The University of Newcastle, Australia

Three minute thesis competition

With thousands of hours of research condensed into just three minutes each, 15 remarkable and determined higher degree by research candidates took the stage at The Conservatorium on Friday (23 August) to compete in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Final Competition.

From the impact of antidepressants on our bones, to addressing negative biases against girls in sport, the 3MT Final showcased the breadth and depth of innovative research being carried out by some of The University of Newcastle’s rising stars.

“Students must explain what they are doing; how they are doing it; and why they are doing it,” the University’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Deborah Hodgson, said.

The competition featured three finalists from each of the University’s five faculties. However, in an unprecedented turn of events, all three winners came from the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment.

Congratulations to all the winners, particularly Civil Engineering PhD candidate, Barbara Jardim Do Nascimento, who won the top prize.

Eloquently addressing the problem of identifying wall ties corrosion, Barbara’s research looks at the structural reliability of existing and new buildings.

Barbara was awarded $5,000 to cover research-related expenses and will represent the University at the Asia-Pacific Final in Brisbane on 4 October. The second and third runners-ups received $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.

Alix Woolard from the Faculty of Science captivated the audience with her presentation on infant-directed speech, and claimed the People’s Choice Award.

On the judging panel was Sharon Claydon MP, Federal Member for Newcastle, Julie Baird, Museum Director, Newcastle City Council, and Mike Lanzing, General Manger, UniBank.

The University, along with event sponsor UniBank, invested more than $8,000 in research grants as prize money to support the winners to continue their important work.



Presentation title

Study area

1st place

Barbara Jardim Do Nascimento

‘Faster than earthquakes’

PhD (Civil Engineering)

2nd place

Natã Franco Soares de Bem

‘The Jedi Microscope’

PhD (Electrical Engineering)

3rd place

Ashlea Rendell

‘Nature and Technology: Can they co-exist?’

PhD (Information Systems)

People’s Choice Award

Alix Woolard

‘Beyond Babytalk: Understanding the Importance of Infant-Directed Speech’

PhD (Psychology - Science)