Bright ideas flow from theses

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint and Vice-Chancellor Professor Stirling with 3MT final presenters Jennifer Fane (Health Sciences), Stephanie Morey (People’s Choice), Abdullah Silawi (Business), Shani Sniedze-Gregory (Education), Samantha Kontra (runner-up), Shee-Chee Ong (Medicine), Emma Kent (winner) and Melanie Fuller (Chemical and Physical Sciences).

Life-saving medical, health and safety projects, and in-depth research from other Flinders faculties led to a nail-biting finish in this year’s Three Minute Thesis final at Flinders University.

Judges Emeritus Professor Susan Sheridan and ABC journalist Simon Royal joined Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling and the Dean of Graduate Research, 3MT MC Professor Tara Brabazon, in congratulating the high standard of this year’s entries.

Emma Kent, from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, will represent Flinders at the national Three-Minute Thesis finals in Queensland. She will compete against other universities at the 2016 Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition at the University of Queensland in Brisbane on 30 September.

Samantha Kontra, from Flinders Law School, was the runner-up at last week’s Flinders final while psychology PhD Stephanie Morey was People’s Choice winner.

Emma’s research is focusing on one of the active ingredients in illegal drug production, pitching her academic goals against rival research into cystic fibrosis and cancer prevention.

Melanie Fuller, the winner of the Science and Engineering Faculty competition, presented on a novel approach to gene prevention of cystic fibrosis while Emma Kent stood in for faculty runner-up Mark Gardner (School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics) who was not available for the 3MT final.

From Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Shee-Chee Ong (Medicine) is investigating the ‘dark side of insulin’  (does our hero cause cancer?) while Jennifer Fane (Health Sciences) is looking at using emojis to help children communicate.

Stephanie Morey, from Social and Behavioural Sciences, is studying how distraction can reduce periphery vision and Abdullah Silawi (Business School) is investigating corporate-community involvement in the Middle East.

At the 3MT final event, Samantha Kontra’s presentation covered her research on teaching negotiation to law students as part of their training, and Shani Sniedze-Gregory (School of Education) presented her research in place of faculty runner-up Peter Beaglehole (Humanities and Creative Arts).

Shani is developing an assessment tool for interdisciplinary studies in schools which she hopes to promote in the education system.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said about 60 PhDs have competed in school and faculty 3MT competitions this year, with all participants gaining greatly from the experience.

“The high standard of the final presentations is testament to the impact Flinders research seeks to achieve,” Professor Stirling said. “All eight final presentations were outstanding and each of the finalists have done the University and themselves proud.”

Along with faculty prizes, the Flinders University winner will receive $2,000 plus flights and accommodation to attend the finals in Brisbane while the runner-up receives $500 and a Venture Dorm summer school scholarship sponsored by Flinders New Venture Institute valued at up to $4,975.

The overall winner of the Australian-NZ 3MT award is eligible for a $5,000 research travel grant and the chance to attend the 2016 Falling Walls Lab final and conference in Berlin.

You can watch all of the action at the Flinders University finals at the video link here.

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