Images of Research Competition

Images of Research Competition

The concept is simple – represent your research in a single image together with a 100-word description. 

The 2023 competition is now closed, you can see the winners and all the entries below.

The winners of Images of Research Competition 2023

Judges’ Winners:

  • 1st place: Mirror Mirror on the wall by Syeda Bareeha Fatima
  • 2nd place: The World beneath us by Rifky Wijanarko

Highly Commended

  • Table for one by Danielle Thompson

People's Choice Winner:

  • Online: Mirror Mirror on the wall by Syeda Bareeha Fatima
  •  In person: A Medicated Faith by Paula Duncan 
Mirror Mirror on the wall, Judges' Winner and People's Online Choice Winner

Syeda Bareeha Fatima

School of Social Science

Who is the enemy amongst us all? This photo of a walk-through security scanner leading into a kaleidoscopic corridor represents the most common imagery of (in)security in the Global War on Terror (GWoT): that the enemy is elusive, yet ever present. The curation hides the violence inherent in security practices and pushes the onlooker into an ongoing moment of conflict, forcing them to interpret ‘potential’ threats. My research examines the depiction of heroes, victims, and enemies in Pakistani popular culture during GWoT. By doing so, it highlights how war is framed, perceived, and legitimised in the everyday.


Image taken by me at the entrance of the War on Terror Galley of Pakistan Army Museum, Lahore in November 2019.

The world beneath us, Judges' 2nd Place

Rifky Wijanarko

School Geosciences 

Seismic reflection data has enabled us to image the subsurface underneath us and its associated structures. We can interpret this data, correlate it with rocks exposed in outcrops, and create complex geological cross-sections that go kilometres deep underground. This has allowed us to have a better understanding of the Earth's processes and unravel its complex geological history.

My research focuses on using this understanding to create holistic and robust geological models of sedimentary basins in North-East England and the North Sea that will enable us to assess the various geological options that will help decarbonise the UK.

A Medicated Faith, People's In Person Choice Winner

Paula Duncan

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy and Art History

What happens when our religious traditions begin to do more harm than good to our mental health? Does it have to be a choice between religion or therapy? Are there other people, like me, who found reading the Bible frightening? Or who found being in church upsetting?

I aim to understand the way in which Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects our experience of faith, and our relationship with God. First, I want to break through the stereotypes of OCD. After that, I can start to write theology that supports those receiving medical treatment for the condition.

Table for one, Highly Commended

Danielle Thompson

School of Biological Sciences/QUADRAT DTP

If we all ordered the same meal at the same restaurant day after day, chaos would quickly ensue. If you’re not the quickest or strongest, how would you compete for your spot at the table? Competition in animal communities can force individuals to diversify their diet by eating elsewhere or eating something different altogether. But this is only possible if other options are available. By investigating how competition and habitat diversity interact to influence seabird diet and feeding behaviour, we can better understand ecological and evolutionary processes which determine whether both individuals and populations thrive or survive.

The Killer in the Rye

Ryan Weir

School of Biological Sciences/QUADRAT DTP, Queen's University Belfast

Plant parasitic nematodes are among of the world’s most ubiquitous parasites contributing to over 10% of life-sustaining crop losses annually; costing the global economy over 100 billion dollars. They embed themselves into plant roots creating “knots”. Manipulating the roots, they gorge on the plants source of life.

I seek to find solutions within the plant itself. Plants release a cocktail of chemicals from their roots. Some chemicals released are designed to repel parasites from finding the root system. Yet crop breeding inadvertently muted the strength of repellents. Restoring these repellent mechanisms in plants offers a sustainable approach to parasite control.


When a human builds a home for birds

Theophile Robert

School of Social Science

We, humans, live a in a world that we tend to close to other living beings. In this short cartoon, I show the problem that my thesis is about: while we want to preserve bird lives around us, we take away bird spaces. The cartoon shows how sometimes we do it in the most innocent of manners, and ask us to reconsider the kind of relation we want to have to birds around us.

Art in rocks

Phoebe Sleath

School of Geosciences

In the 19th century, scientists started to record their observations of the natural world in the field through watercolour sketches and photography, then publishing and debating their findings. This rapidly advanced the understanding of scientific concepts across disciplines. In the Northwest Highlands of Scotland, geologists discovered the roots of continental collision and defined thrust faults – when older rocks are thrust up and over younger rocks. In my research, I look at the progression of ideas through imagery of thrust structures in the UK and the Alps, from first fieldwork sketches and snapshots to publication in scientific journals.

Sealed with wax and time

Richard Andrew Balas

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History

Wax seals transcend time and symbolise the beauty in the broken. The beeswax, parchment, and imprint conjoin to create a symbol of authority that could strike any range of emotions to their recipient. My research focuses on the financial state of the Colleges of St Mary Winton between 1485-1548 and to what extent revenue from estates impacted the religious and educational quality of these two colleges.

I believe this will bring new understanding to the wider dissolution of religious communities in the 1530s and 1540s and illustrate how an academic emphasis contributed to a few colleges surviving the reforms.

