Posters in Parliament

‌‌Posters in Parliament (PiP) is organised by the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR), and is inspired by the US 'Posters on the Hill' event. Professor Paul Taylor, Chair of the BCUR, describes PiP as 'one of the very best opportunities for Parliamentarians and policy makers to experience the extraordinary talents being nurtured on campuses nationwide.' Universities participating in the BCUR conference are invited to send two students to PiP to showcase their research in Parliament.

PiP logo and 2023 photo medley



2024 Posters in Parliament Event

Since 2013 Newcastle University has been proud to be a regular participant in events organised by the British Conference of Undergraduate Research. It has a main conference around Easter, and Posters in Parliament in Westminster, which this year took place on 28 February.

Andrew Davison and Megan Groves (School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sport Sciences) represented the University there, and did us proud. They had the following reflections on their day:

‘Posters in Parliament—PiP—was incredible. My poster was ‘Quantum Tunnelling in Glycine Receptors: a Mathematical Model’, but the exhibition enabled me to learn about the wide variety of research conducted by other students across numerous disciplines, from education and politics to chemistry and physics. Although it was rather intimidating to present my research to civil servants, MPs and other researchers, it helped me identify ways to improve and apply my research in ways I hadn’t previously considered. One idea that was suggested was to investigate whether quantum tunnelling through ion channels in the spinal cord could contribute to altered pain sensitivity in stroke patients.

‘I would highly recommend PiP to any student interested in presenting research and networking with other like-minded students across various fields. I would also like to add that if you have a project which you have researched in your spare time (but wasn’t officially associated with your university) and about which you are very passionate, it’s always worth submitting it to PiP!

‘Finally, I want to thank Newcastle University for giving me this fantastic opportunity!’

Andrew Davison, Stage 3, BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences

Andrew Davison and Chi Onwurah MP with Andrew’s poster


‘At Posters in Parliament (PiP) at the end of February, I presented a poster on Development of a Step-by-Step Freeware Solution for 3D Rendering of Congenital Heart Disease Images. I felt very lucky to be able to attend and it was an extremely enriching experience. What an incredible opportunity, to be able to showcase my research in a new and exciting environment, surrounded by loads of similarly driven students from across the country! We had the chance to meet a number of researchers, scientists, civil servants and MPs – including Chi Onwurah, the MP (Labour) for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, where the University is--and it was a privilege to be able to discuss our research and experience with all of them.

‘I strongly encourage anyone who has participated in some research, whether through the university or as a separate passion project, to submit their work for the BCUR and PiP conferences. The PiP experience was invaluable and I cannot recommend it enough!

Thank you very much to the university for granting me this opportunity. I had a great time!’

Megan Groves, Stage 2, BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Genetics

Megan Groves discusses her poster with Chi Onwurah MP

Damien Hall, the lecturer who accompanied Andrew and Megan to PiP, adds: ‘Megan and Andrew did Newcastle University, and the School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sport Sciences, proud at Posters in Parliament this year. Special congratulations must go to Megan, as a non-final-year student, but both students should be heartily commended. We thank them on behalf of the University for representing us so well, and wish them all the best for the future.’

Andrew and Megan being presented with Certificates of Achievement by the Chair of BCUR, Prof. Paul Taylor (Leeds)

Andrew and Megan with their Posters in Parliament Certificates of Achievement

2023 Posters in Parliament Event

In total, 22 universities attended PiP in 2023. Posters were displayed in the Attlee Suite in Portcullis House, and students discussed their research with MP's, civil servants and policy makers, as well as academics and BCUR students from other universities who attended the event.

Professor Paul Taylor opened the event by welcoming everyone to Parliament and thanked Alec Shelbrooke MP, who was hosting the event.

Alec Shelbrooke, the Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell was delighted to host the event and talked about the integral role research plays in the work of Parliament, how important it was to support research students to showcase their work, and he hoped the students were able to use the opportunity to network with their peers and other attendees.

Photo gallery of Paul Taylor and Alec Shelbrooke at PiP23

Professor Paul Taylor and Alec Shelbrooke MP addressing students at the 2023 Posters in Parliament Event

Paul Taylor gave an emotional speech in which he expressed his delight that Posters in Parliament was up and running again after a three-year hiatus due to Covid-19. The last event was held in March 2020, just as Covid hit, when the future was uncertain. He congratulated the students for navigating their way though such a challenging period and thanked them for continuing to produce first class research in difficult circumstances.

‌‌Ellie Hansen and Maisie Green, who represented Newcastle University at BCUR 2023, were invited to attend the Posters In Parliament event. You can view their posters here:

Ellie and Maisie started their day with a Tour of the House of Lords, during which they witnessed the ancient Speaker's Procession through the Central Lobby into the Chamber of the House of Commons, and learned about how the House of Lords contributes to the process of Government.

A photo of Maisie and Ellie with Paul and their certificates

Ellie Hansen and Maisie Green receiving their certificates from  Paul Taylor

Matt Western, Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Labour MP for Warwick and Leamington visited the Newcastle University stand and spoke to Ellie and Maisie about their research.

An image of Maisie Green and Matt Western in front of Maisie's poster

M‌aisie Green with Matt Western, standing in front of her poster

The event was deemed a huge success and it is hoped that it will be back again in 2024.

Find out more about what it's like to attend Posters in Parliament

Ellie and Maise have shared their experiences of the day, which you can read on our Hear from Students pages.


2020 Posters in Parliament event

Congratulations to Abigail Middlemass and Hannah Wicks who were selected from over 100 applications from Newcastle University students to present their research at the 2020 Posters in Parliament event.

