Conference 2018

Dates: 17th – 19th January 2018

Location: University of St Andrews, Scotland

Abstract submission and registration is now closed.

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The UKIRSC committee welcomes postgraduate students across the UK and Ireland to join us for the 12th annual UKIRSC conference from 17th – 19th of January 2018. The meeting will open with an icebreaker on the evening of the 17th, followed by the two-day conference from 9am-5pm on the 18th & 19th.

Current postgraduate students (PhD and Masters) are invited to submit abstracts for oral presentations and posters (at least A1 size, portrait or landscape). Presentations are divided into 5-minute speed-talks and 15 minute slots. We encourage new postgraduate students to talk about their future research plans using the 5-minute slots and for those further along in their studies to present for 15 minutes. Even though the emphasis of the UKIRSC is postgraduate study, please contact us if you are an undergraduate with an interest in the field (particularly if you are completing an honours thesis on marine mammals), as we have a limited number of places available for undergraduates at our conference. Additionally, if you were recently a student and want to present your student work, you are also welcome to attend and present.

Prize for the best talk: We are offering a free statistics course (excluding travel and accommodation costs), courtesy of PR Statistics, for the best 15 minute presentation at the conference!


This year our keynote speakers are Dr Bernie McConnell (Senior Research Fellow at the Sea Mammal Research Unit) and Dr Sascha Hooker (Reader at the Sea Mammal Research Unit).

We will also have two interactive workshops as part of the conference. In collaboration with Gergana Daskalova and the University of Edinburgh, our first workshop will be a ‘Coding Club’: covering top tips for coding, data manipulation and visualisation in the statistical software R. Postdoctoral researchers at the Sea Mammal Research Unit will present our second workshop on ‘Promoting yourself and your research’: featuring discussion and advice on how to share your work on social media, as well as mastering those all-important CVs,  conference presentations and posters.

Dr Luke Rendell will be hosting a careers panel discussion entitled ‘Early early career: After the MSc’. Although his event is particularly aimed at Masters level students in marine mammal science and marine biology, all are welcome to attend and invited to ask questions. The panel will consist of scientists from a range of career stages and so the discussion will be relevant to students of all levels. This will start at 3pm on the 17th (before the ice-breaker event), so please remember to arrive early if you would like to attend.

There is no conference fee, and the atmosphere of the conference is relatively informal, giving attendees a platform to discuss their research with other students.


Our 2018 conference is kindly sponsored by the CAPOD GRADskills ProgrammeSMRU Instrumentation, SMRU ConsultingSMRU, MASTS and Wildlife Computers.



Additional Information:

Student Travel Grants

Students outside of St Andrews are eligible to apply for our student travel grants. These grants are available but not guaranteed, and generally grants will only cover a portion of the incurred travel costs. We collect travel receipts during the conference, and grants are allocated after the conference. Please indicate your interest on the conference registration form.

Getting to St Andrews:

St Andrews is easily accessible by public transport. The nearest train station is Leuchars (~ 1 hour train ride from Edinburgh, with trains leaving ~ every 30 minutes). From Leuchars station, there are frequent bus services which take the 10-minute journey to St Andrews (in particular the Stagecoach 99/99A/99B/99C/99D). Alternatively, there are direct bus services to St Andrews from Edinburgh city centre (Stagecoach X59, hourly, 2.5 hours) and Glasgow (Stagecoach X24, hourly, 2.5 hours, from the city centre and Glasgow airport).

Staying in St Andrews:

All of the conference events will take place within the town centre (red circle in map below). St Andrews is a small town, and so everything is within walking distance. Our recommended option for accommodation is the St Andrews Premier Inn. There are also numerous bed & breakfasts within the town, and rent-a-room options available on airbnb. We also hope to offer any spare rooms/beds in the homes of local students, but this is not guaranteed- we will update conference attendees if these become available. If you are based in St Andrews and would be happy to host a student please let us know.