3MT challenge: Three exciting minutes bring global solutions to life

The winners of the 3MT competition at the McDonnell International Scholars Academy symposium were announced during a dinner at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

By Melody Yunzi Li, McDonnell Scholar from Arts & Sciences: Comparative Literature (PhD) and Hsun-Chia Hsu, McDonnell Scholar from the School of Engineering & Applied Science: Biomedical Engineering (PhD)

“Are you going to the 3MT?” “Who do you think will win?” For graduate students, 3MT is one of the most exciting components of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy symposium.

Created by The University of Queensland in 2008, 3MT competitions challenge PhD students to deliver their thesis in three minutes with only one PowerPoint slide. This competition helps students generate a succinct, convincing argument for not only colleagues in their own field, but for people across disciplines or any generic audience. The McDonnell Symposium 3MT finalists did this beautifully and proved the success of the competition.

The McDonnell Symposium 3MT competition focused on the key themes of the meeting: energy and environment; food, water and sustainability; population aging and global public health. Five topic area finalists competed during the day and the winners were announced at the end of the evening.

Aging and Public Health

In the population aging & public health session, scholars tackled the issues of breast cancer, international human trafficking, after-retirement life, early-stage health care. Cal J. Halvorsen from Washington university in St. Louis was the winner of this session with his clear and fluent expression of his research on redesigning work for longer lives.

Food, Water, and Sustainability

Interestingly, competitors in this topic demonstrated the close linkage of this theme to two other themes—environment and global health.

Winner Weng Chan Vong from the National University of Singapore, described a new way to use Soybean Waste

 Energy and the Environment

In the energy and environment session, scholars presented their innovative research on improvement of the extraction of methane hydrates, the developments of business and energy technology for the poor, the different impacts of a low-cost technology for the poor, and a new application of activated carbon for improving the air pollution in China.

Winner Avigail Landman from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology stood out with her creative new method on water electrolysis.

Read more from the McDonnell Scholars.