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Making Impactful Academic Posters and Presentations

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €299 per programme
More information 


Before it is officially published, most research is presented at conferences, interviews, and to peers. Improving the quality of research posters and presentations can lead to increased interest in the research, a better chance to be hired, and more valuable discussions and critiques. However, in a pool of tens or even hundreds of competing posters and presentations it is often hard to grasp and maintain the attention of people. Moreover, with the rise of online conferences and interviews, attention spans may arguably even shorter. Therefore, it is important to immediately grasp the attention of your audience, convey information in a concise manner and intrigue the audience members to think about the processes and outcomes of your research. In this course we will go over these aspects. Additionally, it will be discussed how to give a short pitch presentation so that colleagues learn about your research within 60 seconds, regardless of whether they stand next to your poster or not.

This course is applicable for people who give or create academic presentations or posters. Both STEM as well as humanities-style posters and presentations will be discussed.This course will also cover how to do well in poster and presentation competitions, such as the “3-minute Thesis” competition.

The motto of this course is learning by doing. After lectures discussing figure creation, writing short poster paragraphs and figure captions, and layouts of slides and posters, you will be divided in subgroups of three or four. With your subgroup you will make an academic poster or presentation with written notes. Within the next meeting we will discuss the content and design of the poster or presentation and whether anything can be improved. In the last meetings everyone will give short pitch presentations of their poster or presentation, or an original pitch on their individual research. Since multiple people work on one poster or presentation it is good to think about how you make your pitch unique and how it fits your style of presentation. In this meeting we will also discuss how the pitch would need to be modified if you would tell it without the poster or presentation with you.

Course Duration and Dates
This is a three week online course running from the 30th of November until the 18th of December, 2020 with two 2 hour synchronous meetings per week. The courses will be scheduled in Central European Time [CET] so it is possible that some time slots are not ideal for people in certain time zones. However, when scheduling the courses, we will try to take into account the different time zones as much as we can.

The number of credits earned after successfully concluding this course is the equivalent of 2 ECTS according to Maastricht University’s guidelines. For further information see the MSS terms and conditions

Dr. Ian Anthony

Ian Anthony is an assistant professor at the Maastricht Multimodal Molecular Imaging Institute (M4i). He received his doctorate in Chemistry from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He has taught highly-acclaimed workshops on mass spectrometry, won awards for scientific presentations and posters, and published his research in leading analytical chemistry journals. His research interests are in developing new imaging mass spectrometers and in combining multiple modes of imaging, such as mass spectrometry, electron microscopy, and spectroscopy.

1. Learning the basics of constructing academic posters and presentations
2. Developing the skills to deliver short “elevator” pitches to sell your research
3. Designing poster and presentations with the intention to stand out from all the others
4. Get ready for your first (online) conference!

Recommend literature
Since this course is more about your own creativity, no specific literature is required. However, we will begin by covering effective graphics. To that end:

Tufte, Edward R. The visual display of quantitative information. Graphics press, 2001.

Tufte, Edward R. Beautiful evidence. Graphics press, 2006.

Are books that are helpful for figure creation.

Poster and presentation software creation choice will be tailored to the class, however the course will be able to be completed with free and open-source software.

Teaching methods
▪ Lecture
▪ Work in subgroups

Assessment methods
▪ Final poster
▪ Presentation

Apply now! Fall semester 2020/21
Application deadline
Nov 19, 2020 23:59:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Nov 30, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2020/21
Application deadline
Nov 19, 2020 23:59:59
Europe/Amsterdam time
Studies commence
Nov 30, 2020

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States