Dublin 2013 - Doctoral Student Forum


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U21 Health Sciences Doctoral Student Forum: The Potential for Collaborative Research

As part of the U21 Health Sciences Group Annual Meeting in Dublin in September 2013, the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems (SNMHS) carried on the tradition of facilitating a Doctoral Forum. Early discussions within the School identified the potential to extend this forum from Nursing to a broader, more inclusive Health Sciences Doctoral Forum in order to foster inter-disciplinary education and practice. In this context, the title of the Forum was ‘The potential for collaborative research’.  Abstract invitations for Forum participation were issued to all of the U21 network. A total of 30 students presented their doctoral studies work and integrated reflections on how their work had the potential for inter-disciplinary collaboration. Students represented the following universities: University College Dublin, Lund University, University of Melbourne, University of British Columbia, University of Nottingham, University of Connecticut, University of Singapore, Fudan University and Korea University. The Forum also had a range of disciplinary presentations from nursing, midwifery, psychology, public health, obstetrics and gynaecology, pharmacy, classics, equality studies, physiotherapy, medicine and medical science and environmental health. This resulted in a total of six doctoral presentation sessions being convened over the 2nd and 3rd of September.

The Forum was held in the new UCD Charles Institute, with a welcome address from the Dean and Head of SNMHS, Dr. Martin McNamara. Following this, Professor Cecily Kelleher, Head of School, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science presented important insights into the practice of inter-professional research collaboration, giving tangible examples within UCD. During the first day, Dr. Barbara Coughlan from the SNMHS also delivered an overview of issues pertaining to pursuing doctoral level studies. The key note speaker at the Forum was Professor Ian Norman, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London. As the editor of one of the highest ranking nursing journals globally, the International Journal of Nursing Studies, Professor Norman spoke of issues related to submitting journal articles for publications. The presentation gave students important insights into practical issues pertaining to being successful in publication, particularly in relation to articulating a unique argument and developing good writing styles.

The U21 Doctoral Forum also incorporated a social dimension. Doctoral students were invited to a number of events within the social calendar of the U21 Health Sciences Group Annual Meeting, but were also invited to a specially organized Irish traditional night, which was well received. The overall feedback has been extremely positive for the Doctoral Forum itself but also in the context of the facilitation of education, information exchange, research and practice networks, which represent the primary ethos of the U21 network.

Dr. Amanda Phelan
U21 HS Doctoral Student Forum Organiser
UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems