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100,000 words in three minutes

Alex Doudy

Bernhard Lobmayr won the Division of Business three minute thesis competition.It takes a lot longer than three minutes to write a thesis, but that was all the time it took for Bernhard Lobmayr to sum up his research and take top prize at UniSA’s inaugural Three Minute Thesis Competition.

Taking to the stage with nothing more than a strict time limit and a single PowerPoint with which to explain the importance of his thesis, The Effects of Regulation on Innovation in High-Risk Medical Device Markets, was a daunting but worthwhile task for the School of Commerce student.

“Of course it was a challenge, but I took the challenge because I really wanted to be able to explain what my research was about in a short amount of time because you get asked all the time – what are you actually doing at uni, what are you spending 45 hours a week on?”, said Bernhard.

Bernhard was one of three finalists in the Division of Business’ competition, which requires students in the advanced stages of their PhD to speedily convince an intelligent but non-specialist audience of the value of their studies without “dumbing down” the research too much – all within three minutes.

Competition coach and Research Education Advisor from UniSA’s Teaching and Learning Unit, Dr Judy Ford, said turning technical jargon into meaningful communication isn’t always easy.

“It comes back to looking at your research in a different way,” Dr Ford said.

“Getting away from the purely academic aspect of it and to look at its life importance and importance to the general audience.

“To pull out those key messages in a very simple and quick way is very difficult.”

For his trouble Bernhard was awarded $1000 and will now compete against other divisional winners for the title of UniSA champion and a chance to represent the University at the Australia and New Zealand competition in late September.

Long-term, Bernhard hopes to pursue an academic career that combines lecturing and research.

In the meantime he has this advice for other competitors.

“You’ve spent a lot of time on your research and it’s what you know best, its only three minutes and it’s not the most important three minutes of your life so what can happen? Just try not to be too nervous.”

University-wide finals will be held on Friday afternoon (August 20), at City West campus.

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