School of
Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

University of Queensland PhD candidate Edwin Davis’s research into more efficient and safer drones has helped him win UQ’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

In a hotly contested final, eight PhD students from UQ put their communication skills to the test and condensed their research into an exciting three-minute presentation for a general audience.

The Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology’s Edwin Davis was propelled into the winning position with his presentation titled ‘Drones – gone with the wind’.

“My research enables multirotor drones to detect and measure wind gusts so that they can react and avoid being blown off course, which will allow them to fly more safely and reliably through unexpected conditions,” he said.

“The 3MT has enabled me to improve my communications skills, meet some wonderful people and share my research.

“It has also generated some interest in my research and potential future collaborations. 

“I’m now planning to use my prize money to travel to an international robotics conference next year in Spain where I hope to present some of my work.”

UQ Graduate School Dean Professor Alastair McEwan said the 3MT experience was invaluable in enhancing research student’s presentation skills and had become a highlight of the annual research calendar. 

“The benefits of the 3MT competition are clearly demonstrated when you have presentations like Edwin’s - the audience is engaged, and they become interested in finding out more about new research in Australia,” Professor McEwan said.

“It is exciting to think that this competition, developed at UQ in 2008, now runs in almost every Australian university and highlights the amazing research being done across the country.”

Chris McMillan from the Faculty of Science was runner up and also won the People’s Choice award for his presentation titled ‘Clamping down on the flavours of flu’.

UniBank sponsored this year’s awards and General Manager Mike Lanzing said they were delighted to support researchers of the future.

“The UQ 3MT finalists were remarkable as they delivered their 80,000 word thesis in just three minutes and UniBank is thrilled to be able to support these skilled and talented students through the 3MT finals,” Mr Lanzing said.

As the winner of the 3MT UQ Final, Mr Davis receives a $5000 grant and will face off against competitors from universities across Australia, New Zealand, and Asia in the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition on Friday 29 September.

Tickets to the finals are free but you need to register your attendance to the semi-finals and the finals.