News and events

15 Mar 2018

Loughborough Luke wins first prize in RSC Poster Competition Materials category

Loughborough University PhD student Luke Wilkinson has won a prize for his research poster in the Royal Society of Chemistry's #RSCPoster competition.

It is the third year the RSC has hosted the conference which invites participants to submit posters on Twitter showcasing their chemistry research. This year over 1,900 participants from all over the world took part - reaching a global audience of 2,019,127 - and several Loughborough University chemistry doctoral students were among those sharing their posters.

Luke shared his poster "Is My Circuit Board Wet?" and won first prize in the Materials category.

We asked Luke how he ended up participating in the competition.

"I'd been encouraged by my peers within chemistry, telling me that it is good to 'get your research out there'," he told us. "This competition was an ideal opportunity. Despite being in the early stages of my PhD and having little in terms of data and results, I was told to focus more on the wider concept of what I am trying to achieve as the poster competition is not marked on data and results, but your ability to make your work accessible for a wide range of audiences and your interaction with other competitors and the audience of Twitter."

Luke's research explores the development of fluorescent molecules that can be polymerised to form an encapsulation resin, or doped into existing encapsulation resins which can be used in the electronics industry to protect printed circuit boards (PCBs), with the fluorescence being 'turned off' of the resin is damaged by moisture.

"In my masters' year at Loughborough I didn't think I was going to do a PhD," he explained. "But my tutor introduced me to the industrial sponsor and the PhD I eventually was accepted for. In the discussion I had with my sponsor, I decided that I wanted to continue research. While I am a chemist, I am always willing to learn and expand my knowledge and understanding from chemistry research into the wider industrial and consumer applications and implications of research."

The #RSCPoster conference is an online event held entirely over Twitter to bring members of the scientific research community together to share their research, network and engage in scientific debate. During the event entrants tweet an image of a poster summarising their research and then answer questions about their research from over Twitter users. In judging the competition, the RSC's scientific committee selects posters which have stimulated wide interest and feature innovative research, the prizes awarded for content and accessibility, design and researcher engagement.

During the event, Luke was busy fielding questions about his research from around the world. He said:

"It was an amazing experience to be involved in and I would encourage anyone who has any similar opportunity to get involved. I, along with the five other Loughborough University competitors received incredible support from the School of Science, Department of Chemistry and the Doctoral College with all of our research gaining multiple questions, and support in terms of likes and retweets, proving there is a strong research community at Loughborough, and that there is substantial interest from the wider research community in the work we do.

"It felt incredible to win the catagory. Since winning, I have been offered to present the poster and my research an upcoming conference. The experience has also raised questions and introduced new ideas to the project that had not been considered before, so it has allowed me to recognise the importance of the outreach beyond the day to day lab work and has injected a some new ideas into my PhD. I would like to thank the RSC for organising the competition, and everyone at Loughborough, as well as my sponsor Electrolube who supported me in the competition."

You can read more about the results of the #RSCPoster conference on the Royal Society of Chemistry website here:

Check out Luke's poster below: