The UTS 3MT winner Alex Belli represented UTS at 2017 Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition, hosted by UQ. PhD students from 55 of the best institutions across Australia, New Zealand, Northeast and Southeast Asia explained the who, what, when, where and why of their PhD research on stage in front of a panel of judges and a wide audience of students, staff and friends and families. Finalists won cash prizes. The 2017 winner received funding to attend and entry into the Falling Walls Lab Finale and Conference in Berlin 8/9 November 2017.
2017 UTS winners
The judges had the difficult task of choosing the winners for 2017. The 2017 prizes were awarded to:
- Alex Belli (UTS Business School)
First prize: $3000 and will represent UTS at 2017 Asia-Pacific 3MT competition
- Caitlin Lawson (Faculty of Science)
- Jeremy Kohlitz (Institute for Sustainable Futures)
People's Choice: $1000
2017 UTS finalists
In 2017, eight finalists presented to the panel of judges, Professor Elizabeth Sullivan, Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Wanning Sun, Professor of Public Communication and Dr Nural Cokcetin, joint runner-up of the FameLab 2017 world championships with Ms Lesly Parker, Media and Public Relations Manager from UTS Strategic Communication as the MC.
Alex Belli (UTS Business School)
Alex talks about how his research will help consumers "break the binge", and help marketers and policy makers implement strategies to promote consumers’ wellbeing and quality of life.
Good evening everyone.
I would like to start this presentation by asking you a very simple question.
Have a look at this beautiful cake behind my back, and think about the following:
If I told you that you only had three minutes to eat this beautiful cake, until the end of my presentation, what would you do?
In my opinion, what you will do is you would engage in an activity that I called “binge eating”. Binging in general has been considered as this period of excessive indulgence in a specific activity, could be either eating or drinking or even watching TV shows, and I'm pretty sure that everybody knows what I'm talking about.
Well, despite how good binging could be, it also has some very, very bad drawbacks. For example, it has very high societal cost, for example, depression, obesity, diabetes. And of course I thought as part of my PhD would be interesting to actually have a look at the causes and solutions for binging.
But you might be wondering: -“how did I start this journey of my PhD?”. Well, everything started a few years ago, when I was in class with my marketing research students, and we were starting discussing the consequences of the lockout laws on consumption. A lot of people were actually saying that, because of this new deadline of 3 am on alcohol consumption, a lot of people would start binging, being drinking earlier on during the night so they could still get drunk and enjoy their night out afterwards. So this got me thinking a little bit more and that made me come up with my research question: do time constraints that actually make people binge, did it increase our tendency to binge more? Well, I did some experimental work, and the answer is yes.
And how did I do that? Well, I made people eat cake, at the time pressure. Very easy, but it is not the entire contribution of my thesis. I'm also trying to come up with some interventions that I could propose to marketing practitioners but also public policy, hmm public policy makers, as a way to make people stop binging under time pressure when the consumption is under time constraints.
I decided to devise this savouring mindset that will help consumers decrease the level of consumption. How does this work if we go back to the example of the cake, if I told you that you only had three minutes to eat the cake, but I asked you to put to pay attention to the different layers of flavour of the cake and the emotions that eating the cake gives you, you probably shift your focus away from the time ticking by on the actual consumption of the of the cake as well. As this will decrease the level of consumption overall. So what is the main takeaway of my thesis? Well we need to learn how to savour, not devour. So next time you have a piece of cake, make sure that you savour it, you slow down, and enjoy that cake as well. Thank you. [Applause]
Catriona Fisk (Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building)
Catriona introduces her research in fashion history, exploring the clothes of expectant and nursing mothers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
I'm here to ask an important question: have you spent much time thinking about your three times great-grandmother's underwear? No? I'm shocked.
Well, rest assured, because I have! I'm a fashion historian, so I study the dress of the past.
Picture an 18th or 19th century dress, something elaborate and formal, tight waists and big skirts. Now picture that same dress worn by a pregnant woman, not so easy. Yet a woman 200 years ago would have an average of six children. By the mid-1800s 35% of married British women had more than eight. This represents a huge swathe of a woman's life and wardrobe. So it's surprising that we know little about how they actually dressed for pregnancy, or of that matter breastfeeding, at the time. It's that oversight my research set out to correct.
I travelled to museums on three continents, studying surviving garments. Drawing on material culture, a field which casts objects as emissaries from the past that open up often overlooked experiences, I tracked down measured and catalogued 300 garments for pregnancy and nursing. Clothes tell stories about who we are, and the stories that emerge from let out waist lines and slits cut through bodice’s were of both fashion and reproductive bodies. Negotiating motherhood is as complicated and relevant today as it was 200 years ago, and these stories undermine the idea of past mothers as undressed and invisible.
