The ESRC SCDTP hosted its annual Final Year Conference on 26 Jan 2024. As usual the conference showcased the research of final year PhD students in the SCDTP, but for the first time in a while the conference was in person. We gathered at the splendid venue of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton for the event organised by our student committee – a group of six who, supported by our operations team, managed the whole thing – a big thank you to Robin Skyer, Sorour Farahi, Sarthak Gurani, Deborah Timoni, Awa Touray, and Patricia Ncube.
There are many things that made this conference special. We had a great social media and web-presence and less paper to minimise the environmental impact. Everything ran very smoothly aided by students’ visibly growing skills in chairing the sessions. The opening keynotes by Jacqueline Priego Hernandez and Zahra Murad set a very positive tone about learning from each other, taking risks and innovating. The applause for all the sessions (even video presentations when the presenter had to be absent!) was heartfelt and the discussions were vibrant.
The theme of the conference was Tides of Change: Staying afloat in an unstable world. This was a great way of cohering the diverse range of research by connecting it to the dynamic nature of researching in the contemporary world and celebrating its transformative potential. The 27 presentations were organised into the themes of wellbeing, developing methods and structures, social impact, and connections. Many of the presentations spanned several of these themes. The senior leadership team were impressed by the quality of the work shared and the confidence and competence of the presenters. It is heartening to see this event go from strength to strength. Congratulations to everyone involved.