Doctoral School

Sussex 3MT 2019

On Wednesday 19th June 2019, sevenx Sussex doctoral researchers from a range of disciplines competed for prizes and a place in the UK semi-final of Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

Three Minute Thesis Competition at Sussex - 2019

The Three Minute Thesis Competition was held at the University of Sussex for the third time on Wednesday 19th June 2019 as part of our Festival of Doctoral Research. With seven entries on a wide variety of subjects, from zebrafish through to Iraqui literature, the audience was treated to a variety of interesting and entertaining presentations. 

The judging panel, consisting of Dr Katy Petherick, Public Engagement Co-ordinator at the School of Life Sciences, Dr Mahmoud Maina, Research Fellow and People's Choice Winner 2016, and Dr Andrew Fleming, Regional Manager of The Brilliant Club, considered the speakers on criteria such as clarity, enthusiasm, and performance.

First prize of a £500 cheque was awarded to Noora Nevala (School of Life Sciences) for her presentation on the behaviour and environment of zebrafish, and has been entered for the 2019 Vitae 3MT national competition. Heidi Cobham (School of History, Art History and Philosophy) took away the Runner-Up prize for the presentation "A Philosophical Re-examination of Romantic Love", and Chris Mackin (School of Life Sciences) was awarded the People's Choice prize for the presentation "Wildflower Evolution: Let’s talk about the Birds and the Bees ."

The prizes were presented by Dr Ruth Sellers (Senior Lecturer and ESRC Future Research Leader Fellow), who praised the knowledge and enthusiasm demonstrated by all the speakers.

Click here to view the Doctoral Connection's blog post on the competition.

3MT Sussex 2019

Meet the 2019 presenters

Fatmah Alhazmi (School of English) – #Women2drive: It is not just about driving

After years of campaigning on social media, especially Twitter, the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia was lifted on June 24th 2018. However, little is known about the role of the language used on Twitter to reproduce or resist prominent discourses and practices in the Saudi society. My research examines the form and content of discourse, arguments, grammar and wording including the choice of verbs and pronouns by analysing Twitter posts. It aims to identify the different linguistic strategies and the intersectionality of different discourses during these two periods. The conversation tends to be about women agency rather than just women driving.

Farah Alrajeh (School of English) - The 21st Century Iraqi Novel, Texts and Contexts

I grew up in a country where there was strict censorship on reading, writing, and expressing an opinion. Where history was rewritten, and stories of victims and minor groups were erased from the official record. I did not know about the existence of other histories outside the grand narrative until I came across some Iraqi novels written by authors who have been victims of censorship and suppression. I found that their testimonies, voices, perspectives represented in their novels fill a missing gap in our knowledge about Iraq and its contemporary history. Hence came the decision to start the journey of my research, which looks at the ways Iraqi authors reconstruct a new history that challenges the official discourse of the state.

Mathias Ciliberto (School of Engineering and Informatics) - Low Power Complex Human Gestures Recognition

Low power inertial sensors can be used to record human gestures with high precision. They can be embedded in wearable sensors, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers. The data they record can be used for detecting, recognizing and improving complex human gestures, for instance in sports and healthcare. Template matching methods are algorithms that provide a distance measure between two sensors signals. They can require less computational power compared to other automatic recognition approaches. My research studies how inertial sensors and template matching methods can be used to recognize complex human gestures, mainly in, but not limited to, beach volleyball.

Heidi Cobham (School of History, Art History and Philosophy) - A Philosophical Re-examination of Romantic Love

Humanity shares a deep-seated fascination with romantic love. As a society, we are completely preoccupied with ways to find ‘the one’, ways to make romantic relationships work and ways to ‘love better’. However, despite such wide-spread attention, romantic relationships fail at an alarming rate, which begs the question: why is it that romantic relationships persistently fail? Using philosophy, my research argues that the failure of romantic relationships assumes that our current understanding of romantic love is highly problematic. Due to this, I propose a re-examination of romantic love, in order that we might have long-lasting and successful romantic relationships.

Chris Mackin (School of Life Sciences) - Wildflower Evolution: Let’s talk about the Birds and the Bees

Plants are vital for our existence, and by studying recent changes in plants we can better understand how plants will respond to global change and how best to conserve them. The evolution of new floral form can occur rapidly, such as when a plant invades a new area and experiences a change in the pollinator community visiting it. Using a species that is visited by bumblebees in the native range and hummingbirds in part of the new range, we found rapid evolution of plant floral traits. My research investigates how these traits are inherited and how the environment influences this.

Noora Nevala (School of Life Sciences) - The fish view of the world

Imagine a situation where you are diving in a shallow, slowly moving stream in India. You can see the red-brownish bottom, some green plants moving with the rhythm of the water and sunlight glimmering near the surface. All the sudden a small swarm of tiny fish swims by and you start to wonder: how do they see this colourful underwater world? What is important for them to see? In my research I study the connection between the natural environment of the zebrafish and their colour vision, and how this match can be seen in their behaviour.

Nehaal Bajwa (School of Education and Social Work) - Fathers’ narratives and practices of care in Pakistan

When we hear about cisnormative, heterosexual parenting, this is often synonymous with mothering. Fathers are still being discursively being pulled into equal participation in caregiving. These framings pervade perceptions about Pakistani families, too, in the research community and in NGO discourses. My research seeks to understand fathers and their families in Lahore, a large city in Pakistan, in terms of everyday practices of care, broadly construed to mean that which they do for their families, and their own narratives, which link histories, structures, psyches and relationships to demonstrate how fathers’ identities navigate various intersecting influences over time.

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