2016 My Research in 3 Minutes Competition a great success

The annual “My Research in 3 Minutes” presentations were held at the Perron Institute on July 23 with great success.

9 researchers and 11 students presented their latest projects on a variety of research and conditions including stroke, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

The Perron Institute staff, students, clinicians, the Board, Affiliates and advocates were also in attendance and thoroughly enjoyed the presentations.

All presenters stuck to the time limit and there was a wide variety of subject matter and delivery techniques presented with humour, interesting slides and entertaining delivery.

A judging panel which comprised some of our Board members and Affiliates awarded prizes which were presented by Chairman Roger Hussey.

Professor Steve Wilton and Dr May Aung-Htut of the Molecular Therapies Research group were awarded in the researcher/staff category.

The following students were bestowed a prize in their category; Gabriella MacDougall and Dr Diego Milani of the Stroke Research group, and undergraduate student Manon Duviol on a short international placement in Genetic Therapies based at Murdoch University.

The art of science communication
Communicating science to the general public is increasingly recognised as one of the key responsibilities of a scientist. While scientists are thoroughly trained in research methodologies, analytical skills, and the ability to communicate with other scientists, they commonly receive no explicit training in the communication of scientific concepts to a lay audience.

Though most people agree that this needs to change, communication is a skill that many practicing scientists find it difficult to master. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that most members of the general public have little knowledge of the fundamentals of modern science and so find understanding even the most basic science concepts difficult – for example, TV detective series’ regularly refer to DNA but most people do not know what the initials mean, let alone understand the chemistry of DNA and how this determines how genes work.

The Perron Institute’s My Research in 3 Minutes competition is an attempt to test the science communication skills of the Institute’s researchers and students. Participants are given just 3 minutes and the use of no more than 3 slides to summarise one of their current research projects in a style and language understandable to those outside their research area, including non-scientists.

Presentations were judged by a panel comprised of both scientists and non-scientists, the key criteria were; evaluating the speakers on their ability to communicate to an audience of non-experts, their ability to engage with an audience and convey enthusiasm, their use of simple words to describe complex scientific concepts and their innovative use of slides. Prizes will be awarded for the best student and staff presentations.

The competition format is based on the highly successful 3 Minute Thesis format developed for PhD students at the University of Queensland, which over the last decade has gone global with competitions now being held across the world.