Energy Systems Engineering: Communicating Research

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The UCD Power & Energy Society Student Chapter invites you to attend and present your work at our inaugural PhD/Masters presentation competition on Monday the 9th June 2014 at Engineers Ireland, 22 Clyde Rd, Dublin 4.

Event Components

There are three main parts to the this event:

1. Thesis in Three Competition

Presenters are asked to deliver an “elevator pitch” overview of their work in just 3 minutes. This is a presentation with a twist; each speaker has just 3 slides which will automatically progress after 1 minute. The format is designed to be rapid paced and concise to give a flavour of the research without getting too technical or detailed. Students are judged on three criteria: Context, Clarity and Charisma.

The importance of presenting technical research in a clear, concise and imaginative manner has never been as important:

  • Today’s technical experts are required to explain complex issues to clients, members of the public and other stakeholders
  • Research ideas with commercialisation potential need to be pitched successfully at venture capitalists
  • Universities look for top researchers who have the ability to engage and inspire undergraduate students

We aim to provide a platform to researchers who strive to explain their research in clear and jargon-free language, meaning that the general public can understand the impact of our research work on their everyday lives.


2. International Coordination for Power Systems Research by Mark McGranaghan, Vice President of Power Delivery and Utilization for EPRI.

The Power System is undergoing dramatic changes as new technologies are providing tremendous opportunities to improve reliability, efficiency, effective integration of renewable generation, and integration of customer systems. The challenges of taking advantage of these technologies and optimizing investments in the system are tremendous. Research and development is more critical than ever, not only for these new technologies but also to effectively make these technologies and integral part of the grid operation and planning. Mark will discuss some of the most critical issues that need to be addressed in the R&D community and the importance of international collaboration in addressing these challenges.

3. A Farewell to Pie-Charts: Data Visualization for Power Systems Research by Dr Paul Cuffe, Senior Researcher at the Electricity Research Centre.

In his classic 1946 essay, ‘Politics and The English Language’, George Orwell assembles a “catalogue of swindles and perversions,” those “bad habits which spread by imitation” that bedevil written English. The ills he identifies – mixed metaphors, cliches, wordiness – give prose that is vague, dull, dense and muddled. Where language is sloppy, so too is thinking. In technical fields, where data visualizations are often opaque, insights are hidden. This talk, following the seminal work of Edward Tufte, will explore some of the many ways that data graphics can be misleading, and may even suggest where improvements can be made. There will be many scatterplots, and some discussion of potential improvements to the traditional single line diagram.

Paul Cuffe Visualisation_242


The winner of the presentation competition will receive a tablet and be put forward to compete at this years Thesis in Three national final. The national final is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and Innovation Dublin. There will also be a “people’s choice” prize as chosen by audience members.


The judges for the Thesis in Three competition are:

Dr. Aoibhéann Bird, Education and Outreach Manager (UCD & DCU), and organiser of the National Thesis in Three competition.

John Geoghegan, Senior Commercial Development Associate at the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) and developer of the Smart Grid Innovation Hub.

Michael Power, Senior Researcher at the Electricity Research Centre (ERC), UCD.


09:30 – 10:00:  Registration, coffee & tea
10:00 – 10:15:  Opening Speech
10:15 – 11:00:  Expert talk by Mark McGranaghan
11:00 – 12:30:  Thesis in Three presentations
12:30 – 13:30:  Lunch/networking
13:30 – 14:30:  Thesis in Three presentations
14:30 – 15:15:  “A Farewell to Pie-Charts: Data Visualization for Power Systems Research” by Dr Paul Cuffe
15:15 – 15:30:  Prize giving for Best Presentation and the Audience Choice Award
15:30 onward: Social event

Event Location

The event will be hosted at Engineers Ireland, 22 Clyde Road, Dublin 4.

Map to Engineers Ireland, Clyde RoadPublic transport options to the venue can be found using Hit The Road.