UK Happenings

Short and Sweet: Research Told Briefly Will Take Home the Prize at Thesis Competition

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 29, 2018)  Graduate students at the University of Kentucky are familiar with sleepless nights spent studying to become experts in their field. Now, a campus-wide competition is testing their ability to engage the general audience in their research.

Simplifying complex research — it's a challenging task — but try doing that in three minutes or less. UK GradResearch Live! provides an exciting opportunity to rise to that challenge, while joining the campus and local community in a celebration of the groundbreaking research happening at UK.

UK GradResearch Live! was born out of the University of Queensland’s 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Normally, a 100,000-word doctoral thesis would take 10 hours to present, but the challenge of this contest is for participants to explain their research in jargon-free language, as well as convince non-specialist listeners of their argument and leave them with a lasting impression in just a matter of minutes.

"Participating in 3MT competition allowed me to expose my research to a variety of audiences outside my field of expertise, giving me opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations," Shayan Mohammadmoradi, the 2017 UK 3MT winner, said. "The experience also helped me develop a new understanding of my research that allowed me to describe it to anyone, no matter their background. 3MT is a research communication booster."

The first track of UK GradResearch Live! follows traditional rules — three minutes or less and one slide — with the top two winners of the final competition moving on to compete in regional 3MT competitions. 

The Graduate School and Graduate Student Congress have hosted 3MT competitions at UK since 2013. This year's event expands upon previous competitions by featuring a public showcase, a postdoctoral scholar research showcase and a reception, where The Graduate School and Graduate Student Congress will announce the winners who will receive more than $3,000 in prizes. 

Graduate Student Research Showcase: People's Choice, First Place (audience members vote): $500 People's Choice, Second Place (audience members vote): $250

3MT Competition: First Place: $750 plus paid travel to the 3MT Regional Competition of choice Second Place: $500 plus paid travel to a different 3MT Regional Competition Third Place: $250 People's Choice (audience members vote): $250

Postdoc Research Showcase: People's Choice, First Place (audience members vote): $500 People's Choice, Second Place (audience members vote): $250

"In graduate education, the most important skill complementing a mastery of content knowledge is clear, concise, engaging communication. Graduate students and postdocs who develop the skill of communicating their research effectively across audiences, especially non-specialist ones, can succeed in a wide range of careers and circumstances," Morris Grubbs, assistant dean of The Graduate School, said. "As intellectual storytellers, graduate students and postdocs hold the power to spark interest and effect change. UK GradResearch Live! provides the opportunity to test and hone these skills in a competitive forum. It also provides the campus community with a rare window into the amazing research occurring across campus."  

The final competition takes place 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the Worsham Cinema in the Gatton Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

For a list of the finalists that will be presenting during the finale event, visit The Graduate School website.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue