19 March 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
National Three-Minute Thesis was full of surprises
Prof Witness Mudzi, Director of Postgraduate School; Dr Julius Osayi, VUT Postdoctoral Fellow and lecturer; Prof Corli Witthuhn, UFS Vice-Rector: Research; Dr Shale Sefadi, Sol Plaatje University senior lecturer in Physical Chemistry and Materials Science; and Dr Anofi Ashafa, UFS Assistant Dean and Head of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences of the Qwaqwa campus.

The National Three-Minute Thesis competition (3MT) was a resounding success. The fourth national 3MT competition took place at the University of the Free State (UFS) on Friday 2 March 2018.
 
“We brought the competition to South Africa and have hosted the local, regional, and national competitions for the past few years,” said Dr Emmie Smit, from the UFS Postgraduate School.
 
Prof Corli Witthuhn, the Vice-Rector: Research, commended all the participants and encouraged them to continue with their academic careers. “Stay in the academic sector; we need great young academics to stay in our institutions. You are our future leaders,” said Prof Witthuhn.
 
The competition is an opportunity to raise the profile of postgraduate research and to develop a cross-disciplinary student community to effectively communicate research to a wide audience. There were eight participants from the UFS, University of Cape Town (UCT), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and Vaal University of Technology (VUT).

3MT is a competition that promotes science and technology by creating a space for scientists to find their voices and reach public audiences. Contestants had to ensure their three-minute talks were fun, charismatic, clear and entertaining. Three contestants emerged victorious on the day.

Witty minds make science fun

The three winners were, in first place PhD student Anri Human, from the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences. Her topic was ‘To train or not to train - that is the question!’. She elaborated on the effect of mechanical insufflation-exsufflation and respiratory muscle training on clinical outcomes and health-related quality of life in paediatric and adolescent patients with neuromuscular diseases presenting with respiratory muscle weakness: a multi-centre trial.
 
In second place was Lee Jay Edwin Swales from the UKZN Faculty of Law. Swales’s topic was an analysis of the regulatory environment governing electronic evidence in South Africa: suggestions for reform, on how data messages should be treated as real evidence in a court of law.
 
Finally, the third place was Ruth Nekura Lekakeny from the UCT Faculty of Law, UCT). Her topic was ‘One-stop centres’ and state accountability for sexual violence: Comparing integration models in Kenya and South Africa. The topic was about multi-sector collaborations that integrate health, legal and psychosocial services that support rape victims which are acknowledged as the best practice in sexual violence intervention.

The judges were Prof Witness Mudzi, UFS Director of Postgraduate School; Dr Anofi Ashafa, UFS Assistant Dean and Head of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences of the Qwaqwa campus; Dr Shale Sefadi, Sol Plaatje University senior lecturer in Physical Chemistry and Materials Science; and Dr Julius Osayi, VUT Postdoctoral Fellow and lecturer.

Get ready, get set and ready to go 
The UFS 3MT internal competition will be held on 24 August 2018 (for the 2018 academic year) and the next 3MT national competition will be on 26 October 2018 (for the 2018 academic year).


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