Talking about research in three minutes
Have you ever tried to explain your life’s work in just three minutes to a large, and hopefully interested, audience? It’s a serious challenge that can only be met by those who are both great researchers and great communicators.
Last Friday, the Faculty of Science held its third annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. This event makes research students think outside the parameters of what they’ve been taught and asks them to explain the reasoning behind their research thesis, how they are doing it and why, all in a three minute time limit.
The rules are simple: using only a single PowerPoint slide and appropriate language, students have three minutes to engage, entertain and explain their research thesis topic to a wide range of audiences.
Ten research students from the Faculty of Science presented their work to a full lecture theatre of about 110 science academics, colleagues, support staff and students. Cash prizes of $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $250 for the people’s choice award were up for grabs including the opportunity to compete in the UTS final.
As usual the competition was fierce, with a vast array of topics covering all the science disciplines. First place went to Louisa Giblin for her presentation on “Heart rate variability to predict dementia”. The runner up was Hannah Lloyd for her biodiversity topic “Are all habitat’s created equal?” and the people’s choice prize was awarded to Verena (Regina) Taudte and her forensic topic on gunshot residue “More bang for your buck!”
This is what Louisa Giblin had to say about her win, “I wasn’t expecting to win the science competition, especially against so many other passionate and fascinating science research students. Public speaking always scares me but in order to promote your research widely it’s an important skill to have.”
“It was challenging preparing a short speech about my research concepts and outcomes without using science specific terms. I had to keep cutting it down to make it punchy and engaging.”
“I’m excited and a little nervous about competing in the UTS final but I think the way to win will be to drive home the important messages about the research by being clear, concise and engaging with the crowd,” she said.
Guest judge Lucy Jones, Manager of the University Graduate School said, “Research students from UTS Science are always strong contenders in this competition. I was really pleased to be invited to judge the event this year and I really enjoyed the experience.”
“As always, there were great quality presentations on varied, exciting and interesting topics. I congratulate all the participants and the winners and can’t wait for the UTS final on the 5th of September.”
The Faculty of Science will enter two contestants in the overall UTS Three Minute Thesis Final held on Wednesday 5 September 2012. Good luck to Louisa Giblin and Hannah Lloyd who go on to the UTS final. Hopefully one of them will win a place in the national final later this year.