How do you present an 80,000 word thesis in just three minutes?


September 16th, 2015

It may sound like an audacious attempt to enter the Guinness World Records hall of fame but a University of Nottingham engineering student has done just that to win a national prize at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference.

Zaid Janjua, Civil Engineering PhD, fought off strong competition to win the Vitae 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) 2015 prize at the conference held in Manchester last week.

Zaid Jajua receives his award

The 3MT competition challenges PhD researchers to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

The University of Nottingham was one of 48 universities in the UK to hold an internal competition in 2015, organised by the Graduate School. The winners of each local competition then submitted a video presentation to the Vitae national competition. Zaid was one of just six finalists shortlisted and then faced the task of presenting his research in the live final at the conference:

Entitled ‘On thin ice!’, Zaid’s presentation summarised his research into producing an anti-ice coating for aircraft wings. The build-up of ice on the wings of a plane, or ‘icing’, is often a factor in aircraft accidents and between 2006 and 2010, 292 flight accidents were attributed to icing in the USA alone.

Zaid was chosen as the judges’ winner, receiving £3k to spend on public engagement activities, as well as the People’s Choice Winner, voted for by attendees via a conference app. Dr Tom Parsons, Research Training & Development Manager at The University of Nottingham said ‘We’re very proud of what Zaid has achieved, we worked with him throughout the process and are delighted with the outcome’.

Zaid said ‘I feel honoured not just for myself but my parents, my supervisor Dr. Barbara Turnbull, co-supervisors Dr. Stephen Hibberd and Prof. Kwing-So Choi, Dr Tom Parsons form the Graduate School, friends, extended family and the entire University of Nottingham. This is truly an example of great team work and I hope to make the University proud many more times in the future’

He plans to use part of the prize money to visit schools in the UK to educated children about the topic of his research and the benefits of pursuing science. Part of the money will also be used for travelling to conference to further publicise his research.

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