UCR - University Centre Reaseheath
University Centre Reaseheath

UCR undergraduates present research at prestigious conference

Three talented undergraduates from University Centre Reaseheath presented their research findings at the 2023 British Conference for Undergraduate Research (BCUR) earlier this month.  

Once a year the prestigious conference brings together undergraduates from a huge range of disciplines from across the country and provides students with the chance to gain valuable experience presenting their academic research.  

This year the BCUR, alongside the World Congress on Undergraduate Research (CUR), was hosted by The University of Warwick. Attendees from both events were able to hear from keynote speakers and enjoy social networking events together.  

UCR undergraduates Connor Butler, Lauren Dowdeswell and Hannah Maudsley excelled in presenting their research, which explored important topics within the industries they are preparing to work in, as detailed below.  

Connor Butler – BSc (Hons) Zoo Management (top-up) 

For his dissertation thesis, Connor chose to research “Taxonomic Bias: The Social Media Activity of UK Zoos and Their Followers”, which he presented to an engaged audience at the BCUR.   

Connor said: “I chose this topic as I believe zoos can always do more, even just little things, to aid the conservation of all species; not just the cute and charismatic; but less appealing species in greater conservation need.  

“If zoos present a taxonomically biased portrayal of their animals, they are not encouraging public interest in less well-known or less appealing animals they house, which may impact negatively on the long-term survival of these species.  

“Presenting at the event was a brilliant experience and a great addition to my CV. I found it really interesting to hear about some of the other research going on in the UK too.”

Lauren Dowdeswell – BSc (Hons) Canine Clinical Behaviour (top-up) 

Lauren’s research investigated how harness design can impact canine forelimb biomechanics, focusing specifically on elbow and shoulder, flexion and extension.

Lauren said: “I chose this topic because there is a lot of hear-say on social media about which harnesses are good and which are bad or “restrictive”, so I wanted to conduct some research to provide scientific evidence – which is certainly lacking currently!

“I enjoyed the event a lot. The hosts were so welcoming to myself and my assistance dog, Tucker. I have anxiety and ADHD, so something like this terrifies me, but I pushed myself to do it. I wouldn’t have been able to go without Tucker, Rysh (my partner) or Lucianna (my dissertation supervisor). 

“Presenting at the conference has massively improved my confidence and it was good practice, as I’ve now been asked by a few different people and companies to present my findings to them!”

Hannah Maudsley – BSc (Hons) Zoo Management (top-up)  

For her dissertation, Hannah researched the effect of the lunar cycle on nocturnal Cape porcupine behaviours, which she presented at the BCUR. 

Hannah said: “I wanted to conduct research into the behaviours of Cape porcupines to give the zoos housing them more information about how to provide these animals with the best possible care. 

“Presenting at the conference was a great experience. Everyone was interested in each other’s work and there wasn’t any pressure; my nerves just disappeared when I was there! 

“It has really boosted my confidence and it was a great feeling having people outside of University Centre Reaseheath want to listen to my research. I also enjoyed expanding my knowledge by listening to other talks on topics such as philosophy, psychology, and sustainability.”  

Confidence. It’s in our nature. 

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