Open to Talent

You can learn a lot in three minutes

3MT Competition
Fast talkers: From left 3MT Finals winner
Melissa Humphries, runner-up Jeff Thomas and
People's Choice award winner Adeola Babgboje.

By Peter Cochrane

Three minutes may not seem like much time to explain an 80,000-word thesis that has taken up to five years to research and develop, but that's what is required of PhD candidates competing in the annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

The time limit meant each competitor had to present at speed, but it was a presentation about ecstasy which has won budding statistician Melissa Humphries a trip to Perth and a shot at Trans-Tasman glory. Ms Humphries' thesis revolves around determining the optimal frequency of testing for illegal drugs at a Gold Coast water-treatment plant. Her presentation during the University's Research Week was entitled Taking the Piss – The Ecstasy in Pee. Ms Humphries will go on to compete at the Trans-Tasman 3MT competition hosted by the University of Western Australia on November 3. Runner-up was Jeff Thomas (Faculty of Education), whose presentation Not Just the Bad Boys looked at strategies to measure disengagement among high-school students and how they might be re-engaged. The People's Choice award went to Adeola Babgboje (Engineering and ICT), who is investigating the use of smartphones to enhance customer decision-making during food recalls.