The importance of communicating complex research findings to an audience outside academia is well recognised and many PhD students have competed in the University of Queensland Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition that, since 2008, has asked students to explain their research to a non-specialist audience.
But where the 3MT invites students to condense their ~80,000 word PhD thesis into a 3 minute verbal presentation (with one supporting static PowerPoint slide), the University of Melbourne initiated Visualise Your Thesis competition challenges graduate researchers to summarise their research in an engaging, 60-second visual multimedia presentation.
They do say a picture is worth a thousand words… or in this case about 1,333 words per second.
In its second year as an international competition, the short and engaging digital narratives produced by graduate researchers are judged on their visual impact.
Evolving from a University of Melbourne research poster competition in 2015, the 2020 Visualise Your Thesis competition had entrants from twenty-one universities from five countries.
The competition provides an opportunity for entrants, who come from a variety of disciplines, to build digital communication skills to communicate their research project to a general audience. Skills that are increasingly important for researchers to have, enabling the knowledge exchange and community engagement necessary for research findings to have impact.
The participating Universities are responsible for offering training to their graduate researcher’s including understanding principles of graphic design and visual presentation, writing succinctly for a non-specialist audience, but also how to source and cite copyright-compliant visual or audio-visual material that may be used.
This year’s presentations are not only striking but incredibly diverse, some using photos, others using illustrations, some using humour, others building tension, and all highly impressive in their ability to clearly articulate the importance of the research project. All 21 finalists’ entries are available to the public via the Figshare Repository.
The winners were:
1st place – Kelly Wilson-Stewart, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
Protecting nurses from radiation exposure
2nd place – Ané van der Walt, ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH)
The Narrative Atlas: creative prototyping and multivocality in archaeology
3rd place – Maleen Jayasuriya, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
One Small Step for a PhD Student, One Giant Leap for Mobility Scooters
Nicola Rivers, Monash University
“Everything not saved will be lost”
Gwendolyn Foo, The University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Using Robots to Solve the World’s Fastest Growing Problem
Trending on VYT competition:
The entry with the most views as recorded on figshare between 12-19 October 2020 was:
Chantelle Clarke, Central Queensland University (CQU)
Supporting mental health for women with lipoedema through compassionate mind training