Take this object, a maternity corset, its wearers name has been lost to history, but its details reveal how she dressed. The very idea of a maternity corset may strike horror in contemporary eyes. But this piece has been altered to create space and add support, not to suppress and repress. Armed with such a garment, a pregnant woman could continue the gendered but hardly invisible activities of her normal life.
How we choose to cover ourselves is, and always has been, political, social and contentious. Just days ago, a woman breastfeeding at the Victoria and Albert Museum was asked to cover up, despite being surrounded by bare breasted statues. We articulate our traditions and measure our progress relative to a perception of the past. Any corruption of that corrupts our progress in the present. A fuller picture of how women managed the intimate and public aspects of motherhood in history is a fairer base for how we treat them today. I can't ask your grandmother's great-grandma how she managed, but I can ask her clothing. Thank you. [Applause]
Pauline Kohlhoff (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences)
Pauline's research looks at what high school maths teachers value in student learning, and how they juggle the competing demands of assessment requirements, and preparation for life after school.
When was the last time you did a maths exam?
Do you remember cramming the night before, and wondering when you will ever need to solve differential equations after you leave school?
Well, I'm one of those mad people who has chosen to do maths for a living. And when I don't know how to do something, it's not actually a big deal, because I can learn to do it - anywhere, anytime, through this wonderful device in my pocket.
These are all math related things that I've learned to do online. In the real world, nobody minds if I have to look things up. So surely we can make use of this perfectly legitimate and completely authentic way of working, in high school maths.
But when I step into a classroom, I have to face an economic reality. In my classroom, I have to worry about helping my students make it to the next stage of their life, and to get there they need to do well in exams. It's pretty clear they know this, too. I'm sure we've all been in a classroom where someone has said, “Miss - Is this going to be in the exam?” And sadly we simply cannot value mobile learning by letting them use their devices in an exam. Because of course there's every chance that someone will think it's worthwhile to contact a helpful friend.
So what to do? How do we recognize the value of mobile learning, if it's not going to be in the exam?
My research is looking at how teachers respond to this quandary. I am observing teachers who teach with mobile technology, to see how they justify what they do. And what I'm seeing is that, even though they come from very different schools, the teachers’ own actions indicate that they don't think mobile learning is effective for improving exam results. So even teachers who really believe in the importance of real-life authentic learning, end up stopping all that, to teach to the test. It’s almost as if our assessments don't value these skills that mobile learning is uniquely able to develop.
So if teachers are choosing to engage with mobile learning, then what skills do they actually want their students to acquire? And how do these valued skills align with what's important for performance in high stakes exams, and with what's important for life after school?
What I hope to find out is what each teacher does to trade off these different imperatives. And to do this, I'm watching them teach, I'm talking to them about the kind of learning they value, and I'm analysing the assessments they set internally within their schools. Because I think the way they assess is the teacher’s most powerful means of communicating their values to the students in their care.
There's a lot of collected wisdom and experience in the teaching profession. By seeing the solutions that teachers have come up with, and the compromises they have argued for, it is my hope that we will get some insight into the problem of how to value, and assess for, the skills we actually want our students to develop, to become capable and resourceful 21st century citizens. Thank you. [Applause]
Ngoc Thuy Le (Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology)
Ngoc explains his thesis is to propose a cloud security maturity model (CSMM) to assess maturity levels of cloud system that provides an overall security assessment to senior managers and support security experts to implement security measures.
Let me start with the question that how often do you use Gmail, Dropbox, Apple Store a day? I think one or two hours, right? That’s the way we are using cloud computing. So do you think cloud security? Actually, it's not at all. And how can we know cloud security? If we know so which level or state of security it is. That's what my thesis aim to do: to develop a secure model with metric framework to measure the secure level of cloud system. As you know, almost all IT now are based on cloud computing, like critical infrastructure, E-Government, in E-Banking and now Internet of Things.
However, we are also aware that a huge amount of data from cloud is spied a day, thousands of credit card information is leaked every hour. So how can we solve these challenges? From our thesis, we identified that there are two gaps: Number one, the lack quantitative metrics based on the numerical measurement, and Number two, they are reactive rather than proactive. So how can we solve these challenges? My thesis includes three phases to tackle this problem. Phase one, we propose a secure model, based on maturity theory introduced in 1989 by Humphrey. It assesses the quality of a process or system via mature level. So imagine like a human mobility from crawl walk to run, so exactly security system is similar to that. It needs to be improved by steps. And Phase two, we design a metric framework to measure maturity level, and Phase three we're developing advanced secure metrics based on artificial intelligence, machine learning and mathematics model.
