Doctoral Inaugural Lectures

The Doctoral College is at the heart of our postgraduate community and provides support to postgraduates across the University's three Colleges.

These Inaugural Lectures are where the very best of our research degree graduates get the chance to share their work and their passion for research with the University and the public. For the latest Doctoral College news and events, find us on Facebook.


We welcome the public audience to join us for our new series of the Doctoral Inaugural Lectures!

About this Event

These Inaugural Lectures are where the very best of our research degree graduates get the chance to return and share their work and their passion for research with the University and the public.

Lecture will run from 17:00-18:00 followed with a reception in the beautiful Fraser Noble Hall.

Free entry but booking essential!

See you there :)

Any dietary requirements please email

Our October speakers are

Using eye movements to understand the reading process - Dr Kayleigh Warrington, College of Life Sciences.

Reading is a complex skill that takes substantial time and effort to acquire and involves the precise co-ordination and integration of a range of visual, oculomotor, and cognitive processes. Poor reading ability can have a profound impact on daily life, affecting academic success, employability and economic welfare. Therefore, it is of considerable concern that numerous studies indicate that older adults (aged 65 + years) experience reading difficulties in comparison to young adults (aged 18-30 years) even in spite of adequate performance on standard tests of visual acuity. Despite these difficulties being well documented, little is known about the precise nature of adult age differences in reading or the mechanisms underlying these difficulties. This talk will discuss my PhD research, which focused on examining eye movements to further our understanding of the nature of adult age differences in reading.

At any one time, we can only view a small part of the text in detail, so we move our eyes in order to bring each new area of the text into high acuity vision. This process provides a series of visually detailed snapshots that we then integrate together to produce fluent reading. Therefore, eye tracking provides a highly detailed and precise record of the reading process. In this talk, I will outline the role of eye movements in visual processing, and more specifically, in reading. I will then highlight how studies of eye movements during reading can be used to investigate the mechanisms that underlie reading and language understanding across the lifespan.

Kayleigh completed her BSc at University of Leicester in 2014. During her undergraduate studies, Kayleigh completed an Experimental Psychology Society summer project with Dr Sarah White. This experience sparked Kayleigh’s interest in using eye tracking techniques to investigate the visual and cognitive processes underlying reading. Kayleigh then pursued this interest further, taking on a Research Assistant role in the department of Neuroscience Psychology and Behaviour and completing a part-time PhD focused on adult age differences in reading. During her PhD research, Kayleigh also developed an interest in reading in different languages and completed a 12 week study visit at Tianjin Normal University in China where she completed a series of experiments examining aging effects in the reading of Chinese.

Kayleigh completed her PhD in July 2018 and took on the role of Post-doctoral Research Associate again working with Dr Sarah White and Prof. Kevin Paterson on the ESRC funded project “Revealing the Implications of Reading Strategy for Reading Behaviour and Comprehension


A New Discipline: Cannabis and Cannabinoid Medicine - Dr Yewande Okuleye, College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

The intersection between patient activism, politics and the entrepreneurial initiative of Dr Geoffrey Guy in 1998, marked a watershed moment, for the beginning of cannabis-based medicine. Guy provided a solution to the intractable problem of formulating a standardised, pharmaceutical cannabis extract, to treat spasticity - a debilitating symptom of multiple sclerosis. The resultant product, Sativex, inserted cannabis into the biomedical framework. However, patient activism for access to cannabis, to treat childhood epilepsy complicated existing regulatory and medical frameworks. For example, Cannabidiol, (CBD), the active ingredient in Epidiolex, prescribed to treat childhood epilepsy, is also promoted as a wellness product and a commodity. This fluidity, challenged existing categories and raised questions about how cannabis and cannabinoid medicine, will be researched, developed and regulated.

My talk illustrates, how my motivation and commitment to develop a strong public engagement, pathway, in tandem with my academic research, shaped my scholar identity and practice. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)/GW Pharmaceuticals Collaborative PhD award, served as a springboard to initiate dialogue with multiple stakeholders. This problematised my research in interesting and unexpected ways, delineating the contours of a new terrain and discipline.

