About

In a climate of knowledge exchange and community engagement, communicating to an audience outside the Academy is becoming increasingly important for research professionals.

The Competition

Visualise Your Thesis is an international competition that challenges graduate researchers to present their research in a 60-second audio-visual explainer. The competition provides an opportunity for universities from across the world to showcase their graduate research and for the competitors to build essential information and digital literacy skills to effectively communicate complex research to a general audience.

Entry is open to currently-enrolled PhD, MPhil, and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates. It is suitable for all disciplines and for students at any stage of their candidature. Visit our Figshare site to view past entries.

How to Participate

We invite institutions to participate by running a local Visualise Your Thesis Competition for their own graduate researchers using the official guidelines and competition kit provided by the University of Melbourne upon registration.

If you are interested in hosting a local competition and participating in the International Visualise Your Thesis Competition please submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by clicking the button below and filling in the form:

Submit an EOI

History

Find out more about the origin and development of the Visualise Your Thesis competition.

  • 2021

    Twenty five institutions from six countries competed in the third international competition. All finalists’ works were added to the Visualise Your Thesis figshare repository where the public can watch and download the creative commons licenced videos, and the creators can gain insights into their impact through altmetrics tracking. The field was judged by a three judge panel and announced at eResearch Australasia on October 14th 2021.

    The 2021 international prize pool totalled $8,000 AUD. The winners were:

    2021 VYT International Competition prizes and winners:

    First prize: AUD $5,000

    Krystall Campbell, University of Technology Sydney

    The experiences of Australian First in Family university students and graduate: an intergenerational and intersectional exploration

    Second prize: AUD $2,000

    Hannah Petocz, La Trobe University

    Wondering if I was the Problem': Exploring the Perpetuation and impact of Dating Violence on young Australian Women

    Third prize: AUD $1,000

    Ratanapat Suchat, Swinburine University of Technology

    Brand nostalgia: the emotional responses of Thai students studying in Australia to Thai condiment packaging

    Highly commended

    2021 Trending on VYT competition

    The entry with the most views as recorded on figshare between 4-10 October 2021: Md Eaysir Arafat, Queensland University of Technology, Effectiveness of Interventions for Mobile Phone Distracted Pedestrians

    The winner of the 2021 Trending on VYT competition will be the video with the most views as recorded in the 2021 figshare gallery. Downloads will not be used to determine the winner.

    Views were counted from midnight, Monday 4th October (GMT), to 11:59pm on Sunday, 10 October (GMT). Make sure to check your local start and local end times so your view counts.

    The 2021 judges were Dr Tamika Heiden, Al Cossar and Professor Deb Verhoeven. Find out more about the 2021 judges here.

  • 2020

    Twenty one universities from five countries competed in the second international competition. All finalists’ works were added to the Visualise Your Thesis figshare repository where the public can watch and download the creative commons licenced videos, and the creators can gain insights into their impact through altmetrics tracking. The field was judged by a three judge panel and announced at eResearch Australasia in Brisbane on October 19th 2020. Read more about the 2020 International Judges.

    The 2020 international prize pool totalled $8,000 AUD. Our winners were:

    1st place - Kelly Wilson-Stewart, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), $5,000 AU

    Protecting nurses from radiation exposure

    The judges said: From a simple, almost storybook opening we are taken on a clear explanatory arc to the heart of the problem - x-rays don’t behave in an orderly fashion as one might imagine – and onwards, to the accompaniment of a cannily-chosen soundtrack, to a restrained but effective emotional payoff – these are not storybook characters but real people – lending the project a sense of importance and relevance that is inescapable. The result? We WANT this project to succeed! Great communication and salesmanship for an important research project.

    2nd place - Ané van der Walt, ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH), $2,000 AU

    The Narrative Atlas: creative prototyping and multivocality in archaeology

    The judges said: This was just beautiful and was a well told and visually rich illustrated story itself about how to make a story. In addition, it explained well the cultural importance of the project and indeed how the atlas would have a life after the project ends.

