In June 2023, I applied for the £500 Research Support Award available to Manchester Met’s doctoral students. I wanted to be able to attend the BPS Cognitive and Developmental Section Conference in Bristol after applying to present a poster presentation entitled, ‘A Systematic Literature Review of Studies Assessing the Psychological and Therapeutic Impact of the Presence of Children’s Imaginary Companions’. The bursary helped towards the cost of the conference ticket, two-night hotel stay and travel costs. 
The poster presentation was an opportunity for me to deliver the work I had completed on my systematic literature review for my PhD and practice talking about my research to different audiences. I had yet to deliver any work in this format, so the opportunity really stood out to me. 

The conference lasted three days, with various themes across the event within cognitive and developmental psychology. Some of the psychologists who were present presented their work too, while others were there to learn and network. There were many researchers interested in the poster presentations, with dozens of people to talk to, which meant a lot of practice! There were also a great mix of people, some wanting to hear about the research as it was novel to them, while others were able to discuss similar work they were completing. I found there were also other PhD students within different universities who were working on similar projects, which gave me a sense of belonging. I found this also led into great discussion and questions I had not yet asked myself, such as, ‘Has the rate of children creating an imaginary companion risen over the Covid-19 pandemic?’.  

Alongside the networking opportunity it presented for me, I was also able to hear a wealth of other research going on across psychology and met some amazing people. The poster presentations in particular were all set up alongside each other, so I felt I really got to know the other presenters during this time. The other talks were in various rooms across Bristol University with a wide range of talks to choose from – it’s just a shame you had to pick one! 

At the end of the event, there were several awards given out for various academic achievements – some long-standing and others for the work presented at the event. I was honoured to have received the ‘Delegates Choice Poster Prize’ alongside a £50 Amazon Voucher for the poster I presented, and I am extremely happy that the Research Support Award made this achievable! 

Thank you!   

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