Guide to choosing running shoes wins Three Minute Thesis grand final

running on a treadmill SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Making informed choices on running shoes to suit body mass and help avoid injuries was the theme of the winning presentation at UniSA’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) grand final this year.

Joel Fuller from the School of Health Sciences was awarded first prize for his three minute speech discussing a guide to selecting running shoes based on body mass, which had strong relevance.

This year’s grand final competition proved as compelling as ever, with a snapshot of the range of research taking place at UniSA featuring presentations on subjects including astro-tourism, high dynamic range imaging and financial planning.

Eight PhD students had just 180 seconds to present a condensed outline of their research in a manner designed to appeal to an intelligent though non-specialist audience, and with the aid of just one presentation slide.

Following his winning presentation, Joel Fuller said trying to condense a research project into a three minute speech was challenging.

“Explaining your message in the short time available forces you to have a thorough understanding of your research, which is always important,” Joel says.

“About two million Australians participate in running and each of them will typically buy two or three pairs of running shoes each year.

“That’s a lot of people spending a lot of money on running shoes. Our research provides important guidelines for runners that will ensure they are spending their money on shoes that are appropriate for their body mass and to help people avoid running injuries. This will hopefully improve the way that different shoe types are marketed to runners.”

As part of his prize, Joel will now go forward to compete in the Asia-Pacific Grand Final of the competition later this month.

To achieve selection as one of the top eight finalists in the 3MT competition, the students had already honed their skills by progressing through divisional and school stages.

The high calibre of their presentations was evident through the clarity and confidence of each student’s delivery and the audience of 150 were clearly engaged and curious to find out more about the research that was presented, with a question and answer panel session after the main speeches, proving particularly popular.

The audience selected School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences student Lih Yin Tan as the People’s Choice Winner.

Lih, who is undertaking research in the Vascular Biology and Cell Trafficking Laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Biology’s presentation Mission Immune Possible examined immunotherapy as a treatment for cancer.

Second place in the grand final went to Abdullah Saed from the School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences for his presentation on Visible Light Communications, weaving in a topical reference to Pokemon Go.

Third place went to Amanda Richardson from the School of Health Sciences with a presentation on predicting the success of first-year university students titled ‘Success needs more than just a good ATAR’.

The other four grand finalists were:

  • School of Commerce student Ammar Asbi explained how financial planning can help victims recover faster from natural disasters, including bushfires.

  • Astro-tourism was the focus of third year School of Marketing student Samaneah Soleimani’s presentation in which she considered the potential of locations which provide unhindered views of the stars at night, as holiday destinations.

  • Aaron David of the School of Art, Architecture and Design talked about the value of collaboration, particularly in relation to the design of urban environments.

  • Daniel Griffiths, founding President of the UniSA Mechatronic Engineering and Robotics Club, (School of Engineering) spoke on the subject of High Dynamic Range imaging techniques, prompting discussions about the potential commercial aspects of this research, in a question and answer session after the main speeches.

Grand finalists in UniSA’s Three Minute Thesis competition are pictured with the judging panel.Grand finalists in UniSA’s Three Minute Thesis competition are pictured with the judging panel.

Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor Pat Buckley, congratulated all those taking part in this year’s 3MT grand final, adding that communication is key to collaboration in the wider world.

“The 3MT competition aims to develop the student’s ability to take complex research and communicate it in a fashion that a non-specialist audience can understand,” Prof Buckley says.

“This is probably one of the hardest talks they will ever prepare. It is increasingly important for researchers to talk with a wide range of people from communities, industry and governments about their work in ways others can understand and appreciate.”

The panel – selected for their breadth of interests and achievements in academia, and beyond – comprised UniSA Chancellor Jim McDowell; Head of Postgraduate Programs at the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide Associate Professor Kimi Coaldrake; Head of Business Development at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research Dr Julian Clark; and Director of UniSA’s Science Creativity Education Studio (SCi.C.ED) Dr Kristin Alford.