    3rd place - Maleen Jayasuriya, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), $1,000 AU

    One Small Step for a PhD Student, One Giant Leap for Mobility Scooters

    The judges said: This grabbed immediately with its humour, engaging character and a good story – which made all the judges laugh. But there was more than humour – a clever use of animation and a mix of graphics, succinctly explained a quite complex solution for very a real world problem.

    Highly commended

    The judges said: An elegant and lucid explanation of species recovery technology drawing on the easily-relatable analogy of data back-up. We appreciate immediately what the problem is and are led to an equally clear grasp of the proposed solution. Deceptively simple animation gains sophistication through a limited colour palette. The choice of a stylish and highly legible font completes the picture making for an excellent communication package.

    The judges said: There was a great use of photos and images to explain the human and societal costs of waste. The editing of images and the soundtrack provided really good tension in the story, which led logically to the resolution described by the research project.

    2020 Trending on VYT competition

    The entry with the most views as recorded on figshare between 12-19 October 2020: Chantelle Clarke, CQU, Supporting mental health for women with lipoedema through compassionate mind training.  Chantelle wins a VYT prize pack incl. a Kindle Prologue. (6"touch display 167 PPI. 4GB wifi).

    The winner of the 2020 Trending on VYT competition will be the video with the most views as recorded in the 2020 figshare gallery. Downloads will not be used to determine the winner.

    Views were counted from midnight, Monday 12th October (GMT), to 11:59pm on Sunday, 18 October (GMT). Make sure to check your local start and local end times so your view counts.

    The 2020 judges were: Professor Ginny Barbour, Graeme Base and Professor Deb Verhoeven. Find out more about the 2019 judges here.

  • 2019

    2019 saw our first true International competition, when 16 institutions from 4 countries ran a local competition and sent their winner to the International final. The field was judged by a three judge panel and announced at eResearch Australasia in Brisbane on October 22nd 2019 by Professor Ginny Barbour. Read more about the 2019 International Judges.

    All winning entries were showcased on our figshare site, provided with the support of Digital Science, where they can be reused in accordance with a creative commons licence of the entrants choosing.  The site also provides detailed viewing metrics so that students can learn more about the reach of their presentations.

    The 2019 international prize pool totalled $8,000 AUD. Our inaugural winners were:

    The team presented at THETA 2019 in Wollongong on the benefits of Visualise Your Thesis for students and research administrators, and at eResearch Australasia in Brisbane on creating digital stories for impact in research.

    The 2019 judges were: Professor Ginny Barbour, Assoc. Professor Tim Sherratt and Sam Muirhead. Find out more about the 2019 judges here.

  • 2018

    After a relatively short history the competition was offered nationally so that other institutions could get involved. It was almost immediately forced to go international such was the demand from universities around the world. Each participating university sent their local winning entry to be showcased in the non-competitive online winners' gallery hosted by the University of Melbourne.

    Institutions received a competition kit and resources to run their local competitions with the support of the University of Melbourne Visualise Your Thesis team, and the feedback from the early adopters was used to refine the competition processes for the future.

    The team presented at the Australian Research Management Society conference in Hobart, speaking about the development of the competition to date.

    View the 2018 entries hereUniversity of Hong Kong entrants standing as a group in front of a greenscreen for video creation next to large University logo

    University of Hong Kong local competition entrants 2018

  • 2017

    In August 2017, the competition became Pitch Your Thesis and, as an indication of how far the competition had come in its short history, judge Simon Clews was joined by academic celebrity, Associate Professor Inger Mewburn (known to all as the Thesis Whisperer).

    First prize that year was awarded to "Mathematics and assessment in early childhood education" by Rachel Pollitt, second prize to "A seasonal thermal energy storage system for space heating" by Sheikh Khaleduzzaman Shah, and third prize to "Designing animal-computer interaction to shape zoo visitors' perceptions of animals" by Sarah Webber. The popular Viewer's Choice prize went to "Saving life with new artificial blood vessels" by Fatemeh Karimi.

