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Waterloo PhD candidate a 3MT national favourite

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) announced today that University of Waterloo’s Gregory Lui is the national Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition People’s Choice award winner, as well as the second place winner overall in this year’s national 3MT.

Lui is a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemical Engineering. His research involves the synthesis of nanomaterials that can be used in multi-functional, photo electrochemical systems, including photocatalytic wastewater treatment, energy production in photo electrochemical cells, and photo-assisted energy storage. How did Lui victoriously convey his complex research to a generalist audience in three minutes while only using one static slide? Likening photo catalysts to a “chemical rollercoaster,” he demonstrated how waste water created in the beer brewing process could be converted back into clean water, while at the same time generating electricity.  Lui also made sure to thank the beer drinkers in the audience for their help facilitating his research. The ultimate goal of Lui’s research is to apply scientific principals to solve realworld problems, particularly those related to water quality, pollution, and energy security. “Through this competition,” Lui shared with CAGS, “I learned first-hand the power and influence of the pitch. I am about to graduate, and am currently looking to bring this research and my experience in the 3MT to bear in the clean energy sector.”

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the University of Waterloo is the largest in Canada.  The competition cultivates University of Waterloo graduate students’  presentation and communication skills, and provides them with invaluable networking opportunities. Winners also have the potential to win thousands of dollars in prizes.

“The 3MT is an amazing opportunity for our exceptionally talented students to effectively convey the complexity of their research for all audiences,” says Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. “As this national competition has evolved, all graduate students who have participated are benefiting from the challenge of enhancing their communication skills and becoming part of a community of scholars from across the nation. It's no surprise that Waterloo students excel in this area. The University has a long history of conducting transformative, impactful research to the betterment of society”.

Watch Gregory Lui’s winning video.

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