part in FESR 2024 between 7 – 10 May. Co-designed by doctoral and early career researchers, FESR 2024 focuses on the theme of community. The exciting festival programme includes interactive workshops, expert panels, networking opportunities and the community celebration. Join the festivities and enhance your professional and personal skill sets, prepare for career next steps, share experiences, and build your cross-disciplinary connections.

You can review the full FESR 2024 Programme below and book your place via Eventbrite. Day tickets are available unless otherwise specified. 

FESR 2024 Programme:

Get ready for FESR: Tuesday 30 April

There will be lots of opportunities to network as part of FESR 2024, join this preparatory in-person workshop and feel more confident in your networking skill set.

Networking Skills with UCL Careers  
11.30 – 13.30
Appreciate the benefits of networking, understand different types of connections and the value they can bring and identify ways to grow your network and strengthen your existing connections.

Register now: Inkpath | MyLearning

FESR 2024 | Day 1: Tuesday 7 May

Joins us on campus for a journey of discovery through interactive workshops and networking opportunities focussed on collaboration.

Building Blocks for Collaboration: Supported by UCL Grand Challenges and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Initiative 
10:00 – 13:00
Using the highly creative method of Lego Serious Play, foster inclusivity and appreciation for diverse perspectives within interdisciplinary teams, establishing effective collaboration practices for continued impact beyond the workshop.

Networking lunch with PhDConnect
13:00 – 14:30
Discover how to get involved with PhDConnect, an initiative founded in the Bartlett Faculty to promote engagement with collaboration between people, space and services.

UCL Co-Production Collective explore ‘what is co-production?’
14:30  – 16:30
Join members of the UCL Co-Production Collective to get to grips with the key concepts involved in co-production and you how you can apply these techniques to your work. 

FESR 2024 | Day 2: Wednesday 8 May

A jam-packed online programme to enhance your research skills delivered through expert panels and following interactive grant pitching workshop (ticketed separately).

Lab Leader Live 6: Performing well by keeping well
10:00 – 11:00
Join a panel of leading researchers and experts in mental wellbeing to explore the ubiquitous stress factors of academic careers, discussing effective coping mechanisms and support and resources available to manage these stressors. 

UCL Writing Lab: Writing for the public
11:30 – 13:00
Join an esteemed panel of writers and an editor to explore how to transform your research into compelling narratives tailored for public audiences, find platforms through which to reach them, and craft your scholarly work to reach beyond the academy.

UCL Research Coordination and Facilitation: Applying for fellowships and grants
13:30 – 14:30
Hear from UCL’s Research Coordination and Facilitation teams for a comprehensive outline of the support they can provide, and hints and tips for applying for research fellowships and grants.

Top tips for grant writing with Prof Jo Van Herwegen (ticketed separately)
15:00 – 17:00
Take part in an interactive workshop facilitated by Prof Jo Van Herwegen to discuss common mistakes and short comings found in grant proposals, plus top tips on what reviewers might look for. Please come prepared with a concrete project idea and potential funding source.

FESR 2024 | Day 3: Thursday 9 May

Community Celebration: Working with others
Join fellow doctoral and early career researchers on campus, as they share their experiences of successful collaboration, community building and wellbeing initiatives through a series of talks, posters and interactive workshops. Continue the festivities at the FESR after-party hosted in the Grant Museum of Zoology (ticketed separately).

Community Celebration Part 1
9:30 – 12:30
Opened by Prof David Bogle, Pro-Vice-Provost (Doctoral School & ECR Staff), be inspired by members of the researcher community as they share experiences of developing collaborations with partners and organisations across different sectors. Discover how these partnerships benefited their research and personal and professional development.

Networking lunch with matching by AI
12.30 – 13.30
Take part in a networking event where you will be matched AI based on your UCL profile. Don’t forget to update your UCL profile ahead of the event!

Community Celebration Part 2
13.30 – 16.30
Find out how doctoral and early career researchers approach wellbeing and community building initiatives and how these enhanced their personal and professional lives. Take part in associated discussions and share your own experiences.

FESR after party at the Grant Museum of Zoology (ticketed separately)
17.30 – 20.00
Relax and continue the festivities in the fabulous surroundings of the Grant Museum, mingle with colleagues, investigate the museum exhibits and take part in a scavenger hunt with a chance to win a fab prize!

FESR 2024 | Day 4: Friday 10 May

FESR Hackathon with UCL Innovation and Enterprise: Utilise AI to address real world problems. 
09.00 – 17.00

Round off the festival with our in-person FESR hackathon, an opportunity to work collaboratively with fellow researchers to combine your knowledge and develop innovative solutions which implement AI to address real world problems.

Develop your entrepreneurial mindset during this full day hackathon, using your research knowledge to develop an idea for a new product or service. 

Register now! 


 FESR 2024 Planning Commitee

The committee, which includes doctoral researchers and academic and research staff representatives, are currently supporting the Academic and Researcher Experience Team with festival planning. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch via rx.general@ucl.ac.uk.

Planning Commitee Members
Nsilo BerryProf Jill Norman
Dr Vera BussNatalia Rojas
Dr Abbie ChapmanDr Smita Salunke
Emma DhirMimi Swehli
Nadiia DobrianskaLucy Todd
Geoff DunkDr Lucy van Dorp
Yasmin Garcia SterlingProf Jo Van Herwegen
Yi Jie (E'Jane) LiProf Steve Wilson
Cassius MorrisonFuna Ye