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Modern Languages student takes on three minute thesis challenge!

16 June 2015

Chris Hayes

Chris Hayes, a current Modern Languages student, recently took part in the national Three Minute Thesis competition, organised by the University Graduate College.

The competition requires PHD students to condense their theses into three minute speeches using just one slide. This year's competition took place on 4 June in the Haydn Ellis Building. Presentations covered a diverse range of topics including cancer treatments, telescopes and malware in social media amongst many others. We spoke to Chris to find out more about his thesis and why he decided to take part in the competition:

Tell us more about the Three Minute Thesis event and what attracted you to take part?

The Three Minute Thesis is essentially a competition in which you have to present your research project in under three minutes, with no visual aids, jargon-free. I didn't actually enter it in order to try to win, I just saw it as an opportunity to further my own understanding of my research. Months of book-reading, note-taking and countless chapter drafts made it rather difficult to explain just what my project was about

Tell us about current programme of study within the School of Modern Languages?

I am currently on an MPhil in Japanese Studies, for which I am researching the continued use of old communications technologies by the Japanese and its relation to culture. While the Japanese are world leaders in technology research and innovation, nine out of ten companies are still using fax machines. I think that there are cultural factors that have allowed technologies like the fax machine to remain popular, despite more modern alternatives.

Did you enjoy taking part in Three Minute Thesis?

It was definitely an enjoyable experience. I felt a little out of place, since the majority of the entrants were in the sciences, but it was great nonetheless to be able to tell others about what I'm doing, particularly since PhD research can often be such a solitary experience. It was also nice to learn about what others are doing for their PhD projects.

What do you plan to do after completing your PHD?

While I've had several ideas floating around in my head at some point or another, I am pretty certain I want to go into academia. There are so many more things I want to learn about Japan. I really enjoy teaching and researching, so I feel that a university-based career is a pretty good fit for me.

Visit the University Graduate College website to find out more about the Three Minute Thesis competition

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