School: Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Connection to the Academy: Received funding from the INSPIRE programme

Year: 2016-17

INSPIRE Lead: Dr David Collie

Projects:

  • Supported national One-Health Conference for 100 students
  • Hosted Undergraduate Research Symposium

What are the main impacts of INSPIRE?

The funding allowed us to support the national student-led One-Health Conference day in 2016. This was a two day event encompassing a wide range of topics with a range of internationally recognised speakers including Dr Gladys Zikusoka, Professor Nigel Gibbens, Professor Elizabeth Baggs, Professor James Wood and Professor Alain Kohl. The conference brought together around 100 student attendees from a range of courses, including veterinary science, medicine, biomedicine, biology, nursing and agriculture. It created an atmosphere of interdisciplinary awareness and collaboration while exposing undergraduates to groundbreaking research.

We also hosted an Undergraduate Research Symposium, showcasing local research and giving undergraduate and PhD students an opportunity to interact in an informal setting. Talks included:

  • Jayne Hope - Inspiring science for animal health
  • Andy Hepker - Research? But I'm a vet... 
  • Heather Bacon - Vets at the front line of animal welfare research, and 
  • Bruce Whitelaw - The Roslin Institute on your doorstep: what could it offer you?

The symposium also included a PhD exposition, where ten PhD students presented their research to rotating small groups of undergraduates, and a poster session which enabled summer research project students to present posters in a mini-conference setting.

INSPIRE also allowed us to establish a student-led research forum, which has led to a wider awareness of research within the R(D)SVS undergraduate community, and created more opportunities for students to engage with research within the campus.

What are the main learning points to take away from the scheme?

In order for there to be maximum engagement within the undergraduate community there must be dedicated administrative support capable of reaching out to students on a day-to-day basis. Those best placed to provide that support can be found within the teaching organisation.

Undergraduates and postgraduates both benefitted from informal small group sessions whereby postgraduates explained the rationale and early stage results from their research projects. Undergraduates recevied a way to engage with more experienced students, and postgraduates enjoyed the chance to inspire an enthusiastic audience.

First year students have considerable enthusiasm for research engagement, and building the foundations of research awareness should start at this level.

Do you think the INSPIRE Scheme has been successful?

The funding we received from INSPIRE was fundamental to the success of two of our principal activities.

                                                                                                                                                        

For full details of the activities implemented by the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, please visit the INSPIRE activities page.

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