This week we've announced the results of this year's Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, where 10 participants challenged themselves to present their thesis in just three minutes and one slide. For the first time ever the competition was held online, with videos submitted to the judging panel.

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 - usually around 80,000 words - in just three minutes. Students are allowed to use one Powerpoint slide and no other resources.

This year’s finalists were:

  • Isabel Thomlinson – Department of Chemistry
  • Debbie Janson – Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Moein Mir Fakhar – Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Viviane Runa – Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Jon Noble – Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Jessica Pinheiro de Lucena-Thomas – Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Hannah West – Department of Social and Policy Sciences
  • Tina Zhou – Department of Mathematical Sciences
  • James Boxall-Clasby – Department of Chemistry
  • Sarah Page-Jones – School of Management

The judging panel this year was Prof Jeremy Bradshaw, Prof Cathryn Mitchell, Rob Cooper, Kate Robinson and Dr Trevor Day. They rated each students' presentation based on comprehension, content and audience engagement before awarding their scores.

The overall quality of this year's presentations was very high. I can’t speak for my fellow judges but I, for one, found it difficult to select the best. It is very pleasing to see, not only that so much excellent research is going on at our university, but also that we have capable, enthusiastic and articulate doctoral students carrying it out. Congratulations to all our finalists!

Prof Jeremy Bradshaw, Pro-Vice Chancellor (International & Doctoral)

This year's winner is James Boxall-Clasby, who earns a place in the 3MT® UK Semi Final organised by Vitae. James is studying for an Integrated PhD in Sustainable Chemical Technologies in the CSCT, in partnership with Wessex Water. His research analyses wastewater from individual communities to detect and monitor viral genes indicating disease spread. This could provide an early-warning system for future disease outbreaks, or influence the introduction of control measures. Watch the video of James' presentation.

In second place was Debbie Janson, who's studying for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. She presented her research into new safety shoes; she's investigating the use of flexible biomimetic materials, which mimic nature. Her aim is to develop a toecap that's comfortable while also withstanding both impact and compression forces.
Watch the video of Debbie's presentation.

And in third place was Isabel Thomlinson, who is studying for an Integrated PhD in Sustainable Chemical Technologies in the CSCT. Isabel explained her research, which combines two existing techniques for analysing mixtures of molecules: DOSY, which measures how fast molecules diffuse through mixtures; and FlowNMR, which enables monitoring of chemical reactions in real time. Watch the video of Isabel's presentation.