Third Annual NUPF Research Symposium:

Sharing Knowledge, Driving Innovation


A Symposium brought to you by the

Northwestern University Postdoctoral Forum

Develop your research communication skills
through presentations and real-time feedback
designed to improve your ability to present your work to diverse audiences

Part of NU Postdoc Appreciation Week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

12:30 pm-5:30 pm

Norris University Center

Second Floor

Evanston Campus

The ability to effectively communicate research to audiences outside your given field is an important skill which affects a variety of real-world decisions such as funding and public policy. Join NUPF for a unique research symposium which emphasizes the development of communication skills. This event is an exclusive opportunity to network with researchers from diverse departments across Northwestern, to present your research in the form of a poster or a talk to an audience with different backgrounds, and to participate in activities to learn how to effectively present your work to individuals outside your field.

Current postdoctoral scholars and graduate students:

Submit an abstract for presenting either a poster (postdocs and graduate students) or oral presentation (postdocs only). Posters will be judged for a chance to win one of three cash awards. Six abstracts will be selected for a seven-minute oral presentations. All selected postdocs will receive a participation award, but the presenter judged to be best will be given an opportunity to submit their presentation for potential participation in the EURAXESS Science Slam North America 2015. If selected by the EURAXESS committee, the winner will compete with four other researchers to win a trip to Europe in 2016 and network with top European officials!

Please submit your abstract for the symposium by clicking the link below by 5pm on Friday, July 17, 2015.

A professional photographer will also be on site to provide participants with headshot photos for use on websites like Research Gate and LinkedIn. The symposium will conclude with a networking reception with appetizers and beer/wine.

NOTE: You do not need to submit an abstract to participate in the rest of the symposium.



Abstracts submission deadline: Friday, July 17, 2015 at 5pm

Registration deadline: Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 5pm

Abstract submission is not required for registration.

See below for submission and event details.

2015 Call for Abstracts:

            Northwestern University postdocs and graduate students are invited to submit an abstract for a poster or an oral presentation at the Third Annual NUPF Symposium: Sharing Knowledge, Driving Innovation. There will be an award for each selected postdoc speaker and awards for the top three posters.

Instructions for Submission:

Only electronic submissions will be accepted.  Please click the link listed above to begin the abstract submission process. Abstracts submitted after July 17, 2015 at 5pm Central Time will not be accepted. Those selected for oral and poster presentations will be notified by Friday, July 31, 2015. Please submit only one abstract. Postdocs and grad students are welcome to submit an abstract for posters, but only postdocs are eligible for oral presentations.

Abstract Submission Criteria:

You must be a current NU postdoctoral fellow at the time of submission and on September 1, 2015 for consideration of postdoctoral oral and poster presentations and awards.  For a list of eligible postdoctoral fellow titles, please refer to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.  Graduate students must be currently registered TGS students at the time of abstract submission and on September 1, 2015 for poster presentation and award consideration.

Abstracts must be 300 words or less. Abstracts can be from any topic, research field or discipline. References, citations, and funding sources are not required. The abstract submitted may be for “works in progress” but it should be based on the presenter’s research project. As attendees will be from a range of disciplines and specialties, we strongly encourage the use of clear and general vocabulary that can be understood by all.  Abstracts and posters that have been presented at previous meetings, conferences, seminars, and symposia can be submitted. The poster should be no greater in size than 5 feet by 4 feet. Instructions for preparing a poster can be found here .

Abstract Selection Process:

The abstract review committee comprised of Northwestern University faculty, staff and administrators will review abstracts for oral and poster presentations. Oral presentations will be selected from postdoc abstract submissions according to the postdoc’s ability to communicate research significance and impact to a broad audience. Abstracts by postdocs that were not selected for an oral presentation and abstracts submitted by graduate students are automatically eligible for poster presentations if they fulfill the criteria outlined above. Up to 50 posters can be accommodated (consideration in order of submission).