Abigail Middlemass, School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

An ethnographic study covering engagement with pleasure reading by adult migrant learners of English as a second language


Abigail and Chi Onwura at the event

A‌bigail with Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central (the University's constituency), in front of her poster 

According to a C4EO Report an initiative supported by the Department of Education to support and record the excellence of young people's services. "Poor literacy at primary school is strongly associated with later low achievement"(Cassen and Kingdon 2007; Sodha and Margo 2010). It is such studies that have driven increased literacy promotion within schools through programmes such as SPOKES and compulsory Key Stage 2 book clubs to improve literacy levels. Furthermore, reading schemes such as Books Unlocked (2017) have been utilised in prisons to assist in the improvement of the learners' literacy levels and thus future employment opportunities.

As it is acknowledged that literacy is a required skill for socioeconomic progression and integration (Choi 2015, Wallace 1992, Bialystock, 2001) it is surprising that the literacy skills of adult migrants, whether immigrants, asylum seekers or refugees, have been overlooked. The project I undertook focuses on a heterogenous group of adult learners of English as a second language and their preferred methods of engagement with two new pleasure reading schemes in Tyne and Wear which involved books created by Wilkinson and Young-Scholten (see 2010). The schemes provide fiction books which are linguistically simple, thus understandable, with sophisticated narratives in order to provide the adult learner with ample opportunity to develop their reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary (Krashen, 2004). The project takes these aspects of literacy into account, as well as the linguistic environment of the classroom to gauge which methods of engagement are deemed most effective for literacy development.

How was my experience of Posters in Parliament 2020?

I would certainly recommend this experience to anyone who has completed undergraduate research with an interest in further study or government policy. I am very grateful to the university for the opportunity to learn about how the research of academics such as those who lead and guided my research project is used to inform and impact government policy.

The opportunity to present my research whilst engaging with Members of Parliament was an unforgettable experience and I am very grateful to my Supervisor and the academics who guided me in my completion of this project. The Posters In Parliament 2020 event opened my eyes to how the world of academia assists in solving real world issues and has inspired me to particularly consider how my own research could one day impact government policy. My project, an ethnographic study into how adult migrant learners engaged with a pleasure reading scheme, highlights the benefits of such schemes in improving the English proficiency of adult migrants but also has implications for social integration of minority communities and budget allocation for literacy schemes in the UK. Although the prospect of politicians, academics and members of the public questioning my research seemed daunting, it was very enjoyable and acted as a platform for inciteful discussion.

2019 Posters in Parliament event

Owen Coughlan and Connor Gilkes-Imeson attended the 2019 Posters in Parliament event. Find out more about their research below.

Owen Coughlan, Combined Honours 

Moroccan Miners and Strikes in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Mining Region: A Story of Working Class Integration?


Owen Coughlan at the Posters in Parliament Event

O‌wen presents his poster to Nick Brown, MP for Newcastle East 

‌This paper investigates the position of Moroccan migrant miners in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais from 1963 to the closure of the mines in 1990, posing the question of the extent of their integration into the French working class through the analysis of participation in and perceptions of strikes. While extensive social studies of the region’s miners exist, such as Diana Cooper-Richet’s Le peuple de la nuit (2002), historians have given the Moroccan mining community far less attention than that which they have assigned to the longer-established Polish community. Marie Cegarra carried out the first ethnographic study of Moroccan migrants in the Nord (1999), but this dissertation focuses purely on the link between strike action and integration into the working class. In order to do this, we investigate the socioeconomic conditions of arrival and resultant social relations of production to distinguish the peculiar position of Moroccans in the bassin minier, in the social context of de-industrialising economic policy. Following this, evidence collected from media reports, Houillère (mine owners) archives and some oral accounts is used to analyse the strikes of 1980 and 1987. The findings show that although the Moroccans miners perceived themselves to be engaged in a struggle typical of the French working class, the French media and working class portrayed and perceived it as a purely immigrant strike. This immigrant strike/workers strike debate opens up to an understanding of the loss of integrating mechanisms and social tensions surrounding immigration in de-industrialised societies, and by extension, of current ‘post-industrial’ societies.

Owen is now finishing a PhD in History—he is a great example of how events like this can really encourage research ambitions!


Connor Gilkes-Imeson, School of Medical Education

Drug Sensitiviy of a Spontaneously Immortalised Human Ovarian Cancer Cell Line


Image of Connor Gilkes-Imeson with at Posters in Parliament

C‌onnor presents his poster to Nick Brown 

A novel cell line (NUCOLL43) derived from a patient with ovarian clear cell carcinoma (O-CCC) immortalised at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR). This cell line had the same markers and genetic changes as the tumour from which it was derived. The aim of the project was to characterise the drug sensitivity of this cell line. To do so, assays were used to test the sensitivity of NUCOLL43 to common chemotherapy and radiotherapy; then whether this sensitivity could be increased with the addition of novel drugs. O-CCC are commonly resistant to standard chemotherapy (as is NUCOLL43) and therefore there is a great need of new treatment options. NUCOLL43 cells weren’t sensitive to some anticancer drugs, but were with others; this includes a novel drug (NVP-BEZ235) which inhibits a pathway promoting cell multiplication. By doing these drug sensitivity tests it was shown that this cell line is extremely sensitive to NVP-BEZ235 and therefore evidence was provided to suggest that genetically similar tumours may respond well to this type of treatment in the future. All data produced from this cell line has been pooled such that NUCOLL43 has been fully characterised and is now available for use by the scientific community. NUCOLL43 will be a useful model for the advancements towards new treatment options for O-CCC. This project has aided in the availability of a novel, ovarian cancer cell line, stored in the ximbio biobank and led toward a publication by Franklin M et al in the journal Cancer Medicine.