In a climate of knowledge exchange and community engagement, communicating to an audience outside the Academy is becoming increasingly important for research professionals.
Visualise Your Thesis is a successful, road-tested competition format developed by The University of Melbourne. The competition provides an opportunity for universities to showcase their graduate research and for the Visualise Your Thesis competitors to build essential digital communication skills to effectively communicate complex research to a general audience. Using a presupplied template, entrants are tasked with developing a striking, audio-visual presentation that presents their research project via a short and engaging digital narrative.
Entry is open to currently-enrolled PhD, MPhil, and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates. It is suitable for all disciplines and for students at any stage of their candidature.
We invited institutions to participate by running a local Visualise Your Thesis Competition using our guidelines and competition kit. Each participating institution will provide a finalist for the online International Visualise Your Thesis Competition.
Registrations for institutions are currently open for the 2020 competition.
University of Melbourne graduate researchers should visit the UoM Visualise Your Thesis site.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 International Visualise Your Thesis competition announced on Tuesday 22 October at the eResearch Australasia conference in Brisbane.
Click the links to view the winning presentations on figshare.
Annaclaire McDonald, University of Technology Sydney ($5,000 AU)
The judges said: “This is an instantly appealing song & video whose ideas stick in your brain long after watching it. It's charming and silly, and communicates a serious topic really effectively. The video is nicely edited to fit the music, and combines photos, text, animation, music & video into a cohesive whole”
Donovan Garcia-Ceron, La Trobe University ($2,000 AUD)
The judges said: "The beautiful, playful use of visual and audio texture really wrapped me up in the story, and reminded me that this was about a living system, not just data. The video uses the flexibility of physical stop-motion animation to make different scales tangible, and put microscopy and other scientific techniques in context, in an effective and creative way. A lot of time, effort and love has gone into this one."
Carmen Glanville, University of Melbourne ($1,000 AUD)
The judges said: “This a powerful and compact piece of storytelling. The opening is almost cinematic and immediately draws you in. Then you manage to explain the details of your project clearly using some well thought out animations and a minimum of text.”
Sixteen universities from four countries competed in the first international competition. All finalists’ works were added to the Visualise Your Thesis figshare repository where the public can watch and download the creative commons licenced videos, and the creators can gain insights into their impact through altmetrics tracking.
Find out more about the origin and development of the Visualise Your Thesis competition.
2019 saw our first true International competition, when 16 institutions from 4 countries ran a local competition and sent their winner to the International final. The field was judged by a three judge panel and announced at eResearch Australasia in Brisbane on October 22nd 2019 by Professor Ginny Barbour. Read more about the 2019 International Judges.
All winning entries are showcased on our figshare site, provided with the support of Digital Science, where they can be reused in accordance with a creative commons licence of the entrants choosing. The site also provides detailed viewing metrics so that students can learn more about the reach of their presentations.
The 2019 international prize pool totalled $8,000 AUD. Our inaugural winners were:
- 1st prize - Annaclaire McDonald, University of Technology Sydney ($5,000 AU) Fantastic Metals & Where to Phyt Them
- 2nd prize - Donovan Garcia-Ceron, La Trobe University ($2,000 AUD) Exploring Extracellular Vesicles From Plant Fungal Pathogens
- 3rd prize - Carmen Glanville, University of Melbourne ($1,000 AUD) Protecting Pets by Changing People
The team presented at THETA 2019 in Wollongong on the benefits of Visualise Your Thesis for students and research administrators, and at eResearch Australasia in Brisbane on creating digital stories for impact in research.
After a relatively short history the competition was offered nationally so that other institutions could get involved, however was almost immediately forced to go international such was the demand from universities around the world. Each participating university send their local winning entry to be showcased in the non-competitive online winners' gallery hosted by the University of Melbourne.
Institutions received a competition kit and resources to run their local competitions with the support of the University of Melbourne Visualise Your Thesis team, and the feedback from the early adopters was used to refine the competition processes for the future.
The team presented at the Australian Research Management Society conference in Hobart, speaking about the development of the competition to date.
In August 2017, the competition 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.
In August 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).
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. Second prize was awarded 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.