Paradise Lost

Sarah Douglas

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History

My MRes is an autoethnographic exploration of my lived experience of spiritual abuse from an autistic perspective.

As soon as I saw this sculpture at Kew I felt a connection that resonated deeply with my soul trauma. It speaks to me of the fragmentation and loss of my autistic self, creativity and worth in the midst of what should be the verdant, lush growth of a faith nurtured by creation. Abundant life is all around, yet I am dying, disappearing, silenced and unseeing.

Paradise has been poisoned by spiritual abuse, but my antidote is storytelling, speaking truth and seeking change.


Clearwater Canyon

Oliver Button

School of Geosciences

I am applying outcrop analogues from Utah to help characterize the distribution and extent of dryland rivers, aeolian dunes, and playa lakes for the Upper Rotliegend Group (Dutch Offshore); a prolific reservoir for natural gas, and a likely candidate for CCS and geothermal.

I will be measuring and drawing up sedimentary logs at various outcrops across SE Utah to discover how the ancient depositional environment of a similar system changes with space and time - which shall later be applied to 'fill the gaps' between subsurface datasets in the SNS. Here is an image of an ancient fossilised forest from the Permian, 290 million years ago, sitting below modern trees in Clearwater Canyon, Utah.


A Riddle of Religious Folktales

Megan Nolen

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History

For almost 200 years, a variety of Mormon folktales have been passed from pulpit to pew. But what “deep doctrine” are these stories relaying? In retelling that American Bigfoot is truly the biblical brother Cain, cursed to wander the Earth seeking to destroy the most righteous, what theological threads are members truly alluding to?

Here, the head of the Prophet Joseph Smith graces quartzite sphynx, symbolizing faith and rational working together to solve the mysteries of life. Through the rational unravelling of Mormon folktales, we can determine how Latter-day Saints members use them to interact with their faith.

Diversity is Key

Ann-Kristin Kaune

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition

Being part of the human microbiota, the yeast C. albicans lives peacefully with us – usually. However, if a person has a compromised immune system, C. albicans can cause an infection. Infections by C. albicans can range from thrush to life-threatening sepsis.

My project focuses on the diversity of the C. albicans species. This is especially interesting since differences in the outer hull of the yeast cell can influence how effectively the yeast is combatted by the immune system. Likewise, some drugs may work better or worse against certain strains. Understanding C. albicans diversity is key to fighting life-threatening infections.

Eider and Seek

Alusia Malinowska

School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, QUADRAT DTP

A female eider duck sits on a nest, while the camera beside her provides us a glimpse into the fate of eggs she is incubating. Will they hatch, or will the nest be predated or ultimately abandoned?

Small offshore islands are refuges for breeding birds, such as eider ducks, however they are threatened by the introduction and subsequent incursion of non-native mammalian predators. By investigating hatching success on islands with introduced predators (rats and ferrets) and comparing this with islands that are predator free, we can further understand what impact non-native species have on ground nesting birds.

King of the Jungle

Onyedikachi Madueke

School of Social Science

We know the lion is the acclaimed king of the jungle, so prey like Zebra don’t share the same space with it for a long time.  Ideally, the state is the most powerful actor that uses legitimate force to provide security. Although states also face non-state actors that use force to achieve their aim, strong states do not tolerate such for a long time. Persistent armed conflicts like Boko Haram threatens lives but also raise doubts about the capacity of the Nigerian state to provide security. Why are Zebras having a field day while the lion watches? Something is wrong, this research seeks to find out what.

Radium Lines

Laura Goyhenex

School of Social Sciences

The mining and transportation of uranium ore between the 1930s and the 1960s in Canada is part of the numerous industrial cumulative impacts affecting First Nations. Like the Radium King, which used to barge uranium ore on the Radium Line, now in the backyard of the Northern Life Museum, Fort Smith, the evidence of uranium ore transportation and spillage are getting eroded by time. As a part of a First Nation-led initiative to clean up its territory, my research investigates how communities are remembering and dealing with these radioactive remnants that deeply impact(ed) their traditional lifestyle, economies, paths, and health.

Tiny acts of tenderness

Sandra Arroyo Sanchez

School of Biological Sciences

For thousands of years, we have mined Earth’s splendid landscapes for precious minerals. Massive piles of waste loom over mining areas, and toxic elements are released into the environment. These contaminants put our very existence at risk. Nevertheless nature, precious indeed, has a way to protect us. Toxic elements are trapped inside flamboyant crystalline structures, which limit their mobility.

In this micrograph, lead (Pb) is contained as pyromorphite (bright sharp features) in a single soil particle. Pyromorphite is a low-solubility mineral, unlikely to be dissolved and absorbed inside the human gastrointestinal tract. A microscopic marvel of nature’s perfect tenderness.

Image created with the help and support of technician John Still (ACEMAC).


Attitudes Towards Teaching Literacy

Hisham Alshareef

School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture

The aim of my research is to shed light on the importance of teachers' attitudes towards using modern teaching methods. It focuses on investigating the effect of positive and negative attitudes and the different levels of knowledge of phonics teaching method on the teaching practice. It also sheds light on the teachers’ willingness to engage in professional development courses that might help to enhance their performance while adopting new methods. In addition, it explores the efficacy of the teaching practice and their effect on the students’ achievements.

Is natural farming sustainable?    

Rujuta Nalavade

School of Biological Sciences

In India traditional knowledge of farming has found its way back, replacing chemical fertilizers and pesticides with jeevamrutham (cow dung and urine) and kashayam (botanical extracts). The government is promoting natural farming, a state Andhra Pradesh is aiming to enrol all its farmers to grow chemical-free produce. But how does a farmer perceive it, what are the motivations and barriers to adopt natural farming? Is it really low cost? Does it affect crop growth, yield, and soil carbon in any way? How do crops get enough nitrogen and how much greenhouse gas is emitted? This is my quest for answers!

Playing the mythical hunter

Benoit Saba

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy and Art History

What do the Greek myth of Herakles and the Inuit ritual with Sedna have in common? The comparison of these two cultures interests me because they represent symbolically the hunter. Myth and rite act together, using the same dynamism to pass this figure, regenerate and remind a hunt, through generations. My thesis is that they involve a memorial work using several strategies. Just like the Inuit child in the drawing, Inuit and Greek people – through the ritual – play the myth of this hunter, singing, dancing and wearing masks to be like him and go back to a mythical past time.

Shellfish DNA

Tilly Scott

School of Biological Sciences

I'm Tilly, a scientist and artist. Transposable elements (TEs) exist in the genomes of all animals and plants. TEs are sections of DNA that can copy and paste themselves. Usually, TEs are stopped by their host as TE duplication is often harmful. In humans TEs cause cancer. However, we think that TE proliferation allowed amphipods to colonise the deep sea by generating beneficial adaptations, like the ability to withstand tremendous pressures. I’m using samples from the Mariana Trench and a supercomputer to show that TEs were helpful in deep-sea amphipods. This will aid our understanding of rapid adaptive evolution.

Hold Me But Let Me Go

Taymara Jagmohan

School of Law

Keeping the energy of the Sun is a luminescent task, but it is the petroleum industry which makes it a nightmare. Given that Guyana is a nascent petrol state, and its lantern needs to fly; the general health, safety and environmental legislation present would not match the sophisticated petroleum industry. Thus, my research focuses on finding the better health, safety and environmental regime between the U.K. and U.S. safety regimes for Guyana, as they have each tried and test this flight a thousand times over. Perhaps a regime with lessons from both jurisdictions is the spark Guyana needs.'

Heralding of the Norðmenn

Hamza Aziz

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy and Art History

My thesis aims to challenge the long-held negative portrayal of Vikings in modern discourse by examining medieval sources and their notions of behaviour and sins. By contextualising the medieval scholasticism, my study will adopt a literary methodology to analyse the sources and uncover the underlying social norms of the time. The focus will be on understanding how these codes influenced the actions of the Vikings and the portrayal of their behaviour in the sources. By examining the sources through a contextualised lens, I will seek to provide a more nuanced understanding of the Vikings and their place in medieval society.

Approaching John 19:34-37 as a Verbal Icon

Christopher Powers

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy and Art History


Dust darkens; Blood flows from on High

The Soldier sure now; He has Died

A filthy Lance divides the Veil

The Mother groans in her Travail

And raised upon Golgotha’s Tree

The Man Expires in agony.


Yet to John’s eyes of Easter Faith

Heaven opens at this place

For here in Curse-Crowned Flesh they See

The Consummate Epiphany:

The Son Descending from Above

Revealing God Himself as Love.


This Lowly Cross, is Heaven’s Throne

High, Lifted Up, in Glory shown;

And here ‘midst circling angels Stands

The Living One, the Risen Lamb.


In all my Research, this is my Plea:

That as John Saw, so I would See.


Gender Bias In AI

Jacobo Azcona

School of Natural and Computing Science

AI systems learn and reinforce biases from human language. For example, certain adjectives are associated with specific genders, like "warm," "caring," and "gentle" with females and "competent," "analytical," and "self-sufficient" with males. These biases can affect how AI systems behave when performing tasks. I want to understand AI bias to prevent it from impacting humans, such as with gender-occupation biases (i.e. male engineers, female nurses). I study how certain words can trigger biased behaviours in the AI and affect human psychology through different interactions. As applications of AI increase, we must learn how to avoid harmful biases to emerge.

Geothermal in your hand

Joseph Ireland

School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University Belfast, QUADRAT DTP

This Sherwood Sandstone core was retrieved from a depth of 666m near Limavady, Northern Ireland. The sediment deposition occurred by a large river system during the Triassic period; 245 – 250 million years ago. Hot water up to 90⁰c flows through the individual sand grains at depths up to 2km. I have chosen this image of the Sherwood in my hand to make the invisible visible. For too long geothermal has remained the lonely secret in Northern Ireland. Through our research, we aim to design a geothermal vision model for building the renewable heating sector – a huge step towards net zero.