Student research competitions offer exposure, skills development

Sharing their findings with the world is a vital part of the research process for students, both during their studies and in their careers as researchers.

To help student researchers hone their research communications skills, three valuable competitions are on the horizon. They include:

  •    The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Science, Action! video competition
  •    The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) Storytellers video/written competition
  •    The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Challenge

Brock University has done exceptionally well in these national competitions, taking third place in NSERC’s 2018 contest, two finalists in the 2018 SSHRC contest, and a People’s Choice Award at the 2016 3MT national competition.

Aly Bailey, a PhD student in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, was one of the finalists in the 2018 Storytellers, producing a video explaining her body image research that led to the creation of a program called Body Image Awareness Seminars (BIAS).

“It’s incredibly important for me to be able to reach many people about BIAS, a program that promotes a positive body image movement,” Bailey said. “This (contest) is the perfect platform for that.”

Deadlines for submissions are coming up in January.

Interim Dean of Graduate Studies Diane Dupont encouraged students to enter the competitions.

“They will learn valuable communication skills while connecting the important work they’re doing with the needs and interests of society,” she said.

To help students prepare for these challenges, five of Brock’s national and provincial researcher communication challenge winners will be sharing insights and experiences at the following information sessions:

“We urge you to start thinking about and planning for your entries in these competitions,” said former 3MT participant and People’s Choice Award winner MaGee, who is now Research Ethics Officer at Brock.

“Although entry deadlines are in January, time goes by really quickly. The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to create your entries and get support for your work.”

For more information, contact Karin Perry, Program Co-ordinator, Development and Training for the Faculty of Graduate Studies at

Competition details:

Science, Action! (NSERC): Students submit a maximum 60-second video and a 100-word written description of a research project or initiative at Brock funded by NSERC. Cash prizes range from $2,500 to $3,500. See Brock’s entries from last year. Deadline: TBA mid-January 2019.

The Storytellers (SSHRC): Students submit a maximum three-minute video or 300-word write-up of a SSHRC-funded project they (or their supervisor, with permission) are pursuing at Brock. The top 25 submissions will receive a cash prize of $3,000 in the first round of judging and will present at Congress 2018. The final five winners will present at the 2018 SSHRC Impact Awards event. Submission period: TBA early to mid-January 2019.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT): Students give a three-minute presentation of their research and why it matters to an audience outside of their disciplines. Contestants are limited to using one static PowerPoint slide. See Brock’s 2017 finalists. Deadline for abstracts: TBA end of January 2019.

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