Three Minute Thesis Live Final, May 2017

L-R: Patricia Soares, Lujain Mirza, Bahar Esfahani, Madeleine Conaghan, Qiaoyi Wang, Myrsini Athinaiou, Majed Al-Jefri

Our Three Minute Thesis (3MT) live final, one of the highlights of this year’s Festival of Postgraduate Research, brought an enthusiastic audience to Falmer to cheer on seven competitors (pictured above). Prof Tara Dean introduced the event, sharing her enthusiasm for this prestigious, global initiative and reminding us of the rules of 3MT: presenters must explain their research to a lay audience in just three minutes, using only one slide. Anyone going over the three minute limit would be disqualified.

For the first time, Brighton was participating in the national 3MT competition hosted by Vitae, open to research students who have passed transfer. Wanting to give early stage doctoral students the chance to join in the fun and practice their presentation skills, we ran our live event with two categories, pre- and post-transfer. Meet the competitors:

Pre-transfer:
1. Majed Al-Jefri (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Automatic Assessment of Online Health Information Quality
2. Myrsini Athinaiou (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Risk management in the rescue of interconnected health systems
3. Qiaoyi Wang (School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Science): Modification of Antimicrobial Nanoparticles for Functional Textiles—A Potential Tool to Reduce the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance

Post-transfer:
4. Madeleine Conaghan (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Identifying and Reducing the Drivers Cognitive Burden
5. Bahar Khayamian Esfahani (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Prevention of skin cancer in young males through using a gender-aware HCD approach
6. Lujain Mirza (School of Media): Who are Saudi women?
7. Patricia Soares (Brighton & Sussex Medical School): What’s the role of personalised medicine in asthma and eczema?

The stage is set.

This was a truly international line up with only one of the seven presenters having English as their first language. Two 3MT training workshops had been held earlier in the year as part of our Researcher Development Programme, so some of our competitors had been refining their scripts and practising their presentation for months.

Our judging panel was six strong and comprised Prof Alison Bruce, Prof Tara Dean, Dr Mark Erickson, Prof Darren Newbury, Prof Neil Ravenscroft and Dr Susan Sandeman. In addition to the judges’ awards in the two categories, the People’s Choice Award was to be decided by a poll of votes from audience members. The standard of presentations was excellent and after a break for judges’ deliberations and audience voting, the winners were announced. Congratulations to Qiaoyi Wang who scooped the pre-transfer prize and double congratulations to Lujain Mirza who took home both the judges’ post-transfer prize and the People’s Choice Award. Lujain, who will now go on to represent the University of Brighton in the national semi-final, said:

‘After attending the workshop for the 3MT I decided not to participate, but then one of Brighton University’s organisers told us “If fear is the only thing preventing you from joining, then you should participate to get over your fears.” This was the statement that encouraged me to join. I never imagined I would win, especially since English isn’t my first language and given my fear of speaking in front of a large audience. Winning was not the only thing I gained, but I met very nice people and made new friends. I also tested my limits and conquered my fears. This was a great experience that I would recommend to everyone.’

Watch our video of the live event below, and if you’re inspired to participate next year, keep an eye open for our training workshops. Congratulations to all participants – and best of luck to Lujain as she goes forward to the next stage!