Swinburne’s brightest compete in Three Minute Thesis competition

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Melanie Simmons

Swinburne PhD candidate Melanie Simmons had just three minutes to showcase the findings of her research.

In summary

  • Nine PhD students participated in Swinburne's annual Three Minute thesis competition
  • PhD candidate and winner of this year’s 3MT, Melanie Simmons, will travel to Brisbane to compete in the Asia-Pacific finals

Nine Swinburne PhD students battled it out in the 2017 Swinburne Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Created by The University of Queensland, 3MT celebrates the exciting and innovative work undertaken by PhD students, while testing their academic and presentation skills.

The rules are simple. In three minutes or less, each PhD candidate must present their thesis to an audience of non-specialists.

The 2017 Swinburne 3MT competition was won by Melanie Simmons for her presentation on measuring physical and verbal abuse.

Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic, one of the judges, says Ms Simmons' presentation was "engaging and insightful" and supported by research data and evidence. 

“Melanie managed to convey clearly the research question, approach and outcomes, and in particular the social impact arising from her research,” Professor Subic says.

“She engaged actively with the audience and articulated with ease what is a difficult and complex issue.”

Ms Simmons created a tool that measures abuse in a quantitative manner so that the severity of abuse can be easily determined.

She also received the People’s Choice Award, as voted by the audience.

“When I started my research, I was surprised to see how child-to-parent abuse had been measured in the past,” Ms Simmons says.

“There was no way to differentiate between hitting a parent or yelling at a parent, so the focus of my research became creating a tool that could measure abuse effectively.”

Ms Simmons believes that 3MT has reinvigorated her passion for her thesis topic.

“3MT not only helps you translate your research to a non-specialist audience but it also helps you look at your research through new eyes,” she says.

“It was almost as if I was rediscovering my thesis topic again.”

By winning the Swinburne 3MT, Melanie Simmons has now progressed to the 2017 Asia-Pacific 3MT Finals, which will be held at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

Ms Simmons will represent Swinburne against 55 research students from universities across Asia-Pacific. The winning participant will receive a $5000 research travel grant as well as funding and entry to the 2017 Falling Walls Lab Final and Conference in Berlin.