Masters and PhD students shine in UTS Science Three Minute Thesis competition
Kate Harvey, Krishneel Singh, Professor Mike Ford and Jeffrey Kelleway
On Thursday 30 April, the Faculty of Science held its annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.
With only a single PowerPoint slide to aid them, participants had three minutes to present their thesis topics using language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
Anyone within UTS Science who is enrolled in a Masters by research or PhD was eligible to enter.
From 3.30pm, 20 talented students presented their theses to a full Green Lecture Theatre.
While there was a focus on life sciences this year, each entry was unique, ranging from an investigation of antibiotic resistance in livestock to a comparison of the effects of smoking in women and men.
First place and a cash prize of $500 went to Krishneel Singh for his presentation “From Belly to Bone,” second place and $250 went to forensic student, Kate Harvey “New Insights into the Outside of an Old Foe” and the people’s choice award and $250 went to Jeffrey Kelleway for his environmental topic “Does Our Carbon Problem have a Coastal Solution?”
Mike Ford, Associate Dean of Research in Science and host of the event, said it was the real world impact of Krishneel’s research and the compelling way he told his story that got him over the line.
Krishneel’s thesis discussed the possibility of turning fat cells into bone by utilising coral implants, which would then decrease the need for permanent metallic implants.
“With an ageing population, which will make up a majority of our society in 5 years time, there is an urgent need to subsidise the imminent costs on our healthcare system,” he said. “This is where my particular topic in my PhD research comes in, by providing an alternate source of medical implants that can essentially heal patients quicker in a cost effective manner.”
Krishneel said that watching last year’s 3MT competition sparked his interest in becoming one of the competitors himself.
“Condensing what we PhD students spend 3-4 years of our lives studying into a 3 minute talk sounded like a daunting challenge, however, it was one I was willing to take for the opportunity to present my work to a [non-specialist] audience.”
He will go on to represent the Faculty of Science in the UTS final in September.
“I think it will be a great opportunity to present my work and I'm quite excited to see what the other students are working on in different faculties,” he said. “Public speaking hasn't always come easy to me, so it will be a great experience to get the upper hand on acquiring this particular skill.”
Last year’s winner, Rebecca Wood, went on to win the UTS Final and advanced to the national 3MT competition at the University of Western Australia.
Demand for a spot in this year’s competition was high, according to Professor Ford.
“[Each year] we are seeing the overall quality of the presentations moving up,” he said. “There were many more potential applicants this year, in fact, we didn't have enough space on the program to give everyone a spot.”
He also said the competition is important in helping research students clarify their objectives.
“It gives students needed practice in pitching an idea to a non-expert audience and [this is] something that I'm sure all our students will do at various stages during their professional lives,” he said. “It’s fun and a great way to celebrate our research and to congratulate our excellent research students.”
A staff celebration BBQ followed the competition, where participants, supporters and staff celebrated the official launch of the new Science and Graduate School of Health Building.
We wish Krishneel luck in the UTS final, the date of which is yet to be confirmed.