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UC’s Three Minute Thesis Finals

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

Three Minute Thesis heats were held across the University of Canberra’s faculties throughout July 2021. Six finalists from across four faculties progressed to the UC 3MT Finals in September where they presented their theses at an online, livestreamed event in front of a panel of judges.

Competitors needed convince the judges and audience of their research significance in no more than three minutes, for a chance to win the $4,000 first place prize, $2,000 for the runner up, and $1,000 people’s choice prize.

The 2021 recipients and finalists

Congratulations to all the funding recipients and finalists of the UC’s 2021 Three Minute Thesis Finals. We are so proud of you and the wonderful research you are doing at UC. Funding recipients will now share in $7,000 of research funding as awarded by the judging panel. The winner and runner up will also advance to the Asia-Pacific 3MT Semi-Final held on Monday 27 September.

Dua’a Ahmad

Awarded $4,000

Maybe you can judge a face by its cover

What if instead of judging, we really observed, the smallest of the details, even if it’s with the help of the most advanced technologies, maybe then we start to truly understand.

Alex Lascu

Awarded $2,000

Talent development in women's cricket, ground-breaking research into women's sport.

Have you ever been an elite athlete? Most people never will be, but that doesn’t mean they’re not talented. If we look at talent as something that can be learned, we may find it in unexpected places. In this talk, I detail a common early childhood experience, the disadvantages of looking for talent, and a new way to develop talent by making training environments more engaging.

Jane Phuong

People’s Choice Awarded $1,000

Navigating the River: Experiences of Female Academic Leaders in Vietnam

In “Navigating the river: the hidden barriers in the water” Jane Phuong talked about her research on the under-representation of female academic leaders in Vietnam. She used photo elicitation method to learn about the lived experiences of Vietnamese academic leaders and found that her participants conceptualised their leadership journey in the water, the experiences that cannot be captured by the glass ceiling, sticky floor or the labyrinth metaphors in the West. Her research stresses the importance of how the language can shape the way people see and make sense of the world.

Michael Aberle


A little bit of dirt never hurt: Following the soiled footprints of crime

Michael's work primarily addresses the use of earth-related materials, such as soil, for the prediction of geographical source regions in forensic science and broader criminal intelligence applications.

Nabeela Asghar


Hate Speech on social media and its effects on Pakistani youth

Nabeela is investigating the impact of online hate speech against Shia and Sunni groups on the inter-communication and inter-relationship of Pakistani Shia and Sunni youth through analysing the Shia and Sunni’ leaders’ online hate speech and the comments. Findings show that the commenters adopted the same language in their comments which was employed in the video. I am further investigating the different factors that are associated with the response mechanism of youth towards hate speech. This study will hopefully inform any subsequent strategies aimed at promoting safer online spaces for users.

Sara Guevara


Talent identification and athlete attrition

Talent identification and athlete attrition literature calls for a complex systems approach to help navigate the high-performance pathway. The high-performance pathway is multidimensional with a combination of environmental, psychosocial and physiological factors. Negative factors can test an athlete’s ability to adapt and question their willingness to remain in high performance sport. Most literature has focused on intrapersonal and interpersonal factors in successful senior elite athletes. Limited literature exists investigating environmental or broader societal factors in this population. A complex systems approach has been proposed to investigate the multilevel, contextual and socioecological nature of athletes on the high-performance pathway.

Watch the finale

The above six finalists present their Three Minute Theses to a panel of judges as they compete for $7,000 in prize money.

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Three Minute Thesis Logo

What is the 3MT?

The Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition was held for the first time in 2016. Hosted by The University of Queensland, this regional competition features competitors representing universities from across Australia, New Zealand, Oceania, North-East Asia and South-East Asia.

 Due to the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, increasing social distancing measures and restrictions on public gatherings and travel, The University of Queensland (UQ) has made the decision to again host the 2021 Asia-Pacific Three Minute Thesis Competition as a virtual format (video submission) in the best interests of public health.

The move to a virtual video submission format will continue to allow Higher Degree by Research candidates to participate in 3MT, hone their communication skills, receive international peer review, and gain skills surrounding the presentation of their research to a wider audience. The UQ 3MT Team is dedicated to providing all the assistance and support it can to the 3MT community in these ever-changing and uncertain times.

The 2021 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition will be held on Wednesday 20 October and will bring together video submissions from university 3MT finalists from across Australia, New Zealand, Oceania, North-East Asia and South-East Asia.


The 2021 UC Three Minute Thesis Finals were only possible because of the following talented and dedicated people:

We want to acknowledge the training provided by Canberra Innovation Network, Talkforce Media, and the UC Media team, along with UC’s own pitch coaches, Dr Bernie Bissett and Dr Peter Copeman. Thank you to Crux Media for producing the pitch videos.

We thank the judging panel for their expertise and insights – Craig Davis (General Manager, Canberra Innovation Network, Shyam Barr (Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences, University of Canberra), and Nicole Deen. We’d also like to thank our MC for the evening, Professor Michelle Lincoln (Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, University of Canberra).

We would also like to thank the UC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Leigh Sullivan, for providing financial and event support.

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