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Postgraduate students' work in the spotlight

Postgraduate research was in the spotlight as DMU’s Graduate School Office hosted its annual poster competition for research degree students.  The contest challenged researchers to present their work on an A1 poster which would communicate their work and its benefits clearly, and attract the attention of a non-academic audience.
 
Some 34 postgraduates entered the competition which was held at The Venue@DMU. The winner was Carlos Mendoza, whose study of ground heat storage aims to find a way of making older homes more energy efficient and slashing household bills.
 
INSET poster winners

Carlos, who is coming to end of his first year of PhD study with Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, said: “I am so pleased to have won. I did not expect it. I put a lot of effort into this poster but I did not expect this.”
 
The impact of the earth energy bank project is potentially huge. Normally, such systems are buried deep underground but Carlos is analysing a far shallower heat exchange system created in a terrace home in Grasmere Street which works in tandem with rooftop solar panels. Energy generated by the solar panels during summer is stored in the earth and released during winter.
 
Early data mapping shows the system could prove viable for people in older properties – traditionally some of the least energy-efficient – by providing a potential way to “retrofit” greener heating systems.

Second prize went to Ekele Ochedia, an Architecture student who examined how three simple factors – aspect, shading, and glazing – could have a significant impact on energy consumption in homes in Nigeria.
 
Ekele, a teacher in Nigeria, noticed many homes had been built without consideration to these factors resulting in homes that were too hot – causing owners to install energy-guzzling air conditioning systems.
 
“There are 60 million generators in Nigeria powering air conditioning and fans, and this shows that passive design can lead to temperature drops and 30% less energy consumption,” he explained.

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Third prize went to Lucy Owen, studying whether essential oils can tackle superbugs. She has been able to isolate compounds from the oils to test them against the major superbugs which are plaguing hospitals.
 
Lucy said: “I’ve just spent time at Cardiff University learning how to use the screening process and the next step is to combine the active compounds with antibiotics.”
 
Fourth prize was awarded to Sasha Loyal for her work on why women from ethnic minorities postpone motherhood and fifth prize went to Hiu-Ling Chen, who examined the positive effects which adult art classes have on the elderly.
 
The peer review prize for best poster was awarded to Ola Khayat, who aims to transform architecture in Jeddah by championing heritage into hotel designs.
 
The poster competition is in its 12th year and is organised by the team in the Graduate School Office. The GSO are the central team which support research students in the university.  
Jo Cooke, Executive Director of Strategic And Academic Services, praised all the PG work on display. She said: “As a university, we are extremely proud of the quality of our research students and the breadth of work we have seen here is testament to their talent.”
Posted on Friday 21st April 2017

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