Ciaran McGeady wins the finals of The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition.

Issued: Thu, 02 Jul 2020 12:00:00 BST

Ciaran McGeady wins the finals of The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition with the project - Listening to Butterflies with Brainwaves. His work is focussed on the development of brain-computer interfaces, a novel communication technology that uses brain activity recorded from electrodes to control computers and devices, which is showing great promise for neurorehabilitation following stroke or spinal cord injury. He is developing signal processing and machine learning techniques to improve the detection of imagined arm movements in patients, restoring their control of their environment. 


The competition is challenging students to present their research to a non-specialist audience and giving them the opportunity to practice their public engagement skills. Anyone who is active in a PhD, MPhil or MRes or any other research programme (at any stage, including thesis under submission) is eligible. The competition was initially developed at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia and has since spread to other universities, with Glasgow's being the longest running version of the competition in Scotland. 

Participants presented their research verbally in just three minutes with related content presented on one PowerPoint slide. Heats took place in each of the four colleges and one winner and two runners-up from each of the four heats went through to the Grand Final.

Ciaran said: 'I only entered the competition as an opportunity to practice public speaking, and work out how to describe my research in a way my friends and family would understand, which I had been told was not one of my strengths. The format of the competition really encouraged me to get better.' Ciaran would really recommend this experience to anyone. 

He goes on to say: 'The short time limit leaves little room for nerves as it’s over before it has begun. I found the whole process very rewarding. No one comes away empty-handed, and might, like me, get surprised to go all the way to the Finals'. 

The competition attracted over 50 participants from the four Colleges and Ciaran is the first winner from the James Watt School of Engineering since 2013. With his £1000, he intends to travel abroad to explore the impact of the platform he is developing.