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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 academics in the early years of their first appointment, 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.

2024 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 December 2024 and will be in person at Collingwood College and is free to attend. Find out more here. 


Workshop with Durham Spray Paints

A group of Department of Physics Postdoctoral researchers and PhD students took part in a spray paint workshop. The workshop was led by Lewis Hobson from Durham Spray Paints, who they were introduced to through the BSI's Seed scheme. This led to the creation of new artworks for the "boring corridor" in Physics (see below) and a new mural for the Department of Physics is being planned. 

Artworks by Durham ECR in Physics


Thesis Prize

The 2023 Thesis Prize was awarded to Katy Cornish (Department of Chemistry).  Her thesis “Fantastic proteins and where to find them” was selected by a panel of BSI members after being nominated by his PhD supervisor Prof. Ehmke Pohl (Department of Chemistry and Biosciences). The image below shows sampling of proteins from a geyser in Iceland, one of a number of extreme conditions. Find out more about this research and the wider Virus X Consortium project on our Chemical Biology pages.  

Cameraman Terry Winn at Euro News shooting a TV documentary about the Virus-X project.


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.