Visualise Your Thesis competition

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    These days an online presence is vital if you want to develop awareness of your research and anything that goes further than a bit of text and a few pictures will always attract more attention. Visualise Your Thesis is an exciting competition that takes this to next level, encouraging advanced visual literacy and helping PhD candidates develop their digital presentation skills.

    How does Visualise your Thesis work?

    Visualise Your Thesis is a competition created by the University of Melbourne that challenges graduate researchers to present their research in a 60 second, eye-catching digital display. Using a pre-supplied template, entrants are tasked with developing a striking looped presentation to encapsulate their research projects in short, engaging, digital narratives. Competition submissions are judged on their visual impact, and how well the content presents the research. The digital format allows for different levels of creativity, multi-media, interactivity and interpretation and is suitable for all disciplines.

    This competition is open to candidates at all stages of candidature, including those yet to complete their Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) or confirmation. 

    The winner of this year’s ANU Visualise Your Thesis competition will go on to compete in the national showcase hosted by The University of Melbourne in October 2023. Plus, there are prizes to win!

    To get a better idea of all this, take a look at last year’s winners:

    Jonathan Ting - WINNER

    Designing Tiny Metal Particles with AI’s Help

    Giselle Cruzado - HIGHLY COMMENDED

    Indigenous women's enterprises: aspirations, challenges and opportunities

    Asara Senaratne - PEOPLE’S CHOICE

    The Abnormal Knowledge

    Why participate in the VYT competition?

    Being able to present your research is increasingly important for PhD students. Sometimes you get to present in-person – at conferences or in seminars, for example – but often you need a standalone way of showcasing your research – as part of your social media presence perhaps, or even in something like a striking, high tech signature file. The skills you will acquire while preparing your VYT entry will help you with this. This competition is open to candidates at all stages of candidature, including those yet to complete their Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) or confirmation. 

    The winner of this year’s ANU Visualise Your Thesis competition will go on to compete in the national showcase hosted by The University of Melbourne in October 2023. Plus, there are prizes to win!

    ANU VYT timeline 2023:

    • 7 to 17 August competition training
    • 21 August: Submissions open for the ANU final
    • 28 August: Submissions close for the ANU final
    • 4 September: ANU submits ANU finalist to VYT International
    • October: VYT International staged by The University of Melbourne


    Winners will be decided on a by an independent judging panel, and the prizes are generously funded by the Dean Higher Degree Research:

    • $2,000 will be awarded to the VYT 2023 winner.
    • $500 will be awarded to the second place.



    August 7 | 2pm (online) Finding the Right Words-choosing the right text for your Visualise Your Thesis Competition entry

    While your 60 second PowerPoint loop is very much a visual presentation, text will be an important way for you to communicate your message. And, given how few words you will be using, the pressure is really on to get that text right! This first section focuses on finding the stories in your research and choosing the right words to tell those stories. It will look at how much text to use and how much text is too much and the balance between writing and editing will be discussed. Here we will show you how to find the characters in your story (and we are not necessarily talking about people here) and how to bring them to life. And we’ll look at striking the right balance between text and visuals.

    Please register here.

    August 10 | 2pm (online) Making it look and sound good- getting the audio-visual side of your Visualise Your Thesis Competition entry just right

    The visual and audio presentation of your research will be the focus of this section. Here you’ll turn into graphic designers and look at fonts, colour schemes, palettes and layout; you’ll become pictorial librarians and think about selecting the right images to tell your story; you’ll be cinematographers and think about inserting live footage and animation; and you’ll throw on your sound production hat and think about music and sound effects.

    Please register here.

    August 14 | 1pm (online) How to bring your Digital Display to Life

    This workshop is designed for candidates who are competing in the Visualise your Thesis competition to create short, engaging animated videos using a variety of formats.  These formats of storytelling and digital skills will be useful for other situations or just to help you make more impactful conference presentations to maximise the impact of your research project. Suitable for all disciplines and various levels of creativity and digital skills. 


    ·       Visualising your research

    ·       Using the Visualise your Thesis PowerPoint template

    ·       Practical Exercises:

    ·       PowerPoint: images, transitions, animations, morph transitions

    ·       Canva: a graphic tool for non-graphic designers using words, data and complexities into compelling memorable visuals

    ·       Pixabay:  free images and videos

    ·       Powtoon: part video maker, part animator and part presentation tool

    ·       Options of other software:   Adobe Animate, iMovie, Audacity 

    Requirements: PowerPoint, setup free accounts for Canva and Powtoon before the workshop.

