HKU Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition 2016

"As a researcher in education, the intense conflict emerging in Hong Kong society has triggered my eagerness to share my research to more audiences. 3MT has definitely provided me the best platform to accomplish my goal… More importantly, the preparation process for the 3MT has helped me to better conceptualize my thesis," says Xiaoxin Du, Champion of the HKU 3MT 2016 and winner of the People’s Choice Award.

“Watching the 3MT competitions has prepared me well to casually talk to anyone anytime about my research in layman’s language and in an interesting way. I went to the competition as if I were just entering into another casual chat with friends, trying to enjoy my time chatting with the audience and other contestants,” Ricky Tso, First Runner-Up.

“The 3MT competition provided me an excellent opportunity to learn how to extract key messages from a wealth of research findings, as well as to deliver my ideas to non-specialists in a clear and interesting way. It was extremely rewarding to hear that people found my research work interesting and meaningful after my 3-minute talk,” says Yuen Yung Lau, Second Runner-up.

“I am extremely delighted to reach out and share my research with so many people. I must say that each research postgraduate should take up this challenge to bring out the best in themselves and their research; it is an amazing experience,” says Akanksha Gandhi, winner of the Online People’s Choice Award.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition 2016 of HKU was successfully held on March 8, 2016. This year 32 research postgraduate (RPg) students participated in the competition, and 10 finalists were shortlisted to compete for 3 prizes decided by the adjudicating panel and the People's Choice Award decided by audience ballot. The Online People's Choice Award was awarded to the finalist who received the most 'LIKE' votes on YouTube after the competition.

The 3MT was developed by The University of Queensland, Australia in 2008. It is an academic competition that challenges RPg students to explain their research within 3 minutes to a general audience. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by RPg students and encourages them to develop the skills to communicate the importance of their research to the broader community.

Professor Peter Mathieson, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU, officiated at the final competition. Ms Belinda Hung, Co-founder of Hung Hing Ying and Leung Hau Ling Charitable Foundation and HKU Court member, and Dr Allan Wong, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of VTech Holdings Limited and Chairman of the Board of Management of Versitech Limited of HKU, served on the adjudicating panel as external members. Internal members of the adjudicating panel included Professor John Bacon-Shone, Associate Director of the Knowledge Exchange Office (KEO), who served as the Chairman of the panel, Professor Ying Chan, Director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, Professor Ying Shing Chan of the School of Biomedical Sciences, Professor Lena Wong of the Faculty of Education, and Professor Ben Young, Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

Congratulations to all the winners of the HKU 3MT Competition 2016. They are:


Champion and People's Choice Award Winner

Name: Ms Xiaoxin DU
  PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education
Presentation Title: Torn Apart: Role Split Phenomenon in Chinese Higher Education
Primary Supervisor: Professor Wing Wah LAW


1st Runner-up

Name: Mr Ricky Van Yip TSO
  PhD candidate in the Faculty of Social Sciences
Presentation Title: Without Writing—Can We Learn to Read Chinese?
Primary Supervisor: Dr Janet Hui Wen HSIAO


2nd Runner-up

Name: Ms Yuen Yung LAU
  PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science
Presentation Title: Lured and trapped: how plants can imprison beetle pollinators for reproduction?
Primary Supervisor: Professor Richard M. K. SAUNDERS


Online People's Choice Award Winner

Name: Ms Akanksha GANDHI
  PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science
Presentation Title: To cheese or not to cheese…?
Primary Supervisor: Professor Nagendra SHAH


"If you want to translate your research or innovation into real impact on the world, you have to make it accessible beyond academic publications. You have to make it readily understood by potential funders and partners, the media and the general public. Even if your innovation has the potential to become a successful start-up or a multi-billion project, you have to be able to explain it concisely when pitching to angel investors and venture capitalists. The 3MT skills are therefore invaluable to you," Professor Peter Mathieson says.   

The HKU 3MT Competition was jointly organized by the Graduate School and KEO. Videos on the presentations of the awardees and finalists can be viewed here.

Awardees and finalists of the HKU 3MT Competition 2012 with Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Paul Tam and members of the adjudicating panel

Awardees, finalists and supervisors at the HKU 3MT Competition 2016 with President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Mathieson and members of the adjudicating panel

(From left, back row) Dr Celia Hoi Yan Chan (supervisor of the finalist Ms Po Yee Lo), Professor Ben Young, Professor Paul Cheung (Director of the Technology Transfer Office), Dr Allan Wong, Professor Andy Hor (Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor), Professor Peter Mathieson, Professor Mee Len Chye (Acting Dean of the Graduate School), Ms Belinda Hung, Professor John Bacon-Shone, Professor Ying Chan, Professor Ying Shing Chan, Professor Richard M. K. Saunders, Professor Lena Wong

(From left, front row) Ms Chun Lam Yiu (finalist), Ms Akanksha Gandhi (winner of the Online People's Choice Award), Ms Iok Teng Kuok (finalist), Ms Yuen Yung Lau (2nd Runner-up), Ms Xiaoxin Du (champion and winner of the People's Choice Award), Mr Ricky Van Yip Tso (1st Runner-up), Ms Danyue Zhao (finalist), Ms Wei Yan (finalist), Ms Hanlu Yan (finalist), Ms Po Yee Lo (finalist)