Postdoc lightning talks competition details

woman presenting in front of a smartphone

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is pleased to announce University of Waterloo's first ever virtual Postdoc Lightning Talks competition, taking place on September 25, 2020 from 3:00pm-4:30pm.

Postdoc lightning talks are a great way for postdocs practice their research communication skills.  This is also an opportunity to network with others virtually, as we'll have plenty of time for audience members and presenters to ask and answer questions during the Q&A period (while judges deliberate).

Prizes will be awarded for the best lightning talks, (as determined by our judging panel) based on predetermined criteria. The competition will be hosted on Zoom.


Scott J. Davidson Geography and Environmental Management Boreal peatlands: Shot on iPhone
Lauren Todd Biology Computational prediction of microRNAs encoded by frog virus 3 and their potential involvement in host immune evasion
Xinxing Duan ECE Effect of sonoporation-assisted cancer treatment on tumour microenvironment
Noelannah Neubauer School of Public Health and Health Systems From bookshelf to use in the real world: mobilizing the Canadian Guideline for Safe Wandering
Roland Habluetzel IQC Image generation via programmable holograms
Sameed Ahmed Applied Mathematics Optimal drug choice in hypertensive rats: quantitative insights for precision medicine
Mohan Ram Chemical Engineering Making of clean cosmetics using sustainable nanotechnology
Khadija Kanwal Khanum Electrical and Computer Engineering My composite research at UWaterloo
Pankaj Gupta Geography and Environmental Management Oil Spills Cleanup in Peatlands: Hydrology-on the one hand, Microbes on the other
Nadeem Akhtar Chemical Engineering Probiotic encapsulation for fish
Nitin Padmanabhan Electrical & Computer Engineering Realizing the Smart Electricity Grid with Demand Response & Battery Energy Storage System
Apoorva Chauhan Computer Science Social Media Use During COVID-19
Shruti Chandra ECE Social Robots for Well-being
Jonathan Petrychyn Recreation & Leisure Studies Swipe, Woof, or Tap? Making Connections on Dating Apps
Pouya Mehrannia ECE Towards a fully automated audio transcription system
John Edison Muñoz System Design Engineering Virtual Reality for Dementia Care. Participatory Game Design with therapists and developers..
Rashmi Chandra Civil and Environmental Engineering Waste to Bioenergy
Pranabesh Das Pure Mathematics Yes!!! We do solve equations


Participants must

  • be currently employed at the University of Waterloo as a postdoctoral fellow
  • register to participate by Tuesday, September 22 by 12:00pm.
  • be available to participate live on Friday, September 25 between 3:00 and 4:30pm 
  • have access to a webcam and a reliable internet connection
  • deliver a live presentation between 1 and 3 minutes in length via Zoom (Powerpoint slides are permitted, but not required)
  • base your presentation on the research you are currently undertaking at the University of Waterloo
  • not use any additional media (e.g. music, props, etc.), but slide transitions, gifs, etc. are permitted.
  • must be willing to allow your video to be made public and provide a photo and short biography if you are selected as a winner. Your photo and biography will also be made public. 
  • agree that, by submitting your video, you are agreeing that your submission is an original work created by you, and that you have all necessary rights in and to the submission. 

Judging criteria:

Each competitor will be assessed on the three judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

1.  Communication

  • Did the presenter use language and terminology that was clear and understandable?
  • Was the pace of the talk effective?
  • Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (i.e. eye contact, voice modulation, body language, etc.) effectively?
  • Did the slides (if applicable) enhance, rather than detract from, the talk – was it clear, legible, and concise?

2.  Comprehension

  • Did the talk help you to understand the scholarly research?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and purpose of the scholarly research?
  • Did the presenter clearly indicate what is interesting about the scholarly research?
  • Did the talk follow a logical sequence?

3.  Engagement

  • Was the talk engaging?
  • Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention?


Three prizes will be awarded*

1st place prize: $750

2nd place prize: $500

3rd place prize: $250

*please note prizes may be taxable


If you have questions, contact Angela Rooke.