Iowa State University Research Day 2020: Packed With Both New and Familiar Activities

Event Registration Now Open

By Paula Van Brocklin, Iowa State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Iowa State University Research Day 2020 is slated for March 25, and if you have attended or presented at past Research Day events, you’ll find all the familiar activities you’ve come to expect and enjoy. Additionally, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is featuring new and enhanced ways for campus researchers and scholars to participate this year.

New Poster Design

The new #betterposter template for research posters, which will be debuted during Iowa State University Research Day 2020.

All attendees interested in presenting a Research Day poster showcasing their research interests and project results are encouraged to consider using a new poster design, called the #betterposter. Designed to improve the presentation experience for both viewers and researchers, the revised poster template uses consistent color schemes, highlights critical information in an easy-to-read format, and utilizes plain language.

The OVPR is offering multiple instructional sessions ahead of Research Day to help presenters learn about the #betterposter design and how it can effectively communicate research to the public. Need some added incentive to try the new design? The OVPR will print and pay for the posters that use the design at Research Day. To qualify, select the #betterposter option during event registration, attend one of the training sessions, and submit your poster(s) for event approval by March 2.

“Poster presentations are a great way to visually share the importance and excitement of your work with others. Or they can be a messy compost heap of manuscript scraps, burying any potential interest under decaying piles of jargon and ugly visuals. Too often they are the latter,” said Michael Dahlstrom, professor and interim director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, and member of the Research Day Faculty Advisory Committee. “The #betterposter design helps to focus the content and layout of a scientific poster to communicate what an audience actually wants.”

Enhanced Networking Opportunity

Networking has traditionally occurred spontaneously at Research Day. This year, however, the Research Day Steering Committee has carved out time during the day’s activities for attendees to participate in a Grand Challenge networking event. Participants will get a chance to meet with colleagues from various disciplines and explore initiatives related to Iowa State’s five grand challenge themes:

  • Promoting healthy lives
  • Building sustainable human and natural ecosystems
  • Creating next-generation materials and manufacturing technologies
  • Advancing data-driven discovery and secure cyber systems
  • Developing global citizens and vibrant societies

These discussions will be moderated by faculty members who are familiar with the theme areas.

“Research Day is a valuable platform for bringing the entire Iowa State research community together,” said Vice President for Research Sarah Nusser. “Focusing this year’s networking event specifically on our grand challenge themes will bring a sharper focus to this important opportunity for collaboration, and help spark big ideas that ultimately lead to interdisciplinary exploration of new solutions that benefit society.”

Keynote Address Kick Off

Because Iowa State’s research is so robust, it’s difficult to devote only one day to it. So, for the first time, Research Day 2020 will kick off the evening of March 24 to welcome science comedian Brian Malow as keynote speaker. During this public event, Malow will use humor to help Iowa State researchers and scholars better communicate their findings through topics like stage presence, connecting with audiences, using analogies, and abusing PowerPoint.

Familiar Favorites

As in previous years, Research Day 2020 will also offer opportunities for attendees to give lightning talks about their research focal areas, discover campus research services, and listen to stories of real-life research and scholarship experiences through Story Collider talks, modeled after the popular Story Collider podcast series.

Registration for both attendance and participation in Research Day 2020 is available online. Presenters must register by Feb. 7, and attendees should register by March 20.

More information about Research Day 2020, as well as past Research Day events, is now conveniently located in a new section of the OVPR website. Visit these pages for regular updates.