SEAMS Elevator Pitch Competition

Image - SEAMS Elevator Pitch Competition

Can you explain your research project to a general audience in 90 seconds with no props and no slides?

Last week, SEAMS – or Students of EMBL Australia Node in Single Molecule Science – organised an Elevator Pitch competition to help improve their communication skills, especially with non-specialist audiences.

The brief was to explain your research, and why it is important, in a way that is accessible to a general audience, in no more than 1 minute and a half. Imagine you just got in the elevator with the Vice Chancellor.

Fourteen students delivered their pitches to their fellow students and four judges.

Associate Professor Pheobe Phillips (Head of Pancreatic Cancer Translational Research Group), Geoff Hyde (Write About Research), Brett Szmajda (UNSW Medicine Research Support Manager), and Sue Min Liu (SMS Communications Officer) were invited to rank the pitches, and to provide feedback and tips on effective communication.

The speakers were excited and well prepared. PhD Student Jonathan Berengut from the Lee lab – who also created the trophies for the event – was the First Prize-winner selected by judges. The Audience Choice Prize went to German undergraduate student, Tim Dullweber who is a Study Abroad Research Practicum student in the Gaus lab, currently enrolled in an undergraduate course in the Freie Universität, Berlin.

The event ended with an International Dinner. Students and staff at SMS have diverse cultural backgrounds and are always keen to share food from their homelands. Everyone from SMS was invited to bring along a dish from their culture to enjoy together.


These are just the beginning of the initiatives led by the students of SMS, who are taking a proactive approach to garnering more support and guidance so they can get the most out of their PhDs.

Elevator Pitch Organisers: Rashmi Pillai and Jonathan Berengut

Elected president of SEAMS: Ana Monserrat-Martinez

Date Published: 
Wednesday, 4 July 2018