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2021   2022

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 June and July 2022. The six finalists from across four faculties, are now progressing to the UC 3MT Finals where they will present their thesis at an online, livestreamed event in front of a panel of judges.

Competitors needed to 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 2022 recipients and finalists

Congratulations to all the funding recipients and finalists of the UC’s 2022 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 will advance to the 2022 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition.

David Hinwood

Faculty of Science and Technology
Awarded $4,000

Using Human-Inspired Manipulation to Battle Textile Waste

David is a final year PhD candidate studying robotics at the University of Canberra. His research interests include design, programming and deep learning. David’s project, beginning in 2018, focuses on empowering textile recyclers to scale-up the amount of textile waste they can divert from landfills. Aside from his research, David enjoys spending his time bouldering or playing ultimate frisbee.

Australians send six tonnes of clothing to landfills every 10 minutes, releasing toxic greenhouse gases (such as methane) as fabric decomposes. To alleviate the damage of discarded garments, textile recycling presents a promising avenue to prevent used clothing from going to landfills as old clothing is highly recyclable. Sorting used clothing, however, into the appropriate recycling is dangerous and economically infeasible with human labour. Robots would be more effective for textile-sorting, except they are not effective manipulators of fabric. David's research focuses on giving robots the dexterous skills needed to handle fabric.

Natalie Downes

Faculty of Education
Runner-up. Awarded $2,000 &
People’s Choice. Awarded $1,000

Is Geographical Narcissism Creating Rural Education Disadvantage?

Natalie is a PhD student in the Centre for Sustainable Communities in the Faculty of Education. Her research focuses on education for rural-regional sustainability, school-based distance education, and the influence of academic research on rural communities. These works focus on exploring the way that the needs and interests of marginalised communities (particularly the rural) are represented in society and how different knowledge systems contribute to reproducing or countering inequities in society. In her spare time Natalie likes to ponder the answer to life, the universe and everything else, and roller skate (sometimes at the same time).

Every year rural kids are told by education authorities that they are less intelligent than kids in the city. But what if education authorities have got it wrong, and achievement gaps are actually created because the education system is biased towards city perspectives? In her research, Natalie has developed and trialled a tool that helps measure and remedy city biases in education. The tool provides evidence-based alternatives to city biases that transform the way we represent rural places in education. This contributes towards achieving more just and equitable outcomes for rural kids in schooling.

JJ Bull

Faculty of Health

The Spring in Your Step

JJ is a graduate from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Engineering (honours) Bachelor of Arts. She majored in mechanical and material engineering and minored in mathematics. She is currently doing her PhD in the field of biomechanics with a focus on the lower limb, at the University of Canberra.

Our foot plays a vital role in how we efficiently walk, run and sprint as it acts like a spring. When we age, the structure in our foot changes which in turn affects this spring function. While studying walking, running and sprinting, it is important to account for differences in males and females. We plan to investigate how younger and older adults walk, run and sprint in terms of energy, work and power using a multisegmented foot model.

Cara Doherty

Faculty of Arts and Design

Ownership Anxiety in the Post Apocalypse

Cara is an ex-corporate lawyer who found the life of defending banks and tobacco companies incredibly unsatisfying. Ever a fan of science fiction, especially post-apocalyptic fiction, she started to notice commonalities between the novels and the legal theories she encountered in her studies and legal practice. Despite struggling with property law as an undergraduate student, she now spends her time looking at notions of resource ownership, control and distribution in post-apocalyptic fiction. When she's not reading the latest zombie novel she can be found in the kitchen baking with as much chocolate as humanly possible.

We don’t often think about it, but we rely on the assistance of third parties like the police and courts to help protect our belongings. Without this assistance, can we rely on our ownership rights to protect us from theft? This is a common scenario in post-apocalyptic fiction where characters have to find new ways to allocate resources amongst each other. Authors explore a number of these new ways through their stories. Opening our minds to thinking about ownership differently is important it can spark new solutions to non-fiction crises like socio-economic inequality and climate change displacement.

Elena Gorgeva

Faculty of Science and Technology

The Sound of the Dead

Elena has completed a Bachelor of Forensic Studies with Honours from the University of Canberra and has worked at a commercial fly farm where she developed her passion for insects.

Elena is investigating the use of machine learning algorithms to classify and identify flies using their sound. The goal of the project is to develop a method for studying the pattern of fly arrival on human remains for post-mortem interval estimations.

Tom Topham

Faculty of Health

The Hottest Topic of the Day

Tom is a PhD student within the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise. His research investigates the effect of heat stress on children and adults.

Global temperatures are increasing, and children are often exposed to extreme heat when competing in outdoor sport. Yet, we do not know if children are more vulnerable than adults in these situations. By recreating a heatwave in our laboratory, we aim to find out.

Watch the Final

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

Watch the livestream

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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 2022 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 2022 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition will be held on Wednesday 19 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 2022 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, Simon Clews, Talkforce Media, and the UC Media team.

Thank you to Crux Media for producing the pitch videos.

We thank the judging panel for their expertise and insights:

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

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