Answering life’s big questions in three minutes

Eight PhD students from the University of South Australia will condense an 80,000 word thesis into just three minutes this week in a bid to showcase their research across the Asia Pacific.

The 2017 UniSA finalists will put their communication skills to the test in this year’s Three Minute Thesis competition, held in the Allan Scott Auditorium on Thursday 24 August.

Can a midnight snack reduce accidents for shift workers? Do consumers think less of luxury brands bought online rather than in-store? Can a Mediterranean diet lessen the chances of developing dementia?

These are just some of the subjects being tackled by UniSA’s PhD students in this year’s competition, aimed to hone students’ communication skills and present their research to a non-specialist audience using one PowerPoint slide.

The winner will represent UniSA in the Asia Pacific 3MT competition at the end of September.

Veteran broadcaster Julia Lester will host the event thisThursday, presented in partnership with The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre.

Details of this year’s finalists and their topics are:

  • Victoria Fielding: Political Narratives: competing for media attention in an industrial dispute;
  • Roya Rudd: Tiny particles pack an optical punch;
  • Xi Yu: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Academics;
  • Hannah Thomas: Healing diabetic wounds: a team approach;
  • Ava Huang: Understanding how online distribution impacts luxury brands;
  • Alex Wade: Food for Thought;
  • Charlotte Gupta: Size does matter: how a midnight snack can reduce accidents; and
  • Farzana Kastury: Lead lock in.

Professor Pat Buckley, Dean of Graduate Studies, says the competition has multiple benefits for students: “It not only gives PhD candidates a chance to publicise their research to a wider audience and raise their profile, but it also builds important career skills, and can lead to opportunities for research collaborations. The benefits last well beyond the competition,” she says.

A year down the track after winning UniSA’s 2016 competition, Joel Fuller is now working as a physiotherapist, lecturer and researcher at Macquarie University. Joel presented his research on the importance of wearing the correct running shoes based on a person’s weight to avoid injuries.

“Participating in the 3MT competition helped me refine my presentation skills,” Joel says. “I learnt how to succinctly explain my research in a format that everyone can understand and as a result I gained national media attention.” Subsequently, Joel received the 2017 Science PhD Research Excellence Award.

Media contact: Candy Gibson mobile: +61 467 255 684 email: candy.gibson@unisa.edu.au

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