Presenting Interdisciplinary Research

With any PhD, presenting is a daunting prospect for many, but add an interdisciplinary project into the mix and the idea gets a lot more stressful. Blogger Rupika details her experiences and advice below.

Learning to present is a skill I would greatly encourage all PhD students to learn very early on, but even more valuable is knowing how to present to an interdisciplinary audience. The knowledge and understanding in the audience will be completely varied. Knowing how to tailor each presentation to your audience and the types of questions you might receive from your audience.

Within Warwick’s manufacturing group (WMG) we have an outreach team who help connect WMG with schools and the outside world and give them an insight into the many directions of research that take place within WMG. Hint: it is not all just about cars.

I decided to put myself forward to do one of these talks; at the time, it was stress-central. Let’s be honest, no one really likes public speaking but upon reflection it was an enjoyable experience! It was stressful because I did not have enough experience in presenting to different audiences, but it was invaluable as it gave me an opportunity to understand my own PhD from a different perspective, a simpler one at that.

Be confident in your work

When presenting, pick a point in the room to focus on and talk to that point

If you can present, do it! It may stress you out, but it’ll help build you as a researcher

Make your presentations fun, even if that is funky graphics or props, but put your stamp on it.

Rupika’s presenting tips

Having to think about what to explain to an audience about where the problem is, what is being done about it and why we should research it to make a difference in an interesting and engaging manner; has made it easier for me to think about why I do each step or test within my PhD. Also, it helps with answering questions when your audience has a different background and knowledge set to yourself.  My background is microbiology, but some of my audience have material science or engineering backgrounds. These differences means when I present, I need remember where their interests will be, and it’s not going to be the same as mine, but that is ok! It is a part of the process, and it is fun! 

If you’re presenting at a conference, why not take a look at our post about how to make the most of it or hear from an old blog about post-presentation blues.

What are your presenting tips? Let us know in the comments below, by tweeting us @researchex or by emailing us at

Header image: Christina Morillo

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