3MT finalists have just three minutes to communicate complicated issues like disease study.
3MT finalists have just three minutes to communicate complicated issues like disease study.
4 September 2014

The clock is ticking for UQ research students who will compete in the 2014 Three-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) next Thursday at Customs House in Brisbane.

Students who invest years in their research degrees are given just three minutes to communicate their research and its impact to the public in a dynamic, engaging and interesting way.

The 3MT concept sprang from the UQ Graduate School in 2008, and competitions are now run in about 200 institutions internationally.

UQ Graduate School Dean Professor Stephan Riek said many students initially are daunted by the idea of trying to explain their 80,000 word PhD thesis in such a short time.

“But the challenge provides students with great skills that really help them to further their careers,” he said.

Props are not allowed, and competitors can use just one static poster for illustration.

“Good communication skills are increasingly important for researchers,” Professor Riek said.

 “Researchers need to be able to communicate their work to a variety of audiences, from government funding bodies, to industry, and to the people who will benefit from their research.

“3MT is a wonderful event that allows students to communicate how their research will change and inform society.

“Students develop communication skills that provide them with a real career advantage once they complete their studies.

“At UQ we provide world-class experts, facilities and resources to ensure the successful completion of our research students’ projects, and we also help our students to develop transferrable skills that are attractive to employers.”

Professor Riek said that the 3MT presentations are likely to spark interest in some of the ground-breaking research being conducted in Queensland.

“We want people to know that UQ is a university with global impact that is part of the community and contributing to the economic development of our region.”

Each of the competitors has won their school, faculty, institute and wildcard finals to earn their places in the UQ 3MT final.

The event will be hosted by Steve Austin from ABC Radio. Representatives from industry and academia will be in the audience.

Judges will include Queensland Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett and Scope presenter Dr Rob Bell. The winner of the 3MT UQ final will win a $5000 travel grant and will represent UQ at the 2014 Trans-Tasman 3MT competition hosted by the University of Western Australia.

The Trans-Tasman competition attracts competitors from more than 45 universities across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the South Pacific.


The eight competitors for the 3MT UQ final are:

Barbara Maier

Institute for Molecular Biosciences

Thesis Title: Reprogramming strategies in the mammalian kidney

3MT title: Disease in a dish


Cameron Murray

School of Economics

Thesis Title: Rent-seeking in Australia

3MT Title: We might all be corrupt


Tyson Phillips

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering

Thesis Title: Safety instrumented systems for mining automation: concepts and methods for safety and reliability assessments in design operation

3MT Title: Is it where I think it is? - An automation conundrum


Guangli Li

School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies

Thesis Title: A study on Chinese L2 learners’ lexical network knowledge through word association techniques

3MT Title: Learning through word associations


Ashleigh Shannon
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Thesis Title: The dengue virus NS2B-NS3 protease as a target for antiviral drugs.
3MT title: The Dengue Virus Protease as a drug target


Sachin Thakur

School of Pharmacy

Thesis Title: Development and evaluation of a novel delivery system for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration

3MT Title:  Saving your sight with the power of sound


Megan Rossi

School of Medicine

Thesis Title: The role of pre- and probiotics in the management of chronic kidney disease

3MT Title: A gut feeling about kidney disease


Honglei Zhai

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI)

Thesis title: In vivo and in vitro studies of cereal grain effects on lipid metabolism
3MT Title: More cereals in your diet-Less fat in your body


Rio Tinto is the major sponsor of this year’s UQ 3MT, and other supporters include Data#3, UQ Alumni Friends, Campus Travel, Unity Water, the Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education, Co-op, 99Scholars and Bluestar Go.

The UQ 3MT competitors are available for media interviews.

More information on 3MT is available here.

Contact: Janardan Kewin, UQ Graduate School Engagement and Development team, (07) 3346 0509 or 3mt@uq.edu.au