The King’s Three Minute Thesis Grand Final which took place on 31 March 2021 gave a fascinating insight into the exciting and broad research taking place at King’s.
A total of 28 PhD students across the King’s faculties took on the challenge of presenting their research to a lay audience within three minutes, using a single slide. This year the event was held entirely online and involved four faculty heats, from which eight finalists were selected to compete at a live Grand Final during the Spring PGR Induction.
Curie Kim was selected as the King’s winner and has been put forward for the Vitae National Quarter Finals. The King’s Judges said Curie’s attention-grabbing presentation was “top notch”, clearly explained, and her delivery was “impeccable”.
Curie is based in the Department of Basic & Clinical Neuroscience within the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, and her 3MT is titled The Positive Impact of Intermittent Fasting on Memory and the Brain.
Here are Curie’s thoughts on her King’s 3MT experience:
Having thought about taking part in the 3MT every year during my PhD and putting it off, this year was my last chance to do it and I’m so glad I did! It has truly been a fun experience, not to mention, thought-provoking in terms of the way it encourages you to think about how to communicate your work. Not only that, but it was fascinating to hear about the very diverse research being carried out within King’s outside of my field.
All the finalists were amazing, so I am feeling humbled and excited to be chosen as the winner to represent KCL at the National Finals. I would strongly encourage anyone who is thinking about it to take part next year!
Daniel Cox, from the School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, was the runner up this year as the judges were highly impressed with his ability to convey extremely complex research to a lay audience. Dan’s 3MT is titled Modification of HIV-1 for Human T Cell Gene Therapy.
The Three Minute Thesis competition was a great experience to try and break down my complex project which would normally span four years into a short period of time. It was challenging but rewarding as I now feel well equipped to explain my project easier to different audiences. It was also great to present to new coming PhD students and felt privileged to do so. Finally, it was a fantastic chance to get an understanding of the research going on outside my normal area of health sciences. I highly recommend people to have a go!
Nigel Eady, Director of Research Talent at King’s, and Chair of the Grand Final Judging Panel, said:
Engaging and inspiring people about a research topic is a real skill, especially if the audience knows little about the subject. Our 3 Minute Thesis finalists all did an excellent job in bringing their research to life – covering everything from nanoparticles to charity sector pay, gene therapy to social media. Curie Kim, our overall winner, gave a particularly clear & memorable presentation about the impact of fasting on memory and the brain, which left our judging panel wanting to know more. We wish Curie all the best as she goes forward to the national quarter finals.
Watch the King’s 3MT finalists’ presentations and read on to learn about their experiences and advice for future participants:
I found it’s such a good chance to connect others with my work and many people helped me a lot! As a first-year international student, I valued the process of practicing my script again and again with different people. As long as I gained experiences from this competition, the result doesn’t really matter, and I highly encourage the new starters to participate, because I’m sure you’ll find it so much fun!
I decided to take part in the competition to challenge myself. Indeed, it ended up being a truly unique and encouraging experience. I learned how to pitch my research work more effectively to a broad audience. Also, I immensely enjoyed hearing about the diverse range of research topics that my colleagues around the school are working on.
If you are willing to put some effort into polishing your presentation skills, as well as practice the way you communicate your research work, this competition is an amazing opportunity for you. I am glad I was part of it, and I am confident you will be too.
I first heard about the 3MT during my induction, where the Grand Final also took place. I was so impressed with the high quality of the talks that I thought: I wish I would be able to do that. I am now in my final year, so this was my last opportunity to give it a try. I thought I had nothing to lose and decided to book a place for the faculty heat.
As a computational physicist doing basic research, I found it very difficult to make my science sound interesting to a broad audience, because my research has no direct applications. After all, what I essentially do is solve equations with my computer. The hardest part was to find a way to make my science approachable and relatable. I gave it a lot of thought, until I found a simple metaphor that I could use for my slide and as a starting point. Then, I just had to simplify my methods to a step-by-step recipe of how I achieved my results.
It has been a challenging experience that I have enjoyed a lot. I definitely recommend anyone to give it a try!
Lucy Chester, Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Cannabis and Psychosis.
David Wreford, Human Resource Management and Employment Relations, King’s Business School, Maximising the Impact of Pay in the Voluntary Sector.
Learn about last year’s 3MT winner, Sogol Salamipour who went on to represent King’s at the Vitae National 3MT Competition Final in the blog post titled Sogol Salamipour to represent King’s at Vitae 3MT National Competition Final. You can also view the King’s 3MT finalists from 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2020.