Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
August 2010 Issue
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OPEN DAY - Research impact in just three minutes

It usually takes three years of research and up to 80,000 words to complete a PhD thesis, but University of Adelaide students will get just three minutes to present their research on Open Day.

Ten finalists in the inaugural Three Minute Thesis competition will be set against the timer to present their thesis topic and its significance before a panel of judges and a public audience.

In just three minutes each, the students will explain their research on the risks to our coastal communities from climate change; testing cars for pedestrian safety; developing a laser from a new type of optical fibre with exciting potential medical, environmental and defence applications; and helping design the optimum protein nutrition to give premature babies the best start in life - and other topics.

Five judges will make their selection for the best research communicator and the audience will be able to choose their favourite via free mobile phone voting.

Well-known science communicator Professor Rob Morrison will be MC on the day.

"The Three Minute Thesis competition is not about dumbing down research, it's about developing academic and research communication skills," said Dean of Graduate Studies Professor Richard Russell, who is one of the judges.

"It will be fun and entertaining but this competition is about real research that impacts on our lives. Researchers need to be able to communicate their research in a simple and engaging way and this competition is helping our young researchers develop those skills.

"I'd urge anyone interested in the next generation of research coming out of the University of Adelaide to come along and hear what these students have to offer."

More than 160 postgraduate research students entered the competition and the 10 finalists have beaten their fellow students in faculty heats over the past few weeks.

Competing in the finals on Open Day will be Chris Button and Carly Norman (Humanities and Social Sciences); Gretel Png and Daniel Searson (Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences); Jacqueline Miller and Sarah Thompson (Health Sciences); Ori Henderson-Sapir and Tatiana Soares da Costa (Sciences); and Chelsea Liu and Poulomee Datta (Professions).

The Three Minute Thesis final will be held at 2.30pm on Sunday 15 August in Scott Theatre at the University's North Terrace Campus. It's free and everyone is welcome.

The winner will receive a $2000 travel grant and will represent the University of Adelaide in the Australian and New Zealand finals at the University of Queensland next month.

Story by Robyn Mills

To have your say on who wins the Three Minute Thesis competition, visit Open Day Sunday 15 August.

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