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May 25, 2023

Graduate researchers: visualise your thesis now!

If you’re a PhD student at Deakin you’ve hopefully heard about the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition – it helps build research communications skills by requiring entrants to distil their research into a jargon-free three-minute presentation to a non-specialist audience.

But have you heard of VYT – or Visualise Your Thesis?

What can you do in 60 seconds?

Visualise Your Thesis (VYT) is an international competition developed by Melbourne University that challenges graduate researchers to present their project to a non-specialist audience in just 60 seconds.

Just like 3MT, VYT is designed to help graduate researchers develop the communication skills that are vital to a career in research. Unlike 3MT, there is no public speaking involved. Instead of memorising and presenting a three-minute script, VYT entrants create a unique one-minute audio-visual elevator pitch about their research, using a pre-supplied PowerPoint template.

You can see some examples from last year on YouTube.

Taking part in VYT helps participants develop crucial employability skills including effective communication, digital literacy, and visual storytelling. They also build their awareness of open access to information and copyright.

PhD candidate Cátia Freitas, who won Deakin’s 2021 3MT Grand Final and was a runner-up in Deakin’s VYT competition the same year, says learning about copyright and proper referencing of elements, like background music, was one of the most valuable skills she gained through the VYT process. She took advantage of the workshops and support offered by Deakin’s Graduate Research Academy (GRA) and the Library. ‘I think that was where I learned the most,’ she says. ‘I’m far more knowledgeable about copyright now.’

Cátia advises candidates thinking about participating in VYT to look beyond the competition to how they will be able to use their presentation afterwards in promoting their research. ‘You create this resource you can incorporate into your research outcomes or use for recruitment or job interviews,’ she says.

Images speak louder than words

Cátia also found the process of distilling her thesis into images useful. ‘It’s true that sometimes you can explain things better in pictures than in words,’ she says.

‘I was able to condense my 3MT script even further to one minute using a sequence of images and still communicate the same message.

‘You really just break it down into what your research is looking at, what will be the outcome and why should the audience care about it? That helped me to develop my story for both presentations.’

Former VYT participant Cátia Freitas squatting on the edge of a rock pool ledge, surrounded by seaweed.

Previous 3MT winner and VYT runner-up Cátia Freitas.

Plus, there’s prizes

Deakin’s VYT competition is open to currently-enrolled graduate researchers (including students enrolled in Master Philosophy, Masters by Research, PhD or Professional Doctorate programs) at any stage of their candidature who are active and attending.

Every entrant’s video is played during Deakin’s 3MT/VYT 2023 Grand Final event in August, showcasing their work to a live audience. Each entry is also uploaded to figshare, a research repository multimedia platform to help share it even further.

The Deakin winner will receive $3000, with $2000 for the runner-up and $500 for the People’s Choice awarded by the audience.

Deakin’s winner will then enter the online International VYT Program. The winner of Trending on VYT is selected based on how many views their video receives on the VYT International Figshare repository

Inspired to enter? There’s still time!

Entries close 11.59pm, Friday 5 July 2023. The GRA and Library teams provide all the support you need to create a winning entry, including:

For more information on how to enter, visit the Visualise Your Thesis page here

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