Last time I made it through to the university final, but no further. I really enjoyed the experience: so much so, that I managed to persuade my Mum (who is studying for a DBA at Henley Business School) to enter the heats at her university! After she made it through to her university's final, I knew there was no way I wasn't going to be able to give it another go...
Last time, I started with the basic chemistry, building up to the topic of my research and then finishing with the applications. The video is here. After attending a 3MT training session put on by the graduate school before the heats, I decided to change the order a bit: starting with the motivation and application of hydrogen fuel cell technology and then going into more detail.
After a hectic week prior to the heat, and the timer having technical issues during my presentation, I wasn't sure how it had gone, but was pleased to find out that I had made it through to the final (phew - at least Mum hadn't beaten me yet!!). We then had a morning of training from Lucy Vernall from @ideaslabproject where we analysed previous 3MT presentations and discussed ways to improve our own.
I came away buzzing with ideas, and had a bit of a re-write. I then did quite a lot of practice: in my room; in the car; even out running along the canal! I made some changes to my slide: coming up with the final version below illustrating the different way that hydrogen is stored in the two vehicles.
The day of the final began with filming in the media centre - instructed not to wear green so that we didn't disappear into our slide, we headed to the studio underneath the great hall. I was first up, having been randomly selected to present first both for filming and for the event in the afternoon. I stood on my piece of tape while the camera and lights were lined up, and I was "powdered" to remove any shine. And.... action!
I managed it in one take! I found it hard to not move around and keep my focus on the camera, but I think it went OK. Even though I began calm, by the end I was shaking like a leaf, so I'm glad there had been no major problems because there was no way I would have been able to do that again.
Now followed a few hours back in the office preparing a conference presentation (with very different slides!) before the live final in the afternoon.
The final was put on as part of the graduate school's awards ceremony: we presented at the start and then after all the other awards were given out, the winner would be announced. Up first, I gave my presentation to the audience, who were really open and welcoming. It felt much less nerve-wracking than either the heat or the filming! Although I did finish and I was shaking like a leaf! The finalists were all based in a different room, so I didn't get to hear anyone else present. But everyone seemed to come back feeling confident that they had done well.
After a drinks reception we returned to the main room for the prize giving. One of my fellow School of Chemistry researchers won the publication prize, so Chemistry was already doing well! They announced the prizes for the runners up for the people's choice and the judges choice first and then, to my complete shock, they announced me as the winner!
I am so pleased to have got through to the next round - thanks to everyone who helped with the organisation and the training, and apologies to those who saw me talking to myself on the canal! The next round is judged based on the videos, and then the national final is in September in Manchester. So watch this space....