Kenyan PhD student tops continental thesis competition

Steeve Hutchinson-Coach, Aketch Elisha, Prof. Karori mbugua- Team Leader, Str. Mary Taabu- Top Winner, Christine Omuombo, Adhiambo Eunice, Njengah Solomon. [Courtesy]

A University of Nairobi PhD student emerged winner of the Three Minute Thesis competition (SMT) in Accra, Ghana.

Sr Mary Taabu Simuyu’s research work on cheaper, quicker water purification system for the developing world stole the show, scooping first prize while Paapa Yaw and Caroline Dinam Badzi of the University of Ghana came second and third respectively during the event on June 26.

The Three Minute Thesis competition, which was developed by The University of Queensland, is an annual competition open to PhD students to challenge them present their research in just 180 seconds.

It is a fast-paced competition, where top 10 finalists compete by orally summarising and presenting a discussion of their two to three-plus years of research to include its significance and relevance within three minutes.

The competition is held in more than 200 universities worldwide, and aims to develop presentation, communication, research and academic skills to support the students’ capacity to effectively explain their work.

This year, the competition involved University of Nairobi’s Njengah Solomon Ng’ang’a, Aketch Elisha Ochungo, Adhiambo Eunice Odek, Christine Atieno Omuombo and Sr Simiyu under the lead of Associate Prof Karori Mbugua, who also sat in as one of the six judges.

After a two-day rigorous coaching session by Prof Steve Hutchinson, the group of 10 finalists successfully presented their research ideas within three minutes before a panel of judges.

The judges panel comprised Prof Margaret Lartey (University of Ghana), Prof Mbugua (UoN),  Dr Giampaoolo Pitruzzello (University of York), Prof Deborah Smith (Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, University of York ), Prof H Leslie Steeves (University of Oregon) and Prof Tom Stoneham (University of York).

The theme for the competition “10 graduates =10 powerful global Impacts” fitted well with the competition.

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The University of Queensland