University Graduate School events

The University Graduate School is committed to supporting and creating a vibrant postgraduate community where each researcher can access valuable opportunities to develop transferable skills for future careers and gain the most from their time at the University of Birmingham. 

As part of this commitment, we offer a variety of academic, social and wellbeing activities and encourage our researchers to be actively involved in the organisation of these activities. Some of our regular postgraduate researcher events are:

Research Poster Conference

The Annual Research Poster Conference is the flagship event for the University Graduate School. Postgraduate researchers from across the University come together in the Great Hall of the Aston Webb Building to present their research to fellow researchers, a panel of judges and members of the public. The conference celebrates the significant contribution that our postgraduate researchers make to the academic life of the University.  Participating in the conference gives our postgraduate researchers the opportunity to share their research with the wider community at the University of Birmingham and get valuable feedback. Participating in the conference enhances the following skills: preparing research posters, effective presentation skills, communicating research to a non-specialist audience and networking skills. 



Three Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland, in which doctoral researchers have just three minutes to deliver an engaging presentation on their thesis topic, its originality and its significance.

In the UK, the 3MT national competition final is hosted by Vitae. Individual UK universities run their own competitions, to put forward one winner per participating Institution. The University of Birmingham is one of the Institutions participating in the 3MT competition. Participating in the Three Minute Thesis competition enhances the following skills: effective presentation skills and communicating research to a non-specialist audience.

Read more about Birmingham's Three Minute Thesis competition.

Marliyyah Mahmood

Postgraduate Researcher, Life and Environmental Sciences

“There is lots of support and brilliant opportunities for PGRs like the Three Minute Thesis competition which has certainly helped my communication and presentation skills and uplifted my confidence”

The Images of Research Exhibition

Can you capture your entire research project in a single image? The University Graduate School presents this challenge to our postgraduate researchers every year and the images we receive represent the exciting research projects our postgraduate researchers are working on at the University of Birmingham.

Visit our Images of Research pages to see a selection of images from the past few years, all of which show the diversity and striking imagery of often very complex research.

The Images of Research catalogue shows the amazing entries we received from our postgraduate researchers in 2018. Participating in the Images of Research enhances the following skills: creativity, public engagement and impact; and provides an opportunity for postgraduate researchers to raise their research profile across the University. 

Events at Westmere

We organise regular academic, social and networking events at Westmere such as Shut up and Work, Research Across Campus, PhD Chat, and wellbeing activities such as Yoga. These activities give our postgraduate researchers the opportunity to meet fellow researchers and members of staff from across different disciplines; develop and practise skills for personal effectiveness (e.g. self-management, professional and career development and personal qualities) and engagement, influence and impact (e.g. communication and working with others).  


yoga2 Our postgraduate researchers also have access to support in developing their own events and activities through the Westmere Scholarships and the peer-led events programme.  The University Graduate School offers annual Westmere Scholarships (£5000 per year) to five postgraduate researchers, one from each College, to organise social and networking events for the postgraduate researcher community. We also provide funding and support for peer-led engagement activities throughout the year. These activities can include academic seminars, workshops, social networking events and cultural activities.

Postgraduate Researcher Awards

At the University of Birmingham we recognise the great contribution our postgraduate researchers and their supervisors make to the academic life at the University. Every year we recognise this contribution and present awards in a number of categories, including the prestigious Michael K. O'Rourke prize for best PhD publication, which recognises outstanding publications by University of Birmingham PhD researchers.

The Awards for Excellence in Doctoral Research Supervision recognise the important role that supervisors have in helping a PhD researcher to completion. More details can be found at the above link on how to nominate your supervisor for this award.

For more information about the events and support available for postgraduate researchers at the University Graduate School (UGS), please see the UGS intranet or contact us at