    2017 University of Melbourne competition entrants standing with certificates and competition judges, Simon Clews and Inger Mewburn.

    University of Melbourne competition entrants with competition judges, Simon Clews and Inger Mewburn 2017

  • 2016

    In August 2016 the competition put down its digital roots and became an ePoster competition called Visualise My Thesis. Still Melbourne-only in these early days, the competition challenged PhDs to effectively communicate complex research to a general audience.

    First prize was awarded to "Imagination of adventure in today's art" by Emilie Walsh, second prize went to "Development of the Rowley Shoals Reefs" by Jackson McCaffrey and third prize to "Weak feet and walking, it’s in the shoes" by Rachel Kennedy. That year also saw a new prize, the Viewers' Choice prize, which also went to Emilie Walsh.

    The 2016 competition was judged by Simon Clews (Director of the Melbourne Engagement Lab).

    University of Melbourne 2016 competition entrants standing with certificates and competition judge, Simon Clews

    University of Melbourne  competition entrants with competition judge Simon Clews 2016

  • 2015

    2015 saw the precursor to the Visualise Your Thesis competition, the Researcher@Library Week Poster competition. Part of the University of Melbourne's inaugural Researcher@Library Week.

    The competition was won by Matthew Wood, a PhD Candidate researching Tectonic Geomorphology. Second prize was awarded to Marcella Purnama, a Publishing and Communications Master's student, and third prize to Vincent Bachtiar, who was undertaking a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

    The competition was successful and extremely popular, but there was clearly a demand for the poster to do more - to be more engaging, and even dramatic. An ePoster competition was almost inevitable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What’s in the competition kit for competition administrators?
    • Competition rules
    • Template (Powerpoint - ppt)
    • Judging criteria and judging rubric
    • Technical instructions
    • How to run the competition
    • Competitor resources: 
      • Competitor submission checklist
      • How Graduate Researchers use the template
      • Tips for Graduate Researchers to create their entry
      • Tips for Graduate Researchers to add audio and video to their entry
    • Guidelines for the use of the Visualise Your Thesis identity and concept
  • What training is suggested for participants?

    It is up to individual participating institutions to devise and offer training sessions for competition entrants.

    The University of Melbourne, for past competitions, offered the following supporting resources presented in a workshop, video, or LMS:

    • Working with PowerPoint
    • Principles of graphic design and visual presentation
    • Writing succinctly for a non-specialist audience
    • Effective video storytelling for researchers
    • Copyright, for example: keeping your entry compliant, seeking permissions, accessing expired copyright materials, existing permissions, protecting your copyright materials.

    We highly recommend incorporating information on how to source and cite copyright-compliant visual or audio-visual material into any training resources you provide.

  • How do I get the competition kit?

    Please submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).

    You will then be contacted by the VYT team with information on how to formally register your institution for the competition to receive the competition kit.

  • Are there any costs involved?

    There are no costs involved in participating in the competition; however, all local prizes are to be supplied by the individual participating institutions. The University of Melbourne does not provide prizes for local competitions.

    The 2022 International Competition final prize pool is:

    • 1st  prize - AUD$ 5,000
    • 2nd prize - AUD$2,000
    • 3rd prize - AUD$1,000
    • Viewers' Choice - Prize pack
  • Where can I get further information?

    Please contact us via visualise-thesis@unimelb.edu.au for further information.

  • How does this competition differ from the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)?

    This competition does not have a verbal presentation component and relies purely on each submission's visual presentation. Students who are in earlier stages of research (have not reached confirmation/ before writing up) are also welcome to enter the competition.

Sponsorship Enquiries

Sponsorship enquiries are welcome at any time. Businesses interested in finding out more about sponsorship opportunities associated with the competition should email visualise-thesis@unimelb.edu.au for further information and a sponsorship prospectus.

Contact us

For further information, institutions can contact visualise-thesis@unimelb.edu.au

Please note: University of Melbourne graduate researchers should visit the UoM Visualise Your Thesis site.