Speaking in the seminar

The student seminar deviates somewhat from a regular seminar. The focus is on developing communication and presentation skills by feedback from your peers. The audience will consist mainly of other doctoral students with a background from mathematics and statistics. Most will not be familiar with your specific field of research, so keep this in mind when preparing your talk.

The structure of the seminar is the following. Each presentation begins with the speaker introducing their goal for the talk followed by the actual presentation. After the talk there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Last there is a feedback session, where we discuss how the goal of the talk was achieved as well as some general feedback.


Preparing your talk

Choose the goal, topic, key message and target time for your talk. Keep the audience in mind when choosing these. Prepare a maximum 45 minute talk, which you start by presenting your goal for the talk. The preferred language is English, but if you have a specific reason you may give the talk in another language.

Setting a goal for what you wish to achieve with your presentation will give a clear objective and help you structure your talk. Your goal may be related to a science communication skill you want to develop, a specific presentation you want to feedback on, or to what you want to communicate to the audience. 

Examples of goals

You want to make a presentation popularising science.

You want to practice a presentation you will give elsewhere.

You want to give an insight into your field.

You want to practice presenting your own research to a broader audience.

Topic suggestions

A conference presentation (typically shorter than a seminar talk) with an introductory part where you present the background.

An overview of your field.

A classic problem or result.

New research within your field.

A skill you think would be useful for other students, for example best practices in scientific computing.


Feedback session

After the talk we will have a friendly feedback session in addition to the traditional seminar discussion about the topic. In the feedback session you will get constructive feedback on your presentation. The aim is not to evaluate you, but help you develop your presentation skills!

The organisers will provide a summary of the feedback session to the speaker after the seminar.

Questions to help get the discussion going:

1. Was the topic familiar to you? How does it relate to your research?

2. How was the goal of the talk achieved? Was the talk well adjusted to the audience?

3. Was there something in the talk you’d like to ask about?

4. Presentation skills like slides etc.


Attending the seminar

Attendants of the seminar are expected to take part in the discussion and feedback sessions. 


Course learning outcomes

Presenting and attending the seminar:

After completing the course, the doctoral candidates have learned scientific communication skills and are able to

  • prepare and hold a seminar presentation about their dissertation topic area
  • adjust a seminar presentation for a specified audience (a general scientific audience or an audience representing the same field)
  • answer questions from the audience clearly and appropriately
  • receive constructive feedback on clarity, structure, content and visual layout
  • further develop their presentation based on the received feedback
  • make questions about scientific presentations and give constructive feedback for the presenter.

Organising the seminar:

After completing the course, the doctoral candidates have learned organisational skills and are able to

  • invite seminar speakers
  • schedule, advertise and host an event
  • coordinate their work with the other organiser
  • keep official records on attendance
  • organise feedback sessions for the seminar speaker.