HKU Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition 2014

"The 3MT transformed the heart and mind. It did not only challenge me to think of what to say about my research in three minutes, it also made me go through a journey of self-reflection, where I asked myself these questions: "What have you done in the last four years? Why are you doing what you are doing?" The 3MT gave us all a chance to tell others our stories. The process of preparing for my story was an unforgettable experience, not to mention the three minutes when I was on the stage speaking to a room filled with audiences! I must thank my supervisor, Professor Nirmala Rao, for her encouragement and support at all times. I must also thank my friends for being there throughout the process," says Carrie Lau, Champion of the HKU 3MT 2014 and winner of the People's Choice Award.

"Explaining your research project in three minutes using layman's language is not easy. Before the 3MT, I thought that candidates from technology-based disciplines were less favoured than those from non-technology-related disciplines as our work involves many technical terms as well as concepts that are difficult to understand. At the 3MT, I was impressed by some other candidates using everyday life examples to explain their experimental research. The 3MT has given me the valuable chance to not only enhance my presentation skills, but also understand more about the research work conducted by fellow RPg students in other faculties," says Ming Long Chung, 1st Runner-up and winner of the Online People's Choice Award.

"Being a PhD student in Physics, I always question myself: can I explain my research to a non-specialist in a logical, concise, yet appealing way? The 3MT provided the best opportunity for me to solve my enigma. The most valuable gem of this competition was not how much applause I received. It was the preparation of my presentation in which I learnt the most. I had to condense the core of my research into 180 seconds and present it in simple terms yet elegantly. The 3MT also helped me improve my resilience against stress. Finally, I would like to express the sincerest gratitude to my supervisor, Dr S. J. Xu, who enlightened me on the path of idea dissemination," says Zhuo Deng, 2nd Runner-up.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition 2014 of HKU was successfully held on March 11, 2014. This year 33 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 Paul Y. S. Cheung, Associate Vice-President of HKU, officiated at the final competition. Dr Laura King, Arts Engaged Fellow from the University of Leeds, Mr Man Cheuk Fei, HKU Council Member, and Ms Linda Yeung, Education Editor of the South China Morning Post (SCMP), 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 M. L. Chye, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Dr Angel Lin, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Education, and Professor Ben Young, Associate Dean of the Graduate School. Professor M. H. Sham, Head and Professor of the Department of Biochemistry, helped adjudicate at one of the parallel heats.

Congratulations to all the winners of the HKU 3MT Competition 2014. They are:


Champion (awarded research travel support or book prize of HK$7,000)
People's Choice Award Winner (awarded research travel support or book prize of HK$3,000)

Name: Ms Carrie LAU
  PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education
Presentation Title: Home and school influences on the English vocabulary development of Chinese preschoolers in Hong Kong
Primary Supervisor: Professor Nirmala RAO

Ms Lau was interviewed by Hong Kong Magazine on 3MT. For details, please click here.


1st Runner-up (awarded research travel support or book prize of HK$5,000)
Online People's Choice Award Winner (awarded book prize of HK$800)

Name: Mr Ming Long CHUNG
  MPhil candidate in the Faculty of Science
Presentation Title: Oxygen: Angel or Demon? - Lipid peroxidation and its relevance to pheromone production in marine fish under oxidative stress
Primary Supervisor: Dr Jetty Chung Yung LEE


2nd Runner-up (awarded research travel support or book prize of HK$3,000)

Name: Mr Zhuo DENG
  PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science
Presentation Title: "Who stole my electrons?" - Electron Loss Process in 3rd generation solar cells
Primary Supervisor: Dr S. J. XU


"We want our research postgraduate students to not only excel in research, but also recognize that it is their responsibility as researchers to communicate and share their research discoveries with the community," Professor Paul Cheung says.

The HKU 3MT Competition was jointly organized by the Graduate School and KEO. The event production was supported by the Journalism and Media Studies Centre. 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 of the 3MT Competition with Associate Vice-President Professor Paul Cheung and members of the adjudicating panel

(From left, back row) Mr Arthur Wong (finalist), Mr Kenny Yuen (finalist), Mr Sander Paul Zwanenburg (finalist), Mr Zhuojun Liu (finalist), Mr Man Cheuk Fei (HKU Council Member), Professor John Bacon-Shone (Associate Director of KEO), Dr Laura King (Arts Engaged Fellow of the University of Leeds), Professor Paul Cheung (Associate Vice-President), Professor John Carroll (supervisor of the finalist Mr Kenny Yuen), Dr Jetty Chung Yung Lee (supervisor of Mr Ming Long Chung, the 1st Runner-up and winner of the Online People's Choice Award)

(From left, front row) Mr Kelvin Lam (finalist), Mr Zhuo Deng (2nd Runner-up), Ms Yingyi Wang (finalist), Ms Meini Su (finalist), Professor M. L. Chye (Associate Dean of the Graduate School), Dr Angel Lin (Associate Professor of the Faculty of Education), Ms Carrie Lau (Champion and winner of the People's Choice Award), Mr Ming Long Chung (1st Runner-up and winner of the Online People's Choice Award), Ms Linda Yeung (Education Editor of SCMP), Professor Ben Young (Associate Dean of the Graduate School)