Yewande Okuleye is an interdisciplinary scholar with degrees in biochemistry, fine art, research methodology and the history of medicine. Prior to returning to academia, Yewande worked as a chemist at the Body Shop International and was part of the pioneering research and development team, which investigated animal testing alternatives and formulated innovative hair, skin, perfumery and well-being products, which defined the natural and ethical skin care movement of the 1990s. This remit included framing scientific, cultural and social meanings of ‘natural’ for the lay public, scientific and well-being sectors. Yewande later lectured on the Cosmetic Science degree course, University of the Arts, London, where she gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning, in HE. Yewande has conducted pedagogic research and used focus group, action research, oral history interviews, and digital ethnography as research methodologies.

Her PhD thesis, Reclaiming Cannabis Medicine, Medical and Well-Being Narratives and Counter Narratives (1992- 2019), investigated how different stakeholders negotiated the barriers and opportunities to develop cannabis and cannabinoid medicine. Research findings indicate the stigma and misunderstandings associated with cannabis drug, an unstable cannabis medicine lexicon and the lack of robust clinical evidence, requires an interdisciplinary problem-solving approach to engage with an emerging, divergent cannabis medicine marketplace. Yewande is a member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM), a member of the educational advisory committee and lecturer on the Masterclass Medicinal Cannabis, where she has delivered lectures internationally. The emergence of cannabis and cannabinoid medicine as a new discipline situates Yewande’s expertise at the intersection of cannabis and cannabinoid academia, policy, and the nascent cannabis industry.


Thank you for all the work you put into running and advertising the lectures tonight, despite my nerves I had a great time and really enjoyed giving my lecture!” – Doctoral Inaugural Lecture Speaker

…I just wanted to say thank you for all of your hard work in setting this up. It was lovely to share my work with such a nice audience – Doctoral Inaugural Lecture Speaker

On Thursday evening, the 14th June 2018, I attended the Doctoral Inaugural Lectures at the George Davies Centre……what a privilege and an honour it turned out to be……Having since pondered the facts and ideas that were shared by the two presenters, I have concluded that what the University of Leicester has done is to provide a wonderfully supportive platform on which these and other dedicated, brave, focused, committed individuals has led to their research for the greater good and likely impact upon the improvement of humankind, causing them to reach out effectively in an exchange of marvelousness……..Thank you to everyone associated with the event – Doctoral Inaugural Lecture Delegate

Two fantastically clear and confident speakers – was a pleasure to be in the audience! – Doctoral Inaugural Lecture Delegate

Two fantastically clear and confident speakers – was a pleasure to be in the audience!” – DIL Audience Member
“Excellent event. Well done all” – DIL Audience Member
“I was very impressed with both speakers…” – DIL Audience Member
“thank you for all the work you put into running and advertising the lectures tonight, despite my nerves I had a great time and really enjoyed giving my lecture!” – Dr Shane Hussey, DIL Speaker
“thank you so much…for such a wonderful occasion. It was such a privilege to be able to deliver an inaugural lecture..” – DIL Speaker
“the two lectures last night were great!” - Member of the Public
"It was lovely to share my work with such a nice audience” - Academic from School of Education
"Thanks a lot for organising this! I really enjoyed the event" - Academic from School of Business
I was so pleased to be invited, such an honour after having enjoyed my time during my PhD so much at Leicester. It was also much more fun than I anticipated judging other presentations - I learned a lot about presentation styles. - Dr Lisa Benjamin, DIL Speaker

It was such an honour to be nominated to give the doctoral inaugural lecture. This is not something you think about as a PhD candidate, so it was a bonus to graduating. Thank you for celebrating my success in this way, as I could share this with the public,  the academic community and my friends and family in such a warm and open atmosphere. Keep up the good work – DIL Speaker



Check out our intriguing archives here - Doctoral Inaugural Lectures Archive.


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