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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

MICRA hosts international student conference

20 May 2015

MICRA held it’s fourth annual MICRA PhD Conference on Thursday 14th May at the Nowgen Centre.

The event drew international interest and was attended by 70 PhD Students from the University of Manchester and wider afield, including a large delegation from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Free University of Amsterdam as well as institutions from around the UK and Ireland and even Canada.  In fact the popularity of the event resulted in a waiting list as it was quickly fully subscribed.  Students attended from a wide range of disciplines, all of which play a role in research on Ageing, from frailty and Alzheimer’s to mechanical engineering and art psychotherapy.

Speakers at the event included MICRA’s own Professor Christopher Phillipson who spoke on emerging issues on social ageing in Europe as well as Dr Neil Pendleton who discussed new approaches to understanding frailty in later life, whilst Dr Tine Buffel presented the world premiere of her film “Researching Age-Friendly Cities” and discussed the role of film in research.

Guest speakers including Professor James Goodwin, Head of Research at Age UK and Professor Carol Jagger, AXA Professor of the Epidemiology of Ageing at the University of Newcastle, who also presented.  There were two panel sessions on Career Development, chaired by Professor Dean Jackson, (featuring Dr Mike Sherratt, Dr Martin Hyde, Dr Dave Lee and Dr Elaine Dewhurst) and the Future of European Research on Ageing (Professor James Goodwin, Professor Dominique Verte, Professor Carol Jagger and Professor Christopher Phillipson).

The event was met with great enthusiasm from speakers and delegates alike, who also took the opportunity to network with their peers, establishing contacts.

One of the key features of the day was a poster competition in which 29 students participated and were judged by a panel of Dr Neil Pendleton, Professor Carol Jagger and Professor Ivan Bautmans.  After careful consideration and a very tight contest the panel awarded:

  • 1st place: Sofie Vermeiren of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels for her poster on “The Frailty Challenge: Identifying early markers of physical frailty in the oldest old”.
  • 2nd place: Katie Wright-Bevans of Keele University for “’Breaking down barriers’ and ‘bridging the gap’: Facilitators’ talk of intergenerational practice”
  • 3rd place: Ruth Webster of The University of Manchester for “An activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis: Age-related changes to human functional lateralisation”.

There was an overwhelming response to the conference with many PhD Students commenting on how thought-provoking the event was and the positive aspect of being able to meet and network with colleagues from such a wide range of disciplines and indeed how much they are already looking forward to taking part next year.

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