Doctoral School Research Poster Competition 2021

Doctoral School Research Poster Competition

The annual Research Poster Competition is organised by the Doctoral School to encourage UCL graduate research students to communicate their research to others and prepare them for presenting their work at conferences.

This year, the Doctoral School Poster Competition allows students to enter their poster in (cross)disciplinary research categories rather than by Faculty/School. The aim is to encourage us to think more broadly about how our research fits in the wider world or how our research might innovatively impact on other research areas.

Please select ONE Theme for your poster entry. These research themes are intentionally overlapping and your project could likely fit under several of the headings, so you are welcome to choose the one that you feel best describes your research topic.

In the list below, the words in orange are UCL Research Domains: these domains each have an Early Career Network associated with them. We highly recommend joining one if you haven’t already. They offer great opportunities for personal and professional development as well as networking.

If you feel we are potentially missing an important cross-disciplinary theme, please suggest it in the free-text box provided in the registration form, for us to consider using in FUTURE years. While these suggestions cannot be used in this year’s competition, we are working towards ensuring that all researchers have access to an Early Career Network they feel included in and inspired by.

THEME 1: Understanding and transforming human societies


· Humanities
· Social Sciences
· Collaborative social science including interaction between the social sciences and the natural and applied sciences, and the humanities

THEME 2: Advances in technology


· eResearch
· Theoretical and applied research using computational and data sciences
· Digital technologies
· AI
· Mathematical sciences

THEME 3: Making our world


· Human-made environments (including Art, Architecture, Design, Manufacturing)
· Physical Sciences (including engineering sciences)

THEME 4: Discovering worlds, improving ours


· Environment (including energy and sustainability)
· Space (including astrophysics, public policy related to space exploration, etc.)

THEME 5: Understanding the mind and behaviour


· Neuroscience (including neurology, psychiatry, mental health/wellbeing, psychology)

THEME 6: Frontiers in health and medicine


· Personalised Medicine (including patient-targeted medicines, therapies)
· Population health and health of the public
· Cancer Studies

THEME 7: Unlocking the secrets of life


· Life sciences and other basic sciences
· Microbiology


To enter the competition you must complete the entry form (link at the bottom of this page) and send us your poster in PDF format before the

DEADLINE: Monday 7 JUNE 2021


£400 First Prize and
one to three £100 Runner-Up Prizes in each Theme depending on number of posters in the Theme.


Your poster should be designed to convey the essence of your research in a clear and eye-catching way, to appeal to colleagues as well as non-specialists.

The ideal poster will:

  • attract viewers/passers-by to stop and take an interest
  • make a good impression
  • enable the viewer to remember key details of your research (what, why, how, who?)
  • encourage viewers to contact you for more information about your research
  • it should be possible for the viewer to absorb the general information in your poster in a short time (up to 3 minutes).

The following information should be cleary visible on your poster:

  • your name
  • your supervisor's name
  • your department.

And finally:

  • your poster's design key elements: logo/banner, fonts, colours should follow the UCL visual identity
  • posters must be submitted in PDF format and can be either portrait or landscape orientation
  • it is the responsibility of entrants to ensure that any images used in their poster are not copyrighted
  • only one poster per person can be submitted.

Banner image: Daniel Hewitt, Chemistry – Research Images Competition 2019/20



Should be meaningful but not complicated. Try not to baffle the readers (especially the non-specialists).
Your display should be visually clear and easy to follow, with a clear description of the aims and method.
Good use of colour is helpful. Even if the majority of the material is in black and white it is important to highlight with colour. However, bear in mind that too much colour can be visually confusing.
Ensure that the general overview of the poster is clear, and that the more detailed information is not too complex.
Demonstrate how your research fits in with the world as a whole, to help viewers relate to it.
Use of analogies
Use an analogy which is easy for the viewer to remember. Relate your problem or its solution to the likely common experience of the viewer.
Make sure the images you use are clear and of good quality.
These must be sharp and relevant to the presentation. Use of colour is encouraged to add emphasis effectively.
Font-style and size
Be consistent in your choice of font style, limiting yourself to one or two. Ensure that the font sizes are legible from 1m viewing distance or on the computer screen – depending on how your poster will be presented.
Text and graphics should be grouped together in relevant and visually stimulating sets.
Layout / flow
Guide the viewer's eye in an orderly way. Ensure that there is a logical path of items to be followed. It may be appropriate to link sections with lines or arrows.


Adding an outer border to your poster, and bordering any sections contained within, generally helps to define your display clearly.
Identify any contributors other than those shown at the top of your display.
Contact point
Provide your contact details to encourage people to find out more about your research.
A concise summary may be useful. This could be done by giving a set of key points.

Try to Avoid

Window pane effect
Straight rows and columns of information are not visually stimulating especially if the size and content of each appears similar, giving a window pane effect. Use a pattern of sections – this need not be regular.
Make sure that enough information is included on the poster. Don't make up for lack of information by using exceptionally large fonts and figures.
Conversely, avoid having so much information that the sections presented are unable to stand apart.
Too much detail
Don't be tempted to include all you know on the subject - remember that the viewer has a limited time to look at your poster.
Irrelevant detail
Try to avoid inappropriate side issues which may detract from the main subject.

Useful links

UCL Visual Identity Overview
UCL brand resources (for the A0 research poster templates please scroll down the page and click 'Download A0 research poster templates', then log in to the UCL Imagestore and finally select landscape or portrait template from the left hand side navigation).

Deadline for entries: Monday 7 JUNE 2021