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Curtin Malaysia crowns its 2022 3MT Competition winners

May 13, 2022 | Campus News

Miri – 11 May 2022 – Three doctoral degree students of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently won awards at the 2022 Virtual Curtin Malaysia Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition hosted by the Curtin Malaysia Graduate School (CMGS). They were Rajani Rao, Ting Qian Hui and Melvin Wee Xin Jie in first, second and third place respectively.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition was founded by the University of Queensland in 2008 and the competition has now been adopted by Australian universities and universities from 85 countries outside Australia. Curtin Malaysia is one of these participating institutions.

Participating students have three minutes to present compelling presentations on their theses and their significance. 3MT challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be concisely presented to a non-specialist audience. Participants are allowed a single PowerPoint slide and no additional props. Judging includes whether the participants clearly describe their research ideas, results/expected findings and contributions in layman’s terms.

53 doctoral degree students competed in this year’s competition, in which 11 were then shortlisted for the final round. These finalists used their three minutes to virtually talk about their theses before a panel of judges comprising subject experts from both Curtin Malaysia and Curtin Perth.

Certificates of appreciation and cash prizes were given to the top three winners. In addition, coaching sessions are being planned for them in preparation for their participation in the 2022 Curtin Perth 3MT Competition and 2022 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition later this year.

First-place winner Rajani Rao, a doctoral student from the Faculty of Engineering and Science, presented her work entitled ‘Microbial Biodiversity of Mulu Cave System’. She said the idea of presenting her thesis in just three minutes was very daunting but the experience helped her develop critical presentation and communication skills.

Rajani added that she owed much to her supervisor who gave her constant support and motivation. She also appreciated the university’s commitment to encouraging and supporting student research.

Meanwhile, second-place winner Ting Qian Hui, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Business, said participating in the 3MT was both rewarding and fun. According to Ting, listening to the presentations of her fellow PhD students from different fields of study was also quite intriguing. Her presentation was titled ‘Remote e-Working: One Man’s Meat, Another Man’s Poison’ and she said the experience helped her learn how to effectively express complex technical ideas in layman’s terms.

Sharing similar sentiments, third-place winner Melvin Wee Xin Jie, a PhD student from Faculty of Engineering and Science, commented that figuring out how to condense so much information into three minutes was quite a challenging task. He said he had to concentrate on what he believed were the core aspects of the project and really worked hard on getting his presentation titled ‘From COVID-19 Pandemic Waste to Wealth’ just right.

CMGS Director and Deputy Dean of Research and Development Professor Agus Saptoro said he was proud of all the students who participated, noting that their well-thought-out and executed presentations were testimony of the outstanding research being conducted at Curtin Malaysia by higher degree by research (HDR) students and their supervisors.

"Our HDR students are performing cutting-edge research in their respective fields, and it is an essential skill for them to be able to communicate their complex projects to non-expert audiences," said Professor Saptoro.

“We are also grateful for the outstanding support of our Pro Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive, Professor Simon Leunig, and Dean of Research and Development Professor Ramasamy Nagarajan towards our HDR programmes and activities. We also thank all our faculty deans and associate deans of research and development for their support and assistance in making this year’s competition possible,” he added.

Information on Curtin Malaysia can be found on its website at, or look for Curtin Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn or Tiktok

Photo: 3MT winners Wee, Rajani and Ting (2nd – 4th from left), flanked by Professor Saptoro and Professor Nagarajan.

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