From these metric, via the framework and the model, we can know exactly the secure level of cloud system. So please look at the left bottom of the screen. This is one of our secure metrics, called Mean Remediation Time, that we use to measure several security domains, like identity with level 1, incident with level 2, and virtualization with level 2. And eventually we strongly believe that our model will support senior managers in making security decisions, and it provides the expert practitioners in implementing security action. Thank you. [Applause]
Elyssa Wiecek (Graduate School of Health)
Elyssa demonstrates how community pharmacists can prove to be a powerful asset in improving medication adherence.
So if everyone can do me a favour, and think of the last time they took a medication: maybe it was yesterday, maybe it was a year ago, I want you to think where you adherent, meaning you took every dose, at the right time, every day, just like the doctor told you. See since I started my PhD about a year ago, I've been lucky enough to be prescribed antibiotics twice.
I thought this is easy: “Two pills a day for a week. No worries.” I was wrong. I was terrible at it. I missed almost half. I thought I was the worst patient. I thought I was the worst PhD student, because I couldn't practice what I preached. But from my failure, I learned empathy. I gained an understanding that adherence isn’t a simple problem with a simple solution. I couldn't give myself a pill box or an alarm and magically be adherent the next day.
In fact adherence is so complex that the literature has found 771 different reasons for why patients don't take their medications correctly. So why is this important? For one it's costing our health care systems billions of dollars. I put the word death up there to scare you, but unfortunately that's a true number it's not an alternative fact. But there's good news. This topic is incredibly well studied. There are a thousand studies trying to find a solution to this. I would know because I had so much fun reading all of them.
But what's the answer? What's the solution? This is where it gets tricky. There isn't a common solution. There's no one-size-fits-all answer. There's a lot of evidence that complex and multi-component interventions work, but these aren't feasible nor are they realistic in our health care settings. However, there is one common component that always seems to have a positive effect: interaction with patients. It's as simple as that. Now it's not a perfect theory, but there is evidence that just a simple two minute conversation with a patient about their medications, can have just as big of an impact as these complex interventions. So who would be perfect at this? Pharmacists, right? One, because we train them here at UTS, so they must be smart. Two, because they're a major point of contact for patients, right when they pick up their medications for the first time and each time they come back.
So for my thesis I’m proposing that we train our pharmacists to ask the right questions, to see patients as individuals with individual difficulties for medication adherence. I want to prove that a simple, empathetic, and sincere short conversation, and that just by being a listener, a supporter, and a motivator each time a patient steps into the pharmacy, that we could have just as big of an impact on improving medication adherence. Thank you very much. [Applause]
Julee Mcdonagh (Faculty of Health)
Julee explains her research aiming to provide the first validated measurement tool for use in those with heart failure.
What comes to mind, when you think of the word frail? A thin, stooped, elderly person, like the woman on the slide, perhaps? This woman could very well be frail, but I'm here to tell you that frailty is much more complex than you might think, and it's not always possible to recognize someone who is frail by sight alone.
Frailty is defined as of little resistance. It's a multi-dimensional syndrome of increased vulnerability, meaning individuals who are frail are far less able to overcome stressor events, such as falls or infection, than their non-frail counterparts. And they have much higher rates of hospitalization and death. Frailty has been described as the most problematic expression of population ageing. Heart failure is a common cardiac syndrome that affects over 300,000 Australians. The prognosis for those with heart failure is often worse than many cancers. Treatment options are limited, and quality of life is poor. On top of this, it has also been discovered that a large proportion of those with heart failure are also frail, up to as many as 80%.
Herein lies what I have dubbed the comorbid conundrum. Two syndromes that on their own already caused significant mortality and morbidity, but together they're even worse. So how do we measure and diagnose frailty? There are several measurement tools available. The two most common are pictured on the slide. The one on the left focuses purely on physical domains of frailty while the other defines frailty as the accumulation of deficits. The measurement of frailty and heart failure is still in its early stages and there is currently no validated measurement tool available for use in a heart failure specific population. This is where my research comes in. My study aims to find the most reliable measurement tool for use in heart failure. This will be achieved by comparing four different measurement tools, as part of the frame HF study currently being undertaken at St Vincent's Hospital Sydney.
My research aims to provide the first validated measurement tool for use in heart failure. This research is so important, because the sooner we know how to properly measure frailty in heart failure, the sooner we can move on to the next phase of treating frailty in heart failure. Thank you. [Applause]
Jeremy Kohlitz (Institute for Sustainable Futures)
Jeremy talks about his research seeking to bridge disciplinary divides on addressing the climate change problem by developing a framework that links concepts across relevant disciplines.
The research that I'm presenting today is about bridging different disciplinary perspectives on sustaining water access against climate change, especially in developing Pacific Island countries. Getting clean water in rural parts of small island countries like Vanuatu, isn't like what you and I are used to. People may get it from basic piped systems that are managed by community volunteers, they may get it with buckets from wells, or they may collect rainwater off rooftops.
