29 August 2018 Photo Barend Nagel
Think three minutes is a long time
One slide and three minutes was all they had to present their research. Winners of the UFS Three-Minute Thesis competition in the Master’s category are from left: Nigel Masalla, Phuthi Samuel Masingi and Vuyisa Sigwela. Home page photo: Winners in the PhD Category were Trudie Strauss and Nokuthula Tlalajoe.

It may take three minutes to make noodles, but imagine presenting the 80 000-word research you spent months writing in just three minutes.

For master’s and PhD students participating in the annual institutional Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the University of the Free State (UFS), three minutes seem to go as fast as three seconds. Each participant is given three minutes to present the essence of their research, explaining the problem, methodology used, as well as the importance of their research using one slide.

A jubilant audience of staff members and students gathered at the Equitas Auditorium on the Bloemfontein Campus for the annual institutional 3MT competition. Interesting research topics across different fields of study, which the participants had spent months and even years researching, were presented in the master’s and PhD categories. After each presentation, a panel of judges and the audience had the chance to ask the participants questions on their research.

The competition is part of the initiative by the UFS Postgraduate School to showcase postgraduate research across disciplines, faculties, and universities. Participation in this competition helps to develop academic, presentation, and research communication skills to ensure that research students can effectively communicate their research in a language that even non-specialists can understand. 

It is the mandate of the school to “create an enabling environment for postgraduate students to excel in their pursuit of their academic quests”, according to Prof Witness Mudzi: Director of the UFS Postgraduate School. 

Winners at the event:

PhDs
• Third prize: Trudie Strauss - Babelish Confusion: Finding Statistical Structure in the Diversity of Languages (R3 000 cash prize)
• People’s choice: Nokuthula Tlalajoe - The transition of undergraduate first-year students into the MBChB programme: Social learning and integration

Master’s
• First prize: Phuthi Samuel Masingi   Physical demands of South African Football (R6 000 cash prize)
• Second prize and people’s choice: Nigel Masalla   “ Stealthing” – lifting the veil on non-consensual condom removal (R4 000 cash prize)
• Third prize: Vuyisa Sigwela - Extraction, characterisation and application of betalains from beetroot, cactus pear and amaranth (R2 000 cash prize)

The UFS will be represented by Trudie Strauss at the national 3MT competition on 26 October 2018. The national competition will take place on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus


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