Find out what life is really like at Durham University


Rising Stars Research Symposium

The Research Symposium is an opportunity for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science to present their research projects as effectively and accessibly as possible to a broad audience. It provides a great way for our undergraduate students from across the Faculty to showcase the future of scientific thinking and discovery.

Engineering student Rebecca discusses her research project ‘An Investigation of the Wind Environment Generated Around Bridgewater Place’, which won ‘The Bill Bryson Prize for Communication in Science’ and also ‘The Audience Choice Award for Best Presentation’, an award voted for by the audience in recognition of their favourite presentation and poster.

My research project

The highlights of my course have definitely been the multiple opportunities to carry out student led project work both in a team and individually. On the course we have to carry out team design projects in the first three years which are not only fantastic experience for the real world of work, but also give you the opportunity to work on something that you have come up with and invested in yourself. The project truly is your own and you can really focus on what interests you. Similarly the research project in fourth year affords you the chance to pick an area you’re really interested in and take it any direction you like. When I started my project there were a few different avenues to explore, but I focused in on the one I was particularly interested in and, as a result, it’s been one of my most enjoyable experiences at University.

I really think that the project sets you up to work as an engineer in a company. In the real world you won’t always get a full set of guidelines, questions and tutorials to come to the correct conclusion! Engineering is all about being given a problem and solving it for yourself in the most efficient manner. The research project really helps you to develop that skill.

Rebecca presenting2

Rebecca won the Bill Bryson Prize for Communication in Science and the Audience Choice Award for Best Presentation

Research-led education

As I’ve already said, learning to take the lead on your own project is a very useful skill. But I would also say that research-led teaching has helped me improve my ability to self-learn. The coding base that I was using in my project is not well used at the university, especially not for the kind of simulation I was running. A lot of the learning had to be done myself through online documentation, trial and error, and shear perseverance! I’ve gone from never having used the software before to being able to run a full scale city simulation and I think that’s just proved to me what I can achieve when I set my mind to it.

Read more about the Rising Stars Research Symposium.

Rebecca Madden will be graduating from the MEng in General Engineering, with a specialism in aeronautical engineering. Rebecca will be joining Jaguar Land Rover as part of the aerodynamics team.


Marketing Team

Sign up to our Mailing List