Western Sydney University researchers shine in three-minute research challenge

Three minutes is enough time to make a cup of tea, brush your teeth and listen to an average pop song – it was also enough time for 13 of Western Sydney University’s best and brightest early career researchers to present their work at this year’s Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT).

Held in over 200 universities worldwide, the 3MT is open to PhD students and challenges them to present their research in just 180 seconds, in an engaging way that can be understood by lay audiences. The competition aims to develop a researchers’ presentation, research and academic communications skills.

Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Kevin Dunn congratulated all presenters at Western Sydney University’s final of the competition, commending all on the quality of their presentations and the rigorous nature of their research.

“3MT celebrates the diversity of discoveries made by research candidates across Schools and Institutes at Western Sydney University. The competition also communicates the importance of higher degree research to the broader community and highlights the quality of impactful research being conducted by some of our best and brightest students,” he said.

A few hundred gathered at the Kingwood Campus’ Playhouse Theatre to watch the final, sponsored by UniBank, which featured heat winners of 3MT competitions from Schools and Institutes.

The competition was won by Daphne Foong from the School of Medicine. Daphne’s talk ‘Understanding the Pacemaker Cells of the Gut' focused on the work of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) in the gut and her fundamental research addressing gastroparesis – a disease that has no cure. Runner-up and People's Choice winner was Rocky Putra from the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment for his talk ‘Silicon, Legumes and Beneficial Bacteria: Closing the Gap of Happiness'.

3MT Final winner, Daphne Foong.

Daphne Foong said she found the competition an enlightening and rewarding experience.

“I now have a much better appreciation of the value in being able to effectively present my work to a wider, non-specialist audience. Participation in the 3MT competition has allowed me to showcase my complex research project in a concise, simple and timely manner.

“The competition is a great platform to bring attention to your research area by providing the opportunity to highlight key messages to a broader audience. I highly encourage other researchers to participate, as it challenges both your understanding of your project, and also your ability to clearly and effectively communicate your research within three minutes,” said Daphne.

Daphne will now represent the School of Medicine and Western Sydney University at the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition.

For more information and to watch the winning entry go to:


Wednesday, 21 August

Emma Sandham, Senior Media Officer