There were some DCPE undergraduates and fresh graduates who told me the issue of publishing research papers (especially batch 16). Because they were unable to do experiments in this pandemic. If you can manage to do the experiments and proceed with the publication, it is the best option. But I am aware that it may not be the practical scenario. Thus, I remembered that my recent experience would be one solution for your issue and thought its relevance after Thushara sir told me to share it. This is one of my experiences regarding a research conference I recently attended in Singapore.

As a 1st year PhD student, I must complete some modules like you are doing in the bachelors. One of the modules I did in 1st semester was “Processing of Organic Materials”. In that module, the final assessment was to create a “Poster” (research poster is one type of presentation of your research). Professor conducted a zoom meeting and told us to do a literature review first and then make a poster according to the given template and guidelines. Thus, based on the given areas/sub-areas, I selected a topic by myself and referred to relevant research papers. We only had to analyse the existing research, brainstorm, and make the poster like a review paper. So, the important thing is that we didn’t do any experiments or our own lab work for that topic. Because it is a separate topic from our PhD research. But we had to make that poster with the data/information from others research. Our lecturer also told us that there would be an upcoming research conference and the interested students can present those prepared posters at that conference.

Therefore, I submitted my poster to that conference. But my issue was that whether the conference would accept such a poster that didn’t include my research data. So, I again got confirmation from the assistant coordinator of that module. He mentioned to me "you can add your ideas regarding the recommendations for future research". The poster was presented on the day of the conference, but the acceptance for the conference was based on the abstract of that poster. Thus, I had to make an abstract. For that, I reviewed the existing research and gave suggestions for future research in the abstract. Hence, this gave me an opportunity to do an abstract publication (with poster) without conducting the research. It may be right that not all the conferences would accept abstracts/ extended abstracts without your own research data. But I believe that you can find some similar opportunities. If you can write a review paper in this situation, it would be the perfect solution. But as an undergraduate, acceptance of your review paper by a good journal may not be an easy task. However, there are all types of paths you can try. That’s why I need to share my experience with you. No matter where you will be in the future (academia or industry), making a publication will enrich your profile (not only for the higher study application requirement). So why do we allow the challenges in this pandemic to obstruct our future opportunities?

For your further reference, this is the link to the conference I attended:

International Conference on "Materials for Humanity (MH 21)” was organized by Material Research Society (MRS) Singapore in association with NTU, NUS, A*STAR Singapore. My poster was based on the addition of TiO2 nanoparticles to enhance the mechanical, physical and barrier properties of existing starch-based biocomposites for food packaging applications.