26 October 2021 | Story Lunga Luthuli | Photo Supplied
Tumelo Robert Sekee from the Faculty of Health Sciences, 1st runner-up will be competing for big prize in the PhD category at the national leg of the competition and Emmie Chiyindiko, from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, winner of the UFS 3MT Competition.

Emmie Chiyindiko from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Tumelo Robert Sekee from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State were victorious in the PhD category during this year’s Three-Minute Thesis Competition held on 1 October 2021. 

Hosted virtually by the UFS Postgraduate School, tension ran high at this year’s institutional leg of the competition, with all participants putting their best foot forward. 

Winners from each faculty competed against each other for the UFS Three-Minute Thesis title. Chiyindiko was a winner with her 3MT thesis titled, Breaking the walls of energy poverty, and Sekee emerged victorious with his thesis titled, The ecology of flaviviruses in central South Africa, from a total of 15 participants – six PhD and eight master's participants.

Prof Witness Mudzi, Director of the Postgraduate School, says: “The university has been part of the competition from 2013 and started hosting it in 2016. Research is an important pillar of any institution of higher learning. It provides an opportunity for both the student and the institution to gain deep insight into a research area. Research allows for the generation of sustainable solutions to problems.”

“The most fundamental purpose of the Three-Minute Thesis competition is to support the mandate of the University of the Free State, which is to be a research-led institution, by increasing the number of research outputs and publications,” says Prof Mudzi.

The Three-Minute Thesis Competition is hosted at 200 universities around the world and is open to PhD and master's students. Participants are required to present their research in just 180 seconds – in a way that is understood by an audience with no background in the research area.

Melisha Moodley from the Faculty of Health Sciences won the master’s degree category with her 3MT thesis titled, Characteristics and outcomes of infants with cytomegalovirus infection in Bloemfontein.

Only PhD candidates will participate in the next round, happening nationally on 29 October 2021, with two participants each from the University of the Free State, University of Johannesburg, University of South Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, North-West University, Wits University, Rhodes University, Durban University of Technology, and Central University of Technology.

Prof Mudzi says: “Universities need to focus on the generation of new knowledge to solve critical problems in the country, on the continent, and globally. The Three-Minute Thesis competition aims to achieve this by encouraging the increase of research output produced by master’s and PhD students.” 

Winners and runners-up of the competition are as follows:

For the PhD category
Winner: Emmie Chiyindiko (Natural and Agricultural Sciences)
First runner-up: Tumelo Robert Sekee (Health Sciences)
Second runner-up: Sander van Leusden (Natural and Agricultural Sciences)

For the master's category
Winner: Melisha Moodley (Health Sciences)
First runner-up: Sunaida Sumaya Surtie (Economic and Management Sciences)
Second runner-up: Lumanyano Ngcayisa (the Humanities)

The National Three-Minute thesis will be hosted virtually on 29 October 2021. PhD finalists from each South African university will compete for the 3MT SA title.  Who will reign supreme? Join to find out.

Date: Friday 29 October 2021
Time: 10:00 

For more information, email the Postgraduate School at postgrad@ufs.ac.za

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