Poster Judging:

Poster presenters will be asked to set up their posters in the Louis Room of Norris University Center on the Evanston campus between 12 and 12:30pm on September 1, 2015. The poster session including judging will take place from 1:45-3:15pm. Judges selected from Northwestern University faculty, staff, and administrators will visit posters during the allotted poster session time frame. A formal presentation is not required - you are expected to present and discuss your research with all those who visit your poster. Poster judging criteria will focus on the following:

  • Clarity – poster and oral explanation are clearly understandable to an expert and a non-expert; research questions, significance, methods, conclusions and future directions are included
  • Ease of viewing - poster is well designed and well organized with fonts in an appropriate size, an appropriate number of graphics, etc

Content and originality will also factor into judging scores, but the focus will be on effective communication of ideas.

We ask that all posters remain on display for the entire symposium and then removed between 5-6pm.  Any poster left on display after 6:00pm will be discarded.  Poster award winners will be announced after the postdoctoral talks.

Postdoctoral Talks:

Six postdoctoral speakers will be selected and notified no later than Friday, July 31. You will be asked to prepare a seven minute presentation. Three minutes will be allotted for questions at the conclusion of the presentation. Time will be strictly enforced, so your challenge will be to make your talk as concise and understandable as possible for viewing by a diverse audience. Please plan to arrive at the symposium by noon to test your presentation. You can bring your own laptop or put the file on a flash drive and use the laptop available at the symposium.

Postdoctoral Talk Judging and Award:

Talks will be judged by a panel of Northwestern faculty and staff. Presentations will be rated based primarily on their clarity and ease of understanding by a non-technical audience as well as their ability to stay on time. Novelty and uniqueness of the work presented will also be considered.

One postdoc will be selected as best presenter and given the opportunity to present his/her work OR serve as a judge at the EURAXESS Science Slam 2015 held in Chicago this October where five researchers from North America will be competing for the title of North America's best science communicator.

Everyone in encouraged to participate to the EURAXESS Science Slam 2015 competition. The competition is open to researchers of all nationalities, all fields of research, and all stage of careers. 

The winner may also choose to submit their presentation for consideration as part of the competition. The deadline for the application is September 21.  If selected, the postdoc compete with the other contestants to join the winners of the EURAXESS Science Slams ASEAN, Brazil, China, India, and Japan on a unique networking trip to Europe in 2016!  Please visit the EURAXESS Science Slam 2015 website for further info.

PLEASE NOTE: winning the NUPF session does not guarantee a trip to Europe.

Event Schedule:

The symposium will take place from 12:30-5:30pm on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 on the second floor of Norris University Center on the Evanston Campus of Northwestern University. Please note that exact times are subject to change. Please refer back to this page for a final schedule.

12:00-12:30 pm

Registration, poster setup – Norris Second Floor

12:30-1:30 pm

Official welcome and Keynote address: Dr. Rebecca Daugherty, Assistant Director, Northwestern University Science in Society – Northwestern Room, Norris 202

1:30-1:45 pm

Coffee break – Louis Room, Norris 205

1:45 pm-3:15 pm

Postdoctoral/graduate student poster session – Louis Room, Norris 205

Professional headshots – Rock Room, Norris 207

3:15-4:15 pm

Postdoctoral talks – Northwestern Room, Norris 202

4:15-4:30 pm

Closing remarks and presentation of awards – Northwestern Room, Norris 202

4:30-5:30 pm

Networking reception with wine, beer and appetizers Louis Room, Norris 205

Professional headshots:

A photographer will be at the symposium to provide participants with headshot photos for use on websites like Research Gate and LinkedIn. If you would like to have your photo taken, please keep in mind that professional attire might be required depending on where you would like to post the picture afterwards.

Information about how to sign up for a photo session will be sent to registered participants at a later point in time. Please note that you not need to present a poster or talk to participate in the headshots or the networking opportunities at the symposium.