Comeback kid wins 2015 ANU 3MT final

21 September 2015

I've been telling colleagues at other universities to watch out - she will be very hard to beat.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) has cleaned up at the 2015 ANU Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition, after two CECS students took out the crown and People's Choice awards.

Final year Biomaterial Engineering PhD student Kiara Bruggeman, who was a finalist last year, claimed the 2015 title after tweaking her discussion to focus only on the key elements of her studies.

Kiara, who spoke about modifying medicines on a molecular level for therapeutic purposes, on patients, won $5,000 and a chance to compete in the 3MT trans-Tasman grand final in Brisbane after she was judged the best of 12 finalists at the ANU final held at Llewellyn Hall. 

Fellow CECS student Noushin Nasiri claimed the $1,500 People's Choice research support grant.

"The engineering girls really cleaned up," an ecstatic Kiara said.

"The venue was really fantastic, a huge place, and the way it was set up with us being backstage before we gave our talks really made it feel more like a play than a competition. I think that helped because it meant that we were all contributing to a really awesome night, a great production."

The 3MT Competition gives PhD students just three minutes to summarise their research projects. The 12 finalists were from six Colleges and spoke about a range of topics from self-esteem to marshmallows and Lake Mungo.

Kelsie Long from the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences came second, winning a $2,500 research support grant, for her talk which focused on the memory of fish at one of the earliest sites of human occupation in Australia.

ANU Director of Research Training and convenor of the 3MT program, Dr Inger Mewburn, said Kiara is a strong contender for the trans-Tasman 3MT final.

"She's sharpened her skills through two ANU 3MT finals and the FameLab competition. She's cool under pressure and has a great topic. I've been telling colleagues at other universities to watch out - she will be very hard to beat," Dr Mewburn said.

"It was so much fun to MC and see our finalists bring their best. I've watched them rehearse many times and I know each of them did the very best performance of all. I'm so proud. Well done everyone."