Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monash Engineering PhD student wins Three Minute Thesis finals

PhD student Tridib Saha has emerged the victor of the Monash University Three Minute Thesis finals.

After taking part in numerous heats and faculty finals, the student, from Monash University Malaysia and the Faculty of Engineering, wowed judges at the Monash finals Sept. 19, with the summary of his work on the possibilities of harvesting electrical energy from vibrations.

Monash Engineering School
Study at Monash School of Engineering

After defeating over 200 fellow Monash PhD students, Mr Saha will now compete against 30 other PhD students from universities across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in the transnational Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) finals at the University of Western Australia on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.

Mr Saha who started his PhD in Engineering in December 2012, after graduating from a Bachelor of Engineering (with Honors) in the field of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, decided to take part after encouragement from his supervisor, Dr Ramakrishnan from the Monash School of Engineering.

“Research can be very one-dimensional and I’m always looking for new things to do to keep myself occupied. All it needed was a bit of convincing from my supervisor, and the next thing I know, I’m representing my faculty for the campus rounds,” Mr Saha said.

“I’m usually good with people and I tend to talk a lot, so I wasn’t really scared of the public speaking part. The biggest challenge was condensing and simplifying my work in a way that everyone would understand.”

Guest judges were Dr Graham Phillips from ABC TV’s Catalyst program, Monash Vice-Provost (Research), Professor Pauline Nestor and CEO of PACIA, Ms Samantha Read. Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher, School of Social Sciences convened as the Master of Ceremonies.

The panel of judges declared Mr Saha the winner based on his ability to creatively convey his research to a general audience, leaving them wanting to hear more.

Vice-Provost (Graduate Education), Professor Zlatko Skrbis, said the Three Minute Thesis competition represents a unique challenge for graduate research students.

“One of the key characteristics for any researcher is to make an impact by conveying the importance of their work to the general public. This competition is a great opportunity to develop those skills,” he said.

“The entries this year were of an incredibly high standard. Mr Saha’s presentation stood out because he used a winning combination of humour with a clear, expressive style to effectively convey his research to non-specialist audience.

“On behalf of everyone at Monash, I wish Mr Saha the very best of luck at the finals,” Professor Skrbis said.

Mr Saha said he was truly honoured to have the opportunity to represent Monash University at a national level.

“It is a huge step going from representing a campus to representing the whole university. I can’t wait to meet my competition and see where I stand among all the trans-national universities,” he said.

Mr Saha’s prize from the Monash University final is $2,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the transnational final, where he now has a chance of winning a research and travel grant.

Monash Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering (ECSE) is an extremely diverse department specialising in telecommunications, RFID, biomedical engineering, robotics, sensing, vision, systems-on-a-chip and smart energy systems. These applications are based on fundamental research in electronics, photonics, signal processing, communications theory, artificial intelligence, real-time software, optimization, electromagnetics and numerical modeling.

The ECSE program at the Monash School of Engineering equips students with the skills necessary to succeed in this rapidly changing industry. The department is at the centre of ECSE research, with researchers working on innovative projects including bionic vision, augmented reality, medical diagnostics, optical communications, wireless communications, sensor systems and high-voltage engineering. This research is creating and supporting high-tech industry.

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