Our student conclave, held every summer, is a vibrant celebration bringing together our entire student base, directors, industrial partners and support network (usually!) under one roof. This event is an opportunity for our student base to present their research highlights over the past 12 months, for our academic colleagues to convey their latest research achievements, and for our industrial stakeholders to discuss the landscape, business challenges, and what they might be looking for in new talent over the next few years.
However, unsurprisingly, 2020's Summer Conclave went virtual!
Host: Dr Fatima Gunning, Tyndall National Institute
Winter School 2020
In January 2020, we kicked off our first ever annual Winter School, which was hosted by PIADS partner IPIC, and held at Tyndall National Institute in Cork.
The motivation of delivering this annual event was to provide opportunity to both identify and develop the key skills which support our students to be well rounded researchers. We are acutely aware that not only should our graduates be academically brilliant, but that person skills such as effective communication with peers, self-management, resilience, being quick to adapt, and being able to learn from mistakes, are all key skills that make a brilliant scientist.
The Winter School provided a rich training programme which spanned commercialisation, entrepreneurship, research outputs, and careers discussions, whilst also tapping in to the benefits gained from public engagement.
The day was opened by Prof Paul Townsend, Director of IPIC, and the first session on 'An Introduction to the Personal Development Plan (PDP)' was delivered by Dr Patrick Morrissey, Head of Photonics Operations, IPIC.
In his session, Patrick communicated the importance of the PDP and encouraged students to engage with both personal feedback and reflective practice, in order to identify development needs and effectively evidence their personal development in order to facilitate transition in to employment.
Dr Morrissey reinforced that the PDP aims to encourage all students to become more proactive in their development throughout their studies, and to appreciate that they offer more to a potential employer than a knowledge base in photonics.
CDT PIADS held its fourth annual Conclave on 17-18th of June at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast. This conference attracted over 100 attendees – the biggest gathering for CDT PIADS’ extended network to date.
The meeting was vibrant, with representation from existing industry partners and networks, key CDT academics and the CDT cohort as a whole. Prof David Cumming, Head of the James Watt School of Engineering was also present, helping to mark a pivotal turning point in Conclave 2019, as the CDT begins its second lifetime. CDT PIADS hosted established partners Seagate Technology, CST Global, Causeway Sensors, Eblana Photonics, Technology Scotland, Axenic, Yelo, Andor and IPIC.
Prof Rachel Oliver, University of Cambridge, delivered an exceptional keynote address on the first day, covering her research interests including GaN-based single-photon sources. Prof Paul Townsend, Director of IPIC gave an overview of activity at IPIC on the second day, highlighting future collaborations as a new CDT partner. Additionally, CEO of Technology Scotland, Stephen Taylor chaired an engaging panel discussion session on "Photonics as a Key Enabling Technology", joined by Prof Oliver, CST Global's Adam McKenzie and IPIC's Dr William Whelan-Curtin.
The conference attracted sponsorship from the Seagate Technology who are celebrating 25 years in Springtown, Northern Ireland who were able to present student poster and talk prizes in the form of the latest1TB Seagate external disc drives on the market.
CDT PIADS ‘Conclave 2019’: A gathering of new and current CDT students, academics, industrial representatives and networks