In this climate of knowledge exchange and community engagement, communicating to an audience outside the Academy is becoming increasingly important for research professionals.
Digital channels offer researchers new opportunities for communicating the complexities of their research to broad audiences. The Visualise Your Thesis competition for Australian universities helps graduate researchers hone and showcase their research communication skills, and promote their research.
2017 1st Prize Winner of the University of Melbourne Competition. Rachel Pollitt, PhD Candidate. Final Year. Department of Early Childhood/Melbourne Graduate School of Education.
Visualise Your Thesis is an exciting new competition that challenges graduate researchers to present their research in a 60 second, eye-catching digital display. Using a pre-supplied template, entrants are tasked with developing a striking looped presentation to encapsulate their research projects in short, engaging, digital narratives. Competition submissions are judged on their visual impact, and how well the content presents the research. The digital format allows for different levels of creativity, multi-media, interactivity and interpretation and is suitable for all disciplines.
Deakin University A/Prof. John Lamp once said: "It's no longer a case of publish or perish - be visible, or vanish". As a way to be visible, this competition is an excellent opportunity. I say: get to it, people! A/Prof. Inger Mewburn, founder of Thesis Whisperer blog and Director of Research Training at the Australian National University, after judging the 2107 competition.
Visualise Your Thesis provides an opportunity for universities to showcase their graduate research and for the Visualise Your Thesis competitors, currently-enrolled PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates, to build essential digital communication skills to effectively communicate complex
research to a general audience.
Visualise Your Thesis is a successful, road-tested competition format developed by The University of Melbourne.
2015 saw the precursor to the Visualise Your Thesis competition, the Researcher @Library Week Poster competition. Part of the University of Melbourne’s inaugural Researcher @Library Week, the competition was won by Matthew Wood, a PhD Candidate researching Tectonic Geomorphology with second prize going to Marcella Purnama, a Publishing and Communications Master’s student, and third prize to Vincent Bachtiar, who was undertaking a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. The competition was successful and extremely popular, but there was clearly a demand for the poster to do more – to be more engaging, and even dramatic. An ePoster competition was almost inevitable.
In 2016 the competition put down its digital roots and became an ePoster competition called Visualise My Thesis. Still Melbourne-only in these early days, the competition challenged PhDs to effectively communicate complex research to a general audience. First prize was awarded to "Imagination of adventure in today's art" by Emilie Walsh, second prize went to "Development of the Rowley Shoals Reefs" by Jackson McCaffrey and third prize to "Weak feet and walking, it’s in the shoes" by Rachel Kennedy. That year also saw a new prize, the Viewers' Choice prize, which also went to Emilie Walsh. The 2016 competition was judged by Simon Clews (Director of the Melbourne Engagement Lab).
In 2017, the last year before the competition went national, it became Pitch Your Thesis and, as an indication of how far the competition had come in its short history, judge Simon Clews was joined by academic celebrity, Associate Professor Inger Mewburn (known to all as the Thesis Whisperer). First prize that year was awarded to "Mathematics and assessment in early childhood education" by Rachel Pollitt, second prize to "A seasonal thermal energy storage system for space heating" by Sheikh Khaleduzzaman Shah, and third prize to "Designing animal-computer interaction to shape zoo visitors' perceptions of animals" by Sarah Webber. The popular Viewer's Choice prize went to "Saving life with new artificial blood vessels" by Fatemeh Karimi.
It was a great privilege to be involved in the competition, to take part in the workshops and much needed tech sessions leading up to the event …It was a terrific opportunity to observe the breadth of research underway across the university and glean ideas for future poster presentations. Rachel Pollitt, PhD Candidate University of Melbourne. 1st prize winner of the University of Melbourne 2017 ePoster Competition.
And in 2018, the competition went national. If you’re reading this, we hope you’re one of the many universities around Australia who will be taking part this year and we welcome you to what is a hugely exciting event and wish you good luck with your local competition.
KEY DATES2018 Australian showcase
- MARCH - AUGUST 2018
Participating universities run Visualise Your Thesis competitions locally
- SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2018
National online showcase of Visualise Your Thesis entries hosted by The University of Melbourne
2019 Australian competition
- MARCH - AUGUST 2019
Visualise Your Thesis heats held at individual universities. Winners of local Visualise Your Thesis heats entered into a national Visualise Your Thesis competition (online)
- SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2019
Inaugural National Visualise Your Thesis competition (online)