Co-judges this year were Clare Hills-Nova (Sackler Library), Carl Wenczek (Born Digital Ltd, and visiting lecturer at the University) and Dave Baker (IT Services). Arriving at a consensus again this year was more difficult than it may seem. We are from very different backgrounds - Humanities librarian, commercial graphics designer and an ex-scientist - and we all have different ideas about what makes a poster noteworthy. The one aspect of a poster that we all agree on, is that it must make a passing conference delegate stop and take a second look. After all, the primary purpose of any poster is to start a conversation. This year's conversations starters are:
Joseph Bartram is from the Department of Zoology. His poster, Bayesian Brains: Triggerfish consider sensory reliability when making decisions, summarises the key findings from the first chapter of his thesis. The judges were attracted by the symmetry of the design, the carefully chosen colour palette, and the clever placement of images to attract the casual visitor.
The overall layout came from... a desire to subvert the static '3 boxes' standard design with something more dynamic... The results are placed front and centre for maximum effect, while important summary information is placed top left and bottom right, following visual flow...
Michel Rickhaus is from the Department of Chemistry and his poster describes his group's work on Polyaromatic Systems - Flatten, bend, cyclize. Porphyrin structures linked by Single Acetylenes. The judges were impressed with the clarity of the layout, the careful organisation of the content and the accomplished use of diagrams.
The simplified, focused look is further promoted by the absence of colour... that is intended to draw the eye. Substantial time was invested to find ways to optimize the complex graphics such that they can be presented without colour, making them clearer, focused and precise...
Most innovative research poster
Michal Hejduk is from the Department of Chemistry and his poster - Cold Quantum Chemistry Machine - describes the apparatus his team is building to study ultra cold chemistry. The judges enjoyed the playful, colourful design, with its nod perhaps to the film Back to the Future for those in the know.
...As our research topic was minor at the conference, I tried to cut the content to a bare minimum understandable to any chemist... The levity of the poster was supposed to attract non-specialists... the apparatus is depicted from a dynamic perspective that is often used to advertise sport cars (such as the DeLorean)...
Sarah Chamberlain is from Medical Sciences' NPEU department. Her poster - ELFIN: Save the date - is unusual in that it is a call to action to attend a meeting where her research results will be presented. The judges appreciated the bold use of colour and geometrical patterns and the economy of the message.
The poster needed to be eye-catching and appealing so as to encourage people to sign up. Dissemination of research findings from clinical trials is vital and ensuring that the results are spread widely ensures that such information informs clinical practice... The overall aim was to produce a modern design which was visually striking, that would convey the excitement of the day and which was quintessentially ELFIN.