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11th April 2017

The fifth Posters in Parliament exhibition has given MPs a window onto the innovative research undertaken by university undergraduates across the UK.

Hilary Benn, Ben Bradshaw and Caroline Lucas were among the MPs who attended the event in March. The annual exhibition at Westminster is part of the British Conference of Undergraduate Research, an open coalition of universities dedicated to encouraging a national culture of research at undergraduate level.

Staged this year by UCL, the exhibition showcased the work of 52 students from 27 universities. Their posters explore an impressive range of research topics, including factors behind the success of an invasive slug, the relationship between short-term memory and inner speech, the impact of dieting on mortality in obese adults, the reasons for low participation in physical activity by older South Asians in the UK and the role of the West in the development of the Ukraine crisis.

Each year prizes are awarded to the best posters. The judging panel is made up of leaders in the higher education and research sectors and this year consisted of, Naomi Saint, Universities Programme Manager at Parliament, Diana Beech, Higher Education Policy Institute, Professor Dilly Fung, UCL and Professor Stuart Hampton-Reeves, UCLan.

Lauren Saunders from Hull College Group won the highly commended award for research on multidisciplinary examination of the role of art in mental health recovery. She said: "It's been a fantastic day. It's been brilliant to share my research on mental health with so many different people."

Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, which this year hosted the event, said: ‘This exhibition represents research conducted by a cohort of future leaders who are at the beginning of very successful careers. By recognising the role of research in education and ensuring students have opportunities to make connections between them, higher education providers can offer a valuable student experience. UCL’s Connected Curriculum framework seeks to ensure that every student learns through research and enquiry.’

UCLan’s Professor Stuart Hampton-Reeves, Chair of the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) Steering Group, said: “The students whose posters are included here represent the next generation of innovators and academics. Their discoveries are already helping to further our understanding of the big challenges facing the world today.”

Caroline Lucas MP (Brighton) said: "Posters in Parliament is a great way of communicating complex ideas and a great way for MPs to interact with students' research. I was just shown a piece of complicated research which I'm sure I would have struggled to understand without such a clear poster and explanation by the student.”

The event was sponsored by Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras, Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham, and Naomi Saint, Houses of Parliament Universities Programme Manager.

The 2017 British Conference of Undergraduate Research meets annually every Spring in a different British university to showcase research by undergraduates at all levels and in all disciplines. The 2017 Conference will be held in Bournemouth on 25-26 April.