A poster competition with cash prizes for early-stage researchers

Frequently asked questions

What is meant by early-stage or early-career researchers?

This includes university research students/postgraduates, appropriate MSc students, research assistants, postdocs, research fellows, newly-appointed lecturers, part-time and "mature" students, and those who are embarking on a second career, etc. and their equivalents in national, public sector and industrial laboratories, or companies, all of whom are engaged in scientific, engineering, technological or medical research

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Can non-British nationals apply for the event?

Applicants do not have to be British nationals, but they must be conducting research in the UK

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Can people apply again if they have been selected to attend a previous SfB event?


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Are applications acceptable from joint authors?

A maximum of 2 authors per poster is acceptable but only one of them may present the poster on the day. (Both authors are welcome to attend however).

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What should the abstract cover?

The abstract should indicate the research problem being investigated, why and how it is being investigated (e.g. the techniques being used), the results being obtained and the conclusions reached. The competition is for researchers who have made significant progress into their projects and are obtaining results rather than researchers who are just about to start their projects.

If we receive more applications than there are poster places in any session, the judging panel will make a selection based on the following criteria:

  • Is the submission well written and could it be understood, preferably on first reading, by a lay audience?
  • Did the abstract have a good introduction and did it make clear the contribution of the candidate?
  • How long has the person been working on the project and is the project at too early a stage for submission to SET for Britain?
  • Novelty and/or importance of work.
  • Difficulty and/or complexity of project.

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Can I submit more than 1 abstract?

No, only 1 abstract is allowed per individual application

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How long should the abstract be?

No longer than 1 side of A4. It should include:

  1. Title of Abstract: Type this in BOLD CAPITALS e.g. THE STRUCTURE OF THE ATOM
  2. Name(s) of Presenter and other Authors/Contributors: these should preferably be initials and last name only with the Presenter's name underlined e.g. I. K. Brunel N..
  3. Affiliation and Address: this should be a complete address including post code
  4. Main Text etc: This occupies the rest of the page and can comprise script, graphics, photos etc. Arial 11 point font, left and right hand margins at 2.5 cm
  5. The total Abstract should not occupy more than one side of A4

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Are bibliographic references required at the end of abstracts?

These are not essential

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Can submitted abstracts be altered or edited at a later date?

You can upload new versions of your abstract at any time before the closing date.

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When should reference letters be provided?

A reference letter is an essential part of the application process, and must be submitted at the same time as the application form and abstract

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What aspects should the reference letter cover?

The referee should comment on the applicant's current work (and if appropriate past career), highlighting any achievements of special merit, often with comments about the applicant both personally and as a colleague; quite similar to a job application reference really.

If we receive more applications for any session than there are poster places available, the judging panels will make a selection based upon the abstract, reference letter and the supervisor's recommendation for insight into the candidate's contribution(s).

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Who should provide the reference letter?

Reference letters must be in an official format and come from an easily identified university or organisation address. They usually come from a senior colleague, supervisor, Head of Department, or similar

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Will there be any feedback available if applications are not successful?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications

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When are the actual posters required?

Posters are not required at the time of application; they should only be produced when an applicant has been selected and notified to submit a poster.

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What audience should the posters be targeted at? Should the style of the poster be the same as conventionally used at scientific conferences?

Your poster will be evaluated on the day by a panel of senior academics or experts in your broad subject area so should be aimed at a scientific audience. If selected you should, however, also be prepared to explain your work to non-scientists like some MPs and other visitors to the event (but this is not part of the competition)

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What size and format should the posters be in?

They must be in portrait (not landscape) aspect and fit onto the poster boards (2m high x 0.75m wide) - portrait-format A1 size would be appropriate.

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Can additional equipment or visual aids be taken along on the day in addition to posters?

Space is limited at the venue. We are not able to provide tables, power supplies, etc. Please check before bringing along anything other than a poster

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Can colleagues, supervisors or relatives accompany presenters to the event?

If you would like to bring a guest to the event please contact the organisers with details of who they are and why they would be appropriate for the event

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I cannot submit my abstract without it first being approved by my employer, who cannot clear it before the closing date. What should I do?

Please contact us before the closing date and before submitting your application if you expect your abstract will be delayed because of the need for approval by your employer.

Parliamentary and Scientific Committee
3 Birdcage Walk
London SW1H 9JJ
Fax: 020 7222 7189