Posted 26 February 2016
I am confident the future of UK entomology is in good hands.”
Dave Stanford-Beale being awarded his prize by Luke Tilley
Earlier this month, British entomology postgraduates came together at Harper Adams University to share their passion for insect studies.
The Royal Entomological Society Postgraduate Forum included talks by special guests and delegates, and a dinner with quiz. The delegates also had the opportunity to submit an academic poster.
The winning delegate talk was given by Harper Adams entomology research assistant Dave Stanford-Beale. Dave, 24, spoke about Saturniidae, which are among the largest and most spectacular of the moths.
During his talk, he said: “I fell in love with these crazy moths when I went to Honduras in 2014, where I volunteered as a student researcher.
“When I returned to the UK, I signed-up for MSc Entomology at Harper Adams.
“I returned to Honduras last year to carry out my MSc research. During my time there, we found one specimen at base camp, which was 800m above the highest point they had been spotted before!”
Upon being named best speaker by judges and his peers, he said “This is completely unexpected. I’m surprised, very surprised! This is the first time I have done a talk!
“It’s great to communicate research in my field without actually publishing, which is a drawn-out process.”
Claire Blowers, one of the event organisers, and a Harper Adams PhD student said: “The event went really well. The people made a brilliant group, and their talks and posters were excellent."
Claire, 25, was awarded third place for her talk on designing a multifunctional buffer strip. “I’m very grateful that I was voted third,” she said. “I’m glad people enjoyed my talk, especially as I felt so pre-occupied with organising the event!
“We put this event on so that we have the chance to share our research with others in our field, in a supportive setting.”
Professor of entomology Simon Leather said: “I was very pleased to see how well our own postgraduate students did. The confidence with which they addressed their subject, and the way in which they got their message across, reflects very well on the high standard of entomological research here at Harper Adams and is also a result of the great doctoral training programme we offer.
“On the evidence of the two days, the excellence of the oral presentation and the subject matter and high standard of presentation of the posters, I am confident the future of UK entomology is in good hands.”
Luke Tilley, from the Royal Entomological Society, said: “The quality of postgraduate presentations and talks continues to improve every year. There were a wide range of topics on offer, from genetics to field ecology.
“Harper Adams were great hosts for 2016. The Masters courses on offer in entomology and integrated pest management mean that there is a growing cohort of Harper Adams postgraduates going on to further study and careers in entomology. Therefore, Harper Adams was a natural fit for the activities on offer during the Forum."
Guest speaker Dr Sarah Beynon of Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm said: “It is so wonderful that Harper Adams University, as an academic institution, is putting the time and effort into an area which many would say is ‘dying’. This is an important subject to invest in, so it’s great to see their faith.
“In entomology we are very lucky; it is easy to find your niche early in your career as there are so many creatures but yet we know so little about them!
“My best piece of advice for post graduates in entomology is to think outside the box when looking for a career. You’ve got to be passionate about what you do and put time into it so that you stand out. Don’t listen to those who say that you are not able to achieve what you want.”
The other guest speakers at the event were: Professor Simon Leather of Harper Adams University; Dr Amoret Whitaker of the University of Winchester; Dr Richard GreatRex of Sygenta Bioline; and Dr Simon Carpenter of Pirbright Institute.
Professor Simon Leather has also blogged about his experience at the Forum.
The Royal Entomological Society Ento ’16 Annual National Science Meeting is also due to be hosted at Harper Adams University on 6 – 8 September.
Postgraduate courses are now recruiting for 2016 entry. Visit harper.ac.uk/postgrad to learn more or visit the university for its next postgraduate open afternoon on April 15. Government loans are now available to cover the cost of Masters courses.