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Big Research Pitch

2020   2021   2022

Practical solutions to real world problems.

UC’s flagship research communication event.

In July the University of Canberra's bright and up and coming researchers competed for $14,000 in research funding in the 2021 Big Research Pitch competition.

The Big Research Pitch is designed to develop skills to present research projects in a persuasive and engaging with and build social media and networking abilities; essential skills for researchers to demonstrate the impact of their research to the wider community and to build a successful career.

Our early career researchers created 90 second videos to pitch their research ideas to the general public who voted for the top five research pitches. Thousands of people from around the world voted for their favourite research pitch and the chosen finalists answered panellist questions at a livestreamed virtual Q&A session.

Dr Bernard Brown

The importance of school leadership in our local schools in times of crisis

Bernard has had a long involvement in education, working in schools and universities both in Australia and abroad. He is passionate about education and empowering students to engage in learning and teaching. Bernard holds a Masters of Education (2007) and PhD in Education (2015) from the University of Canberra. He has worked at the University of Canberra since 2017, he is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education and currently occupies the position of Program Director for postgraduate education. His areas of specialisation are teacher education, educational leadership, ethics, and policy. Bernard has several published articles in journals and book chapters and is currently working on a funded research project involving ACT teachers. During his career he has taught in a number of countries including Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and China.

Dr Andrew Flood

What is pain? What we don’t know may hurt us

Andrew is a Lecturer in Psychology. He is interested in the measurement and manipulation of pain with the aim of informing new approaches to the treatment of chronic pain conditions. His research is currently focused on how non-invasive electrical stimulation of the brain may be an effective tool for pain relief.

Assoc. Prof Bradley Moggridge

Influencing Western Water Science with Indigenous Knowledge

Bradley Moggridge is a proud Murri from the Kamilaroi Nation is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Water Science (hydrogeology and environmental science) and part-time PhD candidate at University of Canberra, he was until recently the Indigenous Liaison Officer for the Threatened Species Recovery Hub under NESP. Bradley has presented widely and is on many committees - local to international for his 25years experience in water and environmental science, cultural science, regulation, water planning and management, including policy development, legislative reviews, applied research and project management. Bradley hopes to encourage future generations to pursue interests in STEM, promote his ancestors' knowledge of water and mentor emerging Indigenous scientists.

Dr Claire O’Brien

Debugging inflammatory bowel disease

Claire is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology, and Head of the Host-Microbe interactions research group. Her main research interests are the gut microbiome and the inflammatory bowel diseases. Claire received her PhD on the ‘Microbiological aspects of Crohn’s disease’ from the ANU Medical School in 2012. She then undertook a NHMRC Early Career Fellowship at Canberra Hospital, followed by several post-doctoral positions before joining the University of Canberra in July last year.

Dr Wubshet Tesfaye

Next generation antimicrobials to fight skin sores

Dr Wubshet Tesfaye is a pharmacist, pharmaceutical scientist, and an early career researcher at University of Canberra. Wubshet completed his PhD in 2019 from the University of Tasmania and was recruited as a post-doctoral researcher at UC in early 2020. Prior to this, Wubshet was involved in various academic roles in Ethiopia and Australia, and mainly served as a lecturer of pharmacology in Ethiopia for over two years. Wubshet is currently involved in multiple randomised clinical trials in government- and industry-funded projects and has published over 20 peer review journal articles, most of which are in Q1 journals. Wubshet’s research focus encompasses new drug developments in skin infections and medication outcome in noncommunicable diseases. His research interests generally aim to understand treatment challenges and finding novel interventions for infections affecting vulnerable children. Wubshet’s research area also extends to understanding optimal medication use in people with chronic kidney disease.

Watch the finale

The five finalists answer questions from the panel of judges about their research pitch as they compete for $14,000 in research funding.

2021 Big Research Pitch participants

In the 90 second videos below all the Big Research Pitch participants describe their research and its impact.

Dr Mary Bushell

Health professional vaccine hesitancy in the era of new vaccine technologies

Dr Toni Green

Have you ever injured your foot or ankle?

Dr James Hitchcock

Hunting for the plastic eating organisms that could save the planet

Dr Larry Hu

Builders, we have a problem – Emission reduction

Dr Myra Leung

Screening for screen time in young children

Dr Henry Liu

Life-Cycle Performance Measurement System for Ensuring Transport Infrastructure Resilience

Dr Denise Thwaites

Playful Encounters at Ginninderry Living Lab


The 2021 Big Research Pitch was 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. And thank you to Crux Media for producing the pitch videos.

We thank the judging panel for their expertise and insights - Danielle Harmer (General Manager, All Homes), Kate Driver (Deputy Director, Questacon), and Ben Faulks (Chairman & Founder, Ray White Canberra).

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

The Facebook Live event was a collaboration between UC Researcher Development, UC Media and Communications teams, and Crux Media.

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