Thursday 17th June 2021 saw us hold the UCL final of the 3 Minute Thesis competition. 


We had 11 incredible finalists competing from across UCL and a real variety of interesting research topics being presented! We streamed the event on our Facebook page and a recording is available here if you missed the live one!


A bit of context about the 3 Minute Thesis competition; The 3MT competition aims to make research accessible to all. The competition asks Doctoral candidates to present their research in just three minutes (that's only 180 seconds!), in language appropriate to non-specialists, and with only one single presentation slide to support them. It’s quite the challenge given that some theses can be 80,000 words long! Our panel of judges then mark each presentation for its comprehension and content and engagement and communication before deciding on a winner! The research topics come from various disciplines across UCL and its a great way to find out about the world changing work happening in right on our doorstep!


Our competitors this year were:


Ruben Calvard (IOE) - How do adolescents mediate their masculinity online?


Phoebe Heseltine (Engineering Sciences) - GutLabTM A minimally invasive ingestible device for gut microbiome monitoring.


Lydia Mapstone (Life Sciences) - SMB Genetic engineering of Spirulina for future settlers on the Red Planet



Emma Walker (Population Health Sciences) - Cultural Engagement and Biomarkers of Stress: Are people who engage only healthier because they’re wealthier?



Mica Clarke (Brain Sciences) - Positron emission tomography imaging biomarkers of frontotemporal dementia. 



Olivia Bracken (Medical Sciences) - Lipid Mediators – A drug target for autoimmunity?



Emma Mitchell (IOE) - Better-informed with the end in mind: post-16 choices at a dual-curriculum school



Suviti Chari (Engineering Sciences) - Make haste, valorise our Waste!



Savvas Dimiou (Life Sciences) - 'Inhaling Genes'': A Non-invasive Route to Deliver Therapeutics to the Body



Fanourios Michailidis (Population Health Sciences) - Targeted Therapies for Arteriovenous Malformations


Atika Safitri (Brain Sciences) - What matters to patients with glaucoma?



Our judges; Jim Onyemenam (Students' Union UCL Postgraduate Officer), Kesia Bronk (Acting Head of Researcher Experience at UCL) and Nekisa Zakeri (Research Fellow and UCL 3MT winner 2020) had a very tough challenge as the presentations were such high quality. After much deliberation, they decided on a runner up and winner for the final. There was also a vote from the viewing audience (with over 250 votes cast!) for a People's Choice Award.


Our Runner Up for 2021

Emma Mitchell from the Institute Of Education 


'As a part-time EdD student who also works full-time as a school IB Diploma coordinator, I have always been eager to make the most of the thesis stage, which is my cohort’s final and most important project (our fifth to date). To explore post-16 curriculum choice processes and the values and tensions involved, I’ve provided coaching sessions for Year 11 students in a bid to support them in gaining awareness of their needs and aspirations before making subject decisions, which have a huge bearing on future lives.    Back in 2019 I entered Famelab, a science communication competition, in a bid to find more confidence in public speaking. I avoided learning by rote because I wanted to practise being fully present during the event - in spite of my nerves. Now armed with the knowledge that every word matters, I prepared quite differently for 3MT. Multiple redrafts of a script to optimise the balance of justification, content and emotion and dozens of run-throughs (including in front of my classes!) were involved.   Placing runner-up in the IOE heat, I knew I’d done well but that I’d need to make a few tweaks to stand out in the UCL final. Fortunately, I was provided with the feedback that my images were slightly too metaphorical and so I channelled my energies into improving my slide before rehearsing my lines once more. It’s a real privilege to have been placed runner-up in this higher tier of the competition - and I've had a lot of fun throughout.   On the face of it, Covid-19 restrictions might not appear to provide the ideal circumstances to enter a university social event. But in reality, I couldn’t have timed my participation in 3MT much better. It has been the perfect opportunity for me to meet new people (online), discover collegiality and critical friendships with fellow doctorate students and test out the key ideas that I’m writing up in my thesis. I’m hugely grateful to the organisers of the IOE heat and UCL final for accommodating the timing of my presentations between my school physics lessons - and I’d like to congratulate all entrants on their incredible efforts.    I can’t recommend 3MT enough. Go for it and good luck!'

Our People's Choice Winner (by audience vote) 

Suviti Chari from the Faculty of Engineering Sciences 

'It was a wonderful showcase of the diverse research at UCL. My research on waste valorisation represents the final frontier towards realising a circular economy. I am grateful for the opportunity to highlight its modern relevance, and to bring a level of curiosity and self-awareness on this topic to the audience.'

2021 3 Minute Thesis Winner 

Lydia Mapstone from the Faculty of Life Science

On her experience, Lydia said ' I am delighted to win the UCL 3MT competition. So far this experience has massively boosted my confidence in public speaking and made me reflect and be proud of the work I have done over the last three years. It was also so interesting to learn about the diverse research areas of my competitors across the University and a pleasure to listen to their presentations. Bring on the next stage of the competition!' 

Lydia will be going on to represent UCL at the National Semi Finals! We can't wait to see her showcasing her work on the national stage! Well done Lydia!