ECR Winter School 2019

I attended the ECR Winter School 2019 organised by the UKCCSRC from the 12th – 14th of February 2019. It took place in Halifax Hall in Sheffield and fortunately for me I live in Sheffield. I did not know what to expect as I have never been to this type of event, but I did know that I would be meeting lots of research students.

On day 1, we had a few guest speakers talk to us about energy trends over the last year and bio-energy with CCS (BECCS). I was really interested in the BECCS talk because my research project adopts this approach. Also, there was a talk about careers with a doctoral degree. I definitely would not forget that one because I was shocked when we were told it takes an average of 12 months to secure a job. The afternoon was full of presentations by first year PhD students giving us an idea of their research and the novelty. I am a second-year student, so I took part in the poster presentation in the morning on day 2 and one of the judges gave me an idea for the scale of my project which I am really grateful for. The remaining part of day 2 was filled with presentations mostly from 3rd and 4th year PhD students talking about the research they have done so far. There was also a speaker who talked about the chance for CCS deployment and the research with brown coal in Australia. All these presentations gave an insight into the work that is currently being carried out to bring CCS to reality on a large scale.

My best part of this programme was the group task we had to do. At the end of day 1 and day 2, we had a group task to decarbonise different sectors by 2050. My group got the manufacturing plastics sector. It had been so long since I was involved in a technical group task and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me on why I decided to do a PhD. I love to perform research and it was no different in this case. I learnt about the PESTLE (Policy, Environmental, Social, Technical, Legal and Economic) approach and will certainly be applying this in my project. There was not much time to practice our presentation so the first time I gave my part of the presentation was in front of the audience. I did not know I was nervous until I finished and realised that I had only said half of my intended points, but I think I handled my question really well. So, this was a chance to practice my oral presentation skills in an audience different from my every Tuesday research group meeting at the University.

It was interesting experience overall, being made aware of the trends, technology and methods currently being researched. I definitely built on some transferrable skills here, gained more knowledge and of course more contacts. I managed to remember to take one or two pictures; I really need to remember next time. I look forward to attending more of this.