    The workshop will be presented by Candida Spence from the ANU Library Digital Literacy Training

    Please register here.

    August 17 | 2pm (online) The Allen Key moment-putting it all together

    Your Visual Your Thesis presentation must be a cohesive package and tell an engaging and informative story – all within sixty seconds! This last section will look at combining all the elements discussed so far, satisfying all the rules and technical requirements, and wowing the judges. It will also look at all the other uses of your presentation that you can make outside the Visual Your Thesis competition.

    Please register here.


    The Visualise Your Thesis competition is for currently-enrolled and attending graduate researchers at ANU. Graduate researchers are enrolled in:

    • M.Phil.,
    • Masters by Research,
    • Ph.D.

    Candidates can be at any stage of their candidature, but must be active and attending (not on leave of absence).

    Not eligible to enter the competition are: Honours students; Masters by coursework students (even if their program has a research/thesis component); or Graduate researchers on a leave of absence.

    Graduate researchers affiliated with multiple institutions may only enter one local competition per year.

    Entries should be unique and original. The re-submission of previous entries is only permitted where substantial revision has occurred.

    Technical instructions for competitors

    How to submit your Visualise Your Thesis submission

    1. Save a copy of the PowerPoint file. Only entries using the official template saved as a  .pptx file will be accepted
    2. Submit your presentation before 28 August 2023 

    How to use the Visualise Your Thesis template

    Download the official competition template (above), follow the instructions on the slides, delete the pre-supplied content in the template and add your own.

    You may add additional slides to the template, however your presentation (excl. bookend slides) must be 60 seconds or shorter in duration, and the maximum file size allowed is 100 MB.

    Your entry will be displayed using ANU computer hardware and software. Please test your entry before completing it. To test your entry, view your PowerPoint slideshow on a computer at the university that has standard software installed, such as on any student computer that you need to log in to. 

    Tips for creating your Visualise Your Thesis entry

    Replace the text in the template by typing or pasting in your own text. Remove the images in the template and add your own images to support your descriptions such as data visualisations, graphs, an infographic, tables, or photos.

    Be creative and change the layout, text boxes, colours and fonts, or you might animate text or objects, just make sure you:

    • Do not change the layout, design, or colours of the bookend slides, i.e. the title slide and the references slide (the first and last slides)
    • Do not use a body text font size smaller than 14 pt
    • Do not change the Page Setup in PowerPoint (your entry will be displayed on a screen in widescreen format)
    • Include the required information on the poster as specified in the template: Introduction, Research Significance, Method, Results, Conclusion, however note that:
    -You may include this information in the form of text, images, video and/or audio
    - If you use text, you can modify the headings in the template to suit your project, for example: ‘Background’ instead of ‘Introduction’, ‘Approach’ instead of ‘Method’, or ‘Implications’ instead of ‘Conclusion' 
    - Depending on the stage of your project, you may not have results or a conclusion yet, however you can state this and include any information or ideas you have at this stage
    - make sure to observe all the laws and conventions governing copyright, particularly when adding images, audio or video to your poster.
    • Include a valid Twitter handle or Instagram handle: people will be encouraged to tweet to poster authors with questions and comments, and to post photos of the awards event

    Set your slides to advance automatically in PowerPoint, but make sure your PowerPoint presentation (excl. bookend slides) displays for a maximum total time of 60 seconds.

    Submission checklist for competitors

    1. VYT Submission in PowerPoint file .pptx format?
    2. Presentation (excl. bookend slides) displays for no more than 60 seconds?
    3. Slides set to advance automatically in PowerPoint?
    4. PowerPoint file size no more than 100 MB?
    5. No embedded online videos, such as YouTube or Vimeo videos or similar?
    6. No separate media files: i.e. all media embedded in the PowerPoint file?
    7. All video and audio starts automatically and loops continuously?
    8. All video and audio is optimised and compressed?
    9. First slide and last slide from template included, i.e. the title slide and references slide?
    10. References included for any resources used to create your entry?
    11. Acknowledgements included for people, or groups, who helped with your project or entry?
    12. Citations included for any media used or created, including images, audio and video files? Know your rights, find out more here.
    13. Does the use of media, including images, audio and video files, comply with copyright legislation and regulations?
    14. Text font size no smaller than 14 pt?
    15. Page setup in PowerPoint the same as for the template? (i.e. page setup not changed?)
    16. Required information included on the poster as specified in the template: Introduction, Research Significance, Method, Results, Conclusion?
    17. Text on the entry proof-read?
    18. Valid Twitter/Instagram handle and ORCiD included on title slide? More information about