Systems like these can and do meet people's basic needs for water, but climate change has far-reaching potential to disrupt them. How exactly climate change disrupts them depends on who you ask, because experts coming from different disciplines have different ways of thinking about this problem. For example, engineers often think about hazards like floods and cyclones, and how water technologies can be designed to resist them. Social scientists might point out that the poor have the hardest time adapting to change. They may argue that strategies to strengthen community equality should be used to help them. Meanwhile an ecologist might bring up that climate change adds stress to ecosystems that provide clean water and may implore that we take action to protect natural water resources. All of these schools of thought are valid and they're all needed. The problem is that when experts only work from within their own disciplines, different approaches sometimes clash. They sometimes miss out on opportunities to synergize, and they almost always never see the entire picture.
We can address this problem by getting experts from different disciplines to work closely together. But in order to do this, experts coming from different disciplines need a shared way of thinking. We all know how hard it is to understand a field that we're not familiar with, and everyone in this competition can appreciate how difficult it is to explain your field to someone who's not an expert in it. This is where my research comes in.
I spent six months in rural areas of Vanuatu studying how people maintain water access from the perspectives of three different disciplines: Engineering, Sociology and Ecology. This involved surveying physical risks of failure and community water technologies, interviewing community members about political issues in their villages, and assessing how climactic variations affect their natural water resources.
From this research, I'm developing a framework that allows experts from these disciplines to understand how their work is linked with other disciplines in this context. A framework is a way of organizing ideas and concepts to understand how they're connected with one another, so by using this framework, a team of experts would have a quick and easy way of seeing how concepts that they're familiar with are linked with concepts that their teammates are familiar with.
What this does is it allows for easier communication across disciplines which will facilitate more effective integration of ideas. And as a result of this research, interventions to protect access to clean water and rural Vanuatu against climate change will be more coherent, more holistic, and therefore more effective. Thank you. [Applause]
Caitlin Lawson (Faculty of Science)
In this talk Caitlin provides a broad overview on the relation between volatile gas levels and thermal tolerance in coral.
Do you know: why the Blue Mountains are blue, or where that unique smell of the coast at low tide comes from? Well the answers of course, are all around us. The culprits are the gases that are produced by the trees in the mountains and by the seaweeds in the sea. Now we all know about the gas carbon dioxide and the impacts that it is having on our climate, but what about these other gases? Can they impact the climate? Well I'm here to tell you that there are in fact a myriad of different gases that are being produced by different organisms in different ecosystems that can have an impact.
One of these ecosystems that is very topical right now is our beautiful coral reefs. Now we all know that these reefs are in a whole lot of trouble, and there is a huge amount of work trying to sort out exactly how we can help. My work does fall under this umbrella, but I like to think that I fit into a much broader category.
In my PhD I'm looking at whole corals, the symbiotic algae they live with, the bacteria that are everywhere around and the gases that all of these parts can produce. Now it was really surprising for me to learn that while there are many different gases that have been studied in our land plants (for example the gas known as isoprene, which by the way, is one of the reasons why the Blue Mountains are blue) there are relatively few gases that have been studied in our oceans, and only one of these, dimethyl sulfide, has been studied in detail in our tropical reefs. Now these gases are super important and can influence everything from the likelihood a coral will bleach to the clouds that form above our reefs and we're really just starting to uncover how many of these gases there are.
Currently we really don't know how much and what these corals are producing, but we do know that at least some of these gases can influence how healthy the corals are, and how well they're able to cope with hotter oceans. So in order to look at all of these different components, I use a range of techniques from analytical chemistry, molecular biology, and microbiology, that allow me to measure everything from “how happy the coral and algae are” to “how many bacteria are around?”, and “what kinds of bacteria are they?”, “what gases are being produced?” and “who is producing them?” and “do these gases actually reach the atmosphere, or do they get consumed straight away?”.
I'll also be stressing my corals and algae to see if they continue to produce the same gases maybe just make a lot more, or if they switch it up and start making different gases. So using these techniques in both the lab and the field, I'm painting a clearer picture of the role these gases play on our reefs, and if in fact they might be able to help save our reefs, or maybe in the attempt to deal with all the changes that they are facing. They will start producing more and more of these gases until they start to have a significant impact on our climate. Whether this impact is going to be negative or positive, we still don't know. But understanding what gases are there, and how they're going to change with the changing climate is the crucial first step. Thank you. [Applause]
The University of Queensland (UQ) hosts the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition every year. The UTS 3MT winner represents UTS at this event.
For more information visit the UQ Asia Pacific 3MT competition.