Three-Minute Thesis Competition

Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre, Durham University Law School

11 May 2016, 2.00 – 3.30 pm

Could you present three years of work in just three minutes? That is the challenge for seven doctoral research students competing to represent their university at a regional competition and hoping to win a place in the grand final in Manchester in September.

Durham University is inviting the public to help judge how well its PhD students present and explain their research in three minutes, in the University’s final heat of the ‘3-Minute Thesis’ competition.

The winners will go on to the regional final, competing against the other North East universities, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside.

PhD students typically spend several years carrying out original research and writing up their findings in a thesis in order to gain a doctorate. An 80,000 word thesis would typically take nine hours if presented in its entirety.

The 3-Minute Thesis competition was originally developed by The University of Queensland, Australia in 2008, to celebrate the exciting research conducted by PhD students. The popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 200 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.

The judging panel for the University final will include Sir Thomas Allen, Chancellor of Durham University, Colin Baine, Dean and Deputy to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Claire Whitelaw, Deputy Director of Communications.

Christine Bohlander, Researcher Development Officer with Durham University’ Centre for Academic, Researcher and Organisation Development (CAROD) and organiser of the event explained: “This is a great opportunity to hear about research taking place at Durham in a fun and informative way.

“It also gives our students the chance to share their knowledge and develop presenting and communication skills which will be invaluable in their chosen future careers.”

Research students will be presenting on a wide range of topics as follows:

Faculty of Social Sciences & Health:

Jenny Horrocks, Department of Geography: Using the past to predict the future: How did Antarctica react to past climate change?

Rune Rattenborg, Department of Archaeology: The scale and extent of early state economies of the Bronze Age Middle East (c. 2000-1600 BCE)

Claire Reed, School of Education: Exploring the purpose and function of the shadow education system.

Faculty of Science:

Catherine Blackwell, Department of Chemistry: Synthesis of biodegradable plastics

William Cowley, Department of Physics: Modelling the Dusty Universe

Christopher Jones, Department of Chemistry: Ropemaking with helical gel fibres

Andrew Robertson, Department of Physics: The Fundamental Particle Properties of Dark Matter