Plant researcher from Singapore wins virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT

A student from Singapore has topped a field of 54 talented researchers in the 2020 Asia-Pacific Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition, winning the first virtual final hosted by The University of Queensland.

Eight PhD candidates from Australia, New Zealand and Asia made the final, summarising their research into engaging three-minute videos which were shown at the event.

Nanyang Technological University Singapore student Yifei Luo won with her presentation ‘Listening in on Plants through a Conductive Liquid Glue‘, taking home a $5000 prize sponsored by Springer Nature.

Ms Luo’s research is focused on plant health and has the potential to help farmers grow healthier, more abundant crops.

She said participating in 3MT allowed her to rethink the significance and impact of her work and see the bigger picture.

“It trains me to use simple language to explain my research, and really boosts my confidence in public speaking,” she said.

UQ Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Training) and Graduate School Dean Professor Alastair McEwan said students around the world have met the challenge of restrictions on social gatherings by embracing 3MT on-line.

“The quality of the presentations has been outstanding and it reminds us of the importance of graduate researchers in the recovery from COVID,” Professor McEwan said.

“The competition showcases the amazing research PhD students are conducting across the Asia-Pacific region.”

Anna Frouws from Edith Cowan University was named runner-up with ‘Seagrasses, the Avengers of the sea: a story of diversity and resilience‘.

Stefania Peracchi from the University of Wollongong won the audience-voted People’s Choice Award with ‘Moon to Mars and beyond‘, taking home a $1,000 prize sponsored by UniBank.

Springer Nature Regional Sales Director James Mercer said it was a high quality field.

“It was inspiring to see entries of such quality and ingenuity from emerging researchers rising to new challenges in conducting and communicating their work,” he said.

UQ developed the 3MT competition in 2008 and it’s now been adopted by more than 900 universities in 85 countries worldwide.

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