MUBoGS Mini Conference
Although I suggested in my last post that my next one would be about the hierarchical bit of hierarchical models, I am instead taking this opportunity to briefly present a little group called ‘MUBoGS’ and a little conference called ‘The MUBoGS Mini Conference’.
The postgraduate students in The School of Botany, here at Uni Melb, are getting active. The Melbourne University Botany Graduate Society, affectionately known as MUBoGS, is holding the first Graduate School of Botany Mini Conference.
Most postgraduate members from the School (including Hons, Masters and PhDs) across all the lab groups will be presenting their thesis topics in 3 minutes and with the aid of up to 2 (non-animated) slides.
3-minute presentations, or ‘speed talks’ are becoming more frequent, both in conference settings but also within academic institutions. Annually, the University of Queensland runs a very successful 3MT competition that is open to students from many Universities from around the world.
The idea is to give postgrads a chance to practice effective communication of their research to an educated but unspecialised audience (see here for more info and some examples of cool, calm, collected and concise speakers, and here for good advice about preparing for a 3MT comp).
Putting together a 3-minute talk takes a whole lot longer than just 3 minutes.
The aim is to communicate what you’re researching, why you’re doing it and why it’s important. Often these talks are judged firstly on your communication style, specifically whether you can get a non-specialised audience to understand the significance of your research, but also on how engaging you are. Condensing the fundamentals of your research into something that can be delivered and understood efficiently is both surprisingly challenging and surprisingly rewarding.
Can you make people understand and care about your research in 3 minutes?
The postgraduate students here in The School of Botany will soon find out. Our first Mini Conference is shaping up to be an excellent day. As well as our students presenting, we are having panel discussions of PhD and Postdocs talking about transitions from PhD to ‘Post-PhD-Work’ and sharing some hints about ‘things I wished somebody had told me…’ We are also planning some social trivia and there will be many ‘Mini Plants’ to win throughout the day.
Stay tuned for more Mini Conference news…
And… here’s a photo of Eucalyptus incrassata (+ ants) flowering in the mallee…