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Early Career Researchers Network

We are an inclusive community who focus on collaboration over competition. We celebrate the research and discoveries of our network from Masters students through to Fellows and are enthusiastic about finding new ways to communicate our research.

Our Activities

The BSI ECR run a programme of events and activities through the year including pub quizzes, symposia, competitions and seminars. For upcoming events please see below.

Biophysics Symposium: Provides an opportunity for ECRs working in research into interdisciplinary biosciences research to get together and to share their research. Our next symposium will be held in January 2023 and will be in person at University College and is free to attend. Find out more here. 


Thesis Prize

The 2021 Thesis Prize will be awarded to Lucas Rudden (Department of Physics).  His thesis “The Impact of Dynamics in Protein Assembly” was selected by a panel of BSI members after being nominated by his PhD supervisor Matteo Degiacomi (Department of Physics).  Lucas, was Matteo’s first Phd student and he said that he has shown “extraordinary levels of creativity, independence and dedication” and added that he will be sad to see him leave.  Lucas will move onto a PDRA with Prof. Patrick Barth at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne, Switzerland in May 2021.

There will be a short talk on Lucas’s research later in the year. This will be announced soon on the BSI Event pages and through the twitter handle @Durham_BSI.


Earlier in the year we laid down a Twitter Haiku challenge - can you write down the most important part of your research as a haiku? We wanted to make people think about the main message of their work, to capture the essence of their research.  We were blown away by the responses from the budding poets and from the judges: poet Dr Katharine Goda, Prof. Tom McLeish FRS (University of York), Prof Masao Imaseki (Durham University).

The winning haikus covered topics from astrophysics to the author's personal growth through the PhD journey. One of the winners' haiku's is shown below (Cian Rynne, Durham Biosciences) and all three can be read in full in this news story or found at #Haikumyresearch.

#Haikumyresearch winning entry

BSI #LOOminaries

We took up the challenge laid down by Professor Lorna Dougan (Astbury Centre, University of Leeds) to transform toilet roll tubes into the scientists who inspire us. The scientists immortalized in loo-roll form included Margarita Staykova, Judith Howard, Eva Crane and Steven Cobb.

See our LOOminaries at the link:

Early Career Symposium

Our very first research symposium was held at the end of July 2020. The symposium was held virtually and attracted more than 50 participants from 45 different institutions (13 different countries and 3 continents!). It was an amazing end to our first year of events and a offered a taste of what is yet to come.

To mark the occasion the 2020 ECR Symposium’s keynote talk was the Howard Prize Lecture. This was given by Professor Silvia Marchesan (University of Trieste) and was an amazing talk entitled “Heterochiral Peptide Assembly: Entry in Wonderland through the Looking-Glass” an Alice in Wonderland themed journey through peptide chemistry.