Three minute thesis competition

The Three Minute Thesis final was held at the University of Newcastle on Wednesday 12 July.

Twelve finalists had battled through the faculty heats to make it to the fiercely competitive final.

The finalists had just three minutes to capture an audience’s attention and explain their thesis.

In front of a capacity audience, and led by Master of Ceremonies Professor Lucy Johnston, Dean of Graduate Research, the finalists informed and inspired the crowd.

Topics included: investigating the need for ICAC; a new discovery for the prevention of cardiovascular disease; managing water using satellites; measuring cognitive deficits in schizophrenia; and exploring influences & affects upon the interpretation and experience of art.

Using a combination of slides as well as dramatic techniques and technical wizardry, years-worth of data, research and analysis were condensed into 180 seconds by these talented Higher Degree Research students.

The judge’s deliberations were extensive, but the winners were finally presented by Professor Deborah Hodgson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation.

The winners were:

Samantha Rodrigues won first prize in the confirmed PhD candidate category for the UON Three Minute Thesis 2017 final.  Samantha is undertaking a PhD (Medical Biochemistry) and her topic was ‘A Baby’s First Room Mate’, which is the placenta. Samantha received $5000 for research-related expenses and a fully-paid trip with her supervisor to attend the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition at the University of Queensland on 29 September 2017.  A recording of her presentation will be available after that event is conducted.

Second prize went to Jacklyn Jackson, PhD (Nutrition & Dietetics). The title of Jacklyn’s presentation was ‘The Role of Dietary Nitrates for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention'.  In addition, Jackly also took out the people’s choice prize of a $150 Co-Op Bookshop gift voucher.

Third prize went to Olabode Emmanuel Ogunmakinde, PhD (Building). ‘Developing a Circular Economy Approach for Managing Construction Wastes' is the title of Olabode’s research.

Master of Philosophy/Pre-Confirmation PhD Candidates:

The winner of this division was Andrei Pomana (MPhil Architecture) who won $2000 for research-related expenses. Andrei’s topic was ‘Architecture for Autism.  Establishing Sustainable Integration Tools through the use of Built Environment’.

The first 3MT competition was held at the University of Queensland in 2008, with 180 Research Higher Degree student competing. UON has been participating in this competition which has spread nationally and internationally. The event is now held in over 350 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.

2016 First prize - Chloe Goldsmith


All research students are eligible to participate in the Faculty and UON final, however only active PhD candidates who have successfully passed confirmation have the chance to represent UON at the Asia-Pacific final at the University of Queensland on Friday 29 September 2017.

The UON Final will award the following prizes*:
For confirmed PhD candidates:

Winner: $5,000 for research related expenses and a fully paid trip with their supervisor to attend the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition at University of Queensland on 29 September 2017.
Runner Up: $2,000 for research related expenses
Third prize: $1,000 for research related expenses

For Master of Philosophy/pre confirmation candidates:

Winner: $2,000 for research related expenses
People's Choice Prize:
All competitors will be eligible for the People's Choice Prize, sponsored by the Co-op Bookshop, Shortland Building.

*Expense claims to be made within 12 months of the event date. Research related expenses may include but are not limited to: research consumables, conference attendance, travel and accommodation costs to visit a research facility.

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration. The PowerPoint slide size should be the standard size 4:3. This is under the 'design' tab in PowerPoint.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Please note: Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension and Content
  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
Engagement and Communication
  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) Australia.

First prize - Chloe Goldsmith

Second prize -Lucy Bryant

Third prize - Mieko Omura

Master of Philosophy/Pre-Confirmation Candidates:

Anne Hermann

View all our 3MT finalists at the University of Newcastle's YouTube page.

The 2016 UON 3MT finalists were:

Anne Herrmann: PhD Behavioural Science - Faculty of Health & Medicine "Decision Support in Healthcare. How can we help someone like Mary?"

Sinead Francis-Coan: PhD Leisure and Tourism - Faculty of Business & Law "Exploring Land Use Conflict"

Hao Qin: PhD Civil Engineering - Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment "Risk Assessment and Mitigation for Australian Housing under Extreme Winds"

Amber Hughes: PhD Education - Faculty of Education & Arts "Aboriginal knowledges, Social justice and mathematics: Exploring the realms of possibility"

Rahul Thakur: PhD Food Science - Faculty of Science & Information Technology "Edible films and coatings for improving postharvest quality of horticulture produce"

Asif Shah: PhD Physics - Faculty of Science & Information Technology "Storm Time Energetic Particles and Satellites"

Angelica Quatela: PhD Nutrition & Dietetics Faculty of Health & Medicine "Is regular breakfast cereal consumption an effective strategy to prevent diabetes?"

Haleh Allameh Haery: PhD Mechanical Engineering - Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment "Perlite-based foam composites"

Clare Weeks: PhD Fine Art - Faculty of Education & Arts "Illness narratives: experiencing and expressing body and self"

Chloe Goldsmith: PhD Food Science - Faculty of Science & Information Technology "Oleuropein, an olive leaf biophenol with anti-pancreatic cancer activity"

Joel Ferguson: PhD Electrical Engineering - Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment "Control of self-driving cars"

Kylee Brand: PhD Accounting & Finance - Faculty of Business & Law "Corporate Governance and the Extent and Quality of Corporate Internet Disclosures"

Mike Omura: PhD Nursing - Faculty of Health & Medicine "Is silence golden?"

Garry O’Dell: PhD Leisure & Tourism - Faculty of Business & Law "What, Which, Whose My Rules? Local Council Regulation of Festivals, Concerts and Markets"

Lucy Bryant PhD: PhD Speech Pathology - Faculty of Education & Arts "Lost for worlds… A problem in isolation"


Business and Law
  • 13 June, 11.00am in SR202 Oasis Room
Education and Arts
  • 28 June, 2.30pm in Lecture Theatre GP201
Engineering and Built Environment
  • 21 June, 9.30am in Lecture Theatre EFG02
Health and Medicine
  • 31 May, 2.30pm in Caves Lecture Theatre HMRI
Science and IT
  • Ourimbah Heat 22 June 2017, 9am in Information Resource Centre (Library) IRC113
  • Callaghan Heat 22 June 2017, 12.45pm in Hunter Building HB15

To register for your school/faculty heat, please download the registration form and return it to your Faculty Research Training Officer.


NUPSA have scheduled training sessions for all interested participants. The content for each session is the same – just choose the day and time that suits you best. Sessions will be held on 19 May and 5 June at Callaghan and 30 May at Ourimbah and an online training session will be held on 23 May.

To register for training visit the NUPSA website.