The Journal of Undergraduate Science and Technology (JUST)
Posted on: June 13, 2014 by: Stephen Rose
College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
University of Exeter
The Journal of Undergraduate Science and technology (JUST) aims to acknowledge, celebrate and showcase undergraduate research being carried out by students within the University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. The Journal, as well as providing undergraduate students with an opportunity to develop their writing and presentation skills, also enables them to engage with the wider ‘STEM’ communities within the University and beyond and to exchange ideas and share intellectual activity. The Journal is complemented by an annual undergraduate research ‘JUST’ conference which gives students the experience of presenting their work to their peers and an invited audience of academic colleagues and the wider STEM community. The conference also includes poster presentations which have been produced as assessed components of coursework.
By publishing their work in print and online our students are making a real contribution to encouraging the national culture of undergraduate research championed by the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) whilst forging what could be career-long links with their colleagues in other universities and academic communities. The ability to write well is regularly cited as a top ten skill by graduate employers. Interpersonal skills, particularly the ability to present complex ideas clearly and succinctly, are also highly-valued. ’ Writing for publication’ provides an excellent vehicle for developing these skills and fills the gap in the ‘research cycle’ identified by Walkington (2008) which concerns a vital aspect of how academics disseminate their own work through journals and conferences.
The first JUST Journal and annual conference premiered in June 2013 and the initiative has been given momentum this year through support from the University of Exeter’s Annual Fund which distributes monies donated by alumni to projects which aim to enhance the student experience.
The fund has also enabled undergraduate students from the University to attend the BCUR Annual Conference and Posters in Parliament event. The JUST Journal and annual conference are very much student-led and this year’s well-attended conference was superbly organised by a student intern who worked alongside a student editor and was supported by colleagues from the College’s Student Engagement team and an academic advisor.
Six presenters showcased their work at the recent annual JUST conference which included talks on various aspects of creating an ‘eco-car’ which was also exhibited at the event drawing the attention of delegates from across the STEM disciplines.
The JUST team and undergraduate students at the University of Exeter are looking forward to creating future editions of the Journal and in the run up to next year’s conference will be hoping to present at BCUR2015 at the University of Winchester.
Reference: Walkington, H. (2008), ‘Geoverse: piloting a National e-journal of undergraduate research in Geography’, Planet, vol. 20, pp. 41-46