"We know surprisingly little about what is living alongside us in our cities – my work is bridging this knowledge gap."
Eleanor Atkins, PhD student
A PhD student from the Biological Sciences Department will present her research on the impact of urban biodiversity at the Houses of Parliament.
Eleanor Atkins, 38 from Barlaston, will be presenting their research to politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the Parliamentary poster competition STEM for Britain, taking place at Portcullis House, London, on 12 March.
Eleanor, who is also a part-time lecturer, was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to demonstrate her science communication skills by presenting their research and poster to a panel of leading academics.
The event also gives researchers the chance to discuss the implications and importance of their work with their local MPs, other researchers, and senior science stakeholders.
Winners of the competition can take up to £2,000 home in prize money, along with a bronze, silver or gold medal.
Eleanor's research is investigating the biodiversity potential of green infrastructure, focusing on the value of urban hedges as habitat for birds, small mammals and invertebrates.
Eleanor and her team's research is looking to assess the public perception of hedges in urban areas and linking this to peoples' wellbeing. It forms part of a wider body of work conducted by the Staffordshire University Green Wall Centre, with the aim of the project being to provide evidence on the benefits of urban green infrastructure for air pollution capture, increased biodiversity and to human health.
On presenting her research in Parliament, Eleanor said: "I feel very honoured and excited to have the opportunity to present my poster at the STEM for Britain, where I will showcase the innovative aspects of my research into urban hedges.
"Traditionally, ecology has not focused on these important “habitats for people” but understanding the value of our green infrastructure is vital. We know surprisingly little about what is living alongside us in our cities – my work is bridging this knowledge gap."
STEM for Britain takes place annually, and is organized by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee with support from a number of learned societies, including the Royal Society of Biology.
The competition is open to early stage or early career researchers engaged in scientific, engineering, technological or medical research.
Stephen Metcalfe MP, chair of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country's best young researchers.
“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”
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