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Faculty of Science

Rising Stars Research Symposium

The Rising Stars Research Symposium, founded in 2011, is the Faculty of Science's student research conference, celebrating excellence and originality amongst the University's undergraduate scientists.

Seminars and posters are given by outstanding final-year undergraduate students from each of the schools and departments within the faculty. These usually include work undertaken as part of their final-year research project.

The event concludes with a reception for all attendees hosted by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Christopher Higgins.

Awards are presented to the participants at the reception. These include the Bill Bryson Award for Communication in Science, to the outstanding speaker on the day, and an award for the best poster, as well as popular prizes voted for by the audience.

The Rochester Prize, awarded annually to a top-performing first year student, is also be presented at the event.

In addition, first year science students who have been awarded a BP STEM Scholarship are also acknowledged at the Symposium.

The most recent Rising Stars Symposium took place in the Calman Learning Centre on June 20th 2013.

Prize Winners

The Bill Bryson Prize for Communication in Science

This prize is awarded to the outstanding speaker at the Rising Stars Symposium, as judged by the Faculty Officers. It includes copies of Seeing Further and A Brief History of Nearly Everything signed by the author, the University's former Chancellor Bill Bryson, who retired from this position in the year of the first symposium.


Iain Smears

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Optimal Control Problems and Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman Equations


Robert Bettles

Department of Physics

Light-Atom Interactions in the Strong Focussing Limit


Benjamin Flint

Department of Earth Sciences

Determining the Cause of Macroalgal Mats on Seal Sands

Prize for the best Rising Stars Poster


Sarah Robins

School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

New Role for the Reaction-Diffusion Model


Sophie Scott

Department of Chemistry

Applications of Graphene: The Graphene Dream

Audience Choice Prize for the best Rising Stars Presentation


Waheed Arshad

School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Bioacoustic Monitoring: Automatically Identifying Avian Biodiversity in Woodlands