Last night, the University held its fourth final of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI). Eight finalists battled it out to be this year’s winner and earn a place in the 3MT® UK Semi Final orgainised by Vitae.

3MT® celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland, the competition cultivates academic, presentation, and research communication skills by challenging students to present their entire thesis in just 3 minutes. Students are allowed to use one Powerpoint slide and no other resources.

This year’s finalists were:

In front of a packed audience, our finalists took to the stage to deliver their presentations. Topics ranged from challenging the myths and stigma around body image and weight and how businesses can better use Facebook, through to the use of timber in buildings and perfecting plastics.

Our judging panel Prof. Jeremy Bradshaw (Pro-Vice Chancellor (International & Doctoral)), Prof. Cathryn Mitchell (Academic Director of the Doctoral College), Dr Trevor Day (Professional Writing Coach), Kate Robinson (University of Bath Librarian) and Rob Cooper (Marketing and Communications, University of Bath), scored students based on comprehension, content and audience engagement. After hearing from all eight finalists, the judges retired to deliberate and make their selection as the students faced questions from the audience.

Upon returning, Prof. Jeremy Bradshaw commended the finalists on their achievements saying that the standard had been so high they had decided to award two runner-up prizes. Congratulations to our 3MT® 2018 runners-up Michael Joyes (‘Fifty Shades of Yellow…Perfecting Plastics’) and Laura Wallace (‘Can Time Heal All Wounds?’). Explaining why he took part 3MT®, Michael said:

"I took part in 3MT® to challenge myself to improve my scientific communication skills and to remind myself that my research is relevant and important to the public. I think every PhD student should give 3MT® a go, it improves your communication skills, puts your research in context, and can motivate you with a change from the research routine."

But it was Kay Fountain who most impressed the judges with her presentation ‘CSI and The Mystery of the Little Blue Cells’ earning herself the top spot and a place in the 3MT® UK semi-final which will be held in July. Kay explain how she benefited from taking part:

"We spend time justifying our research to our colleagues, but preparing my presentation was a really good exercise for focusing my mind on the key factors of my research in order to explain it to people outside the research community. I was surprised at how many new aspects of my work came to light as a result. People have commented that they wouldn't know where to start in explaining their project, but I think that's a really good reason to take part in 3MT®. Crystallising your work into a few key points can help to keep you moving in the right direction when times get tough during your PhD.

I took part because I'm passionate about getting the message of conservation to as many people as possible, and particularly conservation of bats which are often misrepresented as scary and evil. My bats are handsome and gentle and really need our help."

Finally, a special thanks to our compère for the evening Polly McGuigan.