NIHR Maudsley BRC Trainees’ Conference celebrates the work of our PhD students



The NIHR Maudsley BRC Trainees’ Conference celebrated the work of our PhD students and showcased some of the work taking place across the BRC and wider NIHR Mental Health Translational Research Collaboration.

About the conference

On Thursday 17 September and Friday 18 September BRC staff and students hosted a series of workshops and presentations. These included an anti-racism workshop, with open conversation and talks from groups such as the BIPP Network, and a Research Design Service London workshop  covered what to consider when planning research and what to put into grant applications. Over the coming weeks we will share blogs from the workshops. 

There were also presentations from two research groups.

RADAR-CNS’s research showcase hosted by Professor Matthew Hotopf CBE, Dr Amos Folarin and Dr Nick Cummins, discussed the potential of smartphones and wearables for depression.

Professor Rachel Upthegrove, Dr Siân Lowri Griffiths and Jack Rogers from the University of Birmingham Psychosis Research Group talked about their current and future research aims.

3-minute thesis (®3MT) competition

The main event consisted of 3-minute thesis (®3MT) presentations. ®3MT is an established academic competition developed by the University of Queensland, Australia. Its success has led to the establishment of local and national competitions in several countries. 

Over the course of an afternoon we had a total of 30 presentations from students working across the BRC and wider NIHR Mental Health Translational Research Collaboration judged by a panel of expert judges as well as the audience.

In his closing speech, Professor Matthew Hotopf said;

“Thank you to everyone who participated, especially those who presented their 3-minute thesis, it was a fantastic achievement and no one ran over-time. It was difficult to find clear winners as the standards of presentations and the ways in which people presented were so high.”

®3MT Winners



®3MT Judges’ winners

  • Early stage PhD: Dr Nathan Huneke, University of Southampton
  • Mid stage PhD: Lucy Chester, King’s College London
  • Final stage PhD: Elystan Roberts, University of Bristol & Dimos Tsapekos, King’s College London
  • Overall winner: Lucy Chester, King’s College London

Dr Rina Dutta, co-lead for our Training and Capacity Development cluster, said

"Lucy Chester was a clear winner from the way she approached and planned her presentation to be accessible.  She held the online audience with just the right level of enthusiasm and science.  Very clear and with fabulous intonation, she could have been presenting for a science podcast or voiceover - well done Lucy!"

Lucy Chester said, “All of the presentations were so good- I’m surprised but very pleased to have won!”

Nathan Huneke said, "I was delighted to have the opportunity to take part in the conference and to present my work on investigating placebo anxiolysis. I was really fascinated by all the other presentations and encouraged that there is such strong research happening in mental health. I’m really looking forward to hear how everyone gets on in future”. 

Elystan Roberts said "It was a fantastic opportunity to represent the NIHR Bristol BRC at the Conference. The high standard of the research on show was a testament to the quality of the training the BRCs provide, and it was a lovely surprise to win the Final Stage PhD competition."

®3MT Audience winners

The Audience winner was Valeria De Angel, King’s College London, with runners up: Ilyas Sagar-Ouriaghli, King’s College London, and Timothy Lawn, King’s College London. 


Valeria De Angel told us, “Synthesising what your research is about and why it’s important to a 3-minute pitch was really challenging, but it has really helped me hone in on the key messages of my thesis. This will no doubt anchor me on my research goals as I go deeper into my PhD.

Winning the audience vote was surprising but highly encouraging, particularly because it means recognition from my peers. It has definitely helped my confidence in communicating my research – I now use some of what I prepared for my 3MT presentation to explain my work to people outside my field!  I strongly encourage other PhD students to take on the challenge.”

Watch the presentations

The winning presentations will be uploaded in the coming week, the link will be added here when they are live.

For more information about Research Training and Capacity Development, visit:

Tags: Events - Training & capacity development -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 22 Sep 2020, 09:00 AM

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