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16th May 2019

Graduate students shine at Three Minute Thesis competition

Exeter graduate students shared their remarkable research with alumni, staff and students at the annual Three Minute Thesis competition this month.

Prize winners (l-r) Razia Chowdhry, Lhuri Rahmartani and Ellen Brewster

On Thursday 9 May we were delighted to stage Exeter College’s second Three Minute Thesis© Competition in Cohen Quad’s FitzHugh Auditorium.

The competition, conceived by The University of Queensland, has at its heart a simple premise: graduate students have just three minutes to explain their thesis in layman’s terms without the use of props, besides a single PowerPoint slide.

The competition challenges students to summarise their work in an engaging and accessible manner – as they may well have to do at future job interviews or when pitching for academic funding – and to ignite interest in their field of research. It also broadens the MCR’s events programme and provides an excellent platform for students, fellows and alumni to share ideas and form networks.

Eight graduate students took on the challenge, with topics ranging from the Russian election process to machine learning on Quantum computers. They all revealed some remarkable research being conducted at Exeter College, and delivered brilliant, fascinating, and highly condensed talks (and thankfully no-one was disqualified for talking after the allotted three minutes were up!).

A Judging panel consisting of Jeri Johnson (Peter Thompson Fellow and Tutor in English), Barney Taylor (Fellow and Tutor in Classics) and alumna Frances Bernau (1983, Physiological Sciences) decided on the winner and runner-up, while the audience voted to determine the recipient of the ‘People’s Choice’ award.


First place: Lhuri Rahmartani, Jardine Scholar and DPhil student in the Medical Sciences Division, was awarded first prize for her talk entitled ‘When Breastmilk Comes Second: Predictive Factors in Prelacteal Feeding Practices in Indonesia’.

Second place: Ellen Brewster, English Language and Literature DPhil student, received the runner-up prize for her talk, ‘Eighteenth-century readers and Elocution Books’.

People’s Choice Award: Razia Chowdhry, a student at Oxford’s Doctoral Training Centre, was awarded the People’s Choice prize by popular vote for her talk, ‘Producing Artificial Cells for Therapeutic Drug Delivery’.

The event is a brilliant platform to show off some of Exeter’s current research stars and to demonstrate the contribution that they are already making to academia and society, thanks to their hard work and the opportunities that Exeter College and the University of Oxford provide. We are looking forward to next year’s event already!

Listen to the presentations

You can listen to seven of the presentations, starting with Britt Hanson discussing the genetic correction of neuromuscular disease by gene editing, using the audio player below:


List of presentations

  • Britt Hanson: Genetic Correction of Neuromuscular Disease by Gene Editing
  • Shuxiang Cao: Implementing Machine Learning on Quantum Computers
  • Ellen Brewster: Eighteenth-century Readers and Elocution Books
  • Tika Malla: Beating Tuberculosis with Repurposed Drugs
  • Sam Peters: The Reintegration of Former Girl Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo: The Impact of Discourse
  • Razia Chowdhry: Producing Artificial Cells for Therapeutic Drug Delivery
  • Lhuri Rahmartani: When Breastmilk Comes Second: Predictive Factors in Prelacteal Feeding Practices in Indonesia
  • Flora Hudson: Does the scarcity of women in Russian politics affect the ‘othering’ of Ksenia Sobchak during the 2018 presidential elections?

Lhuri Rahmartani delivers her prize-winning talk

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