How to present your amazing research ideas in three minutes, tops

Tips from Kyle Potts, former UAlberta Falling Walls finalist, now jury member.

Salena Kitteringham - 19 September 2017

Think TEDtalk with a dash of Dragon's Den―the Falling Walls Lab is a fast-paced presentation format where graduate students present their idea or innovation in three minutes to a panel of judges from academia, government, industry and media. The top three ideas win a trip to Berlin to compete in the international finale.

The 2017 edition of Falling Walls Labs UAlberta is set for the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 20 with five graduate students from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry aiming to break walls on mental illness (Deena Hamza), Alzheimer's disease (Hailey Pineau), cancer survival after radiology (Guanmin Meng), antibiotic resistance with Phage Therapy (Abdullah Farooq) and breast cancer recurrence (Vrajesh Pandya).

Previous Falling Walls presenters from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry have proven to be top notch. Liann Willets won Young Innovator of the Year in Berlin, 2015. Kyle Potts, a current PhD candidate in experimental oncology, won first place at the 2016 UAlberta Falling Walls lab with Breaking the Wall of Cancer Therapy with Viruses.

This year, Potts moves from the presentation stage into the jury's chair. Here are some of his tips to present your amazing research ideas in three minutes, tops.

What did you wish you knew before you presented in 2016 that would have made the experience easier?

Be open to new ways to present your message. If people don't understand why your idea is important you need to find another way to make the message clear.

When you watched the presentations in Berlin, what made the strongest presenters stand out?

They had a clear and obvious message in their presentation. The problem was identified and they were convincing in why their solution was novel and innovative.

How has being a Falling Walls presenter and finalist benefited you as researcher? Did other opportunities come out of putting your ideas out there?

I have received a lot of feedback on our research and learned how to clearly and quickly explain what we are doing and why it is important. I also learned a lot about giving and receiving constructive criticism.

Event details:

Falling Walls Lab UAlberta 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Room 150, TELUS Centre, University of Alberta (11104 87 Avenue)
Free event-all are welcome. Please RSVP here.

Follow on Twitter @UofAResearch and #FallingWalls

Falling Walls Lab UAlberta is led by the U of A's Office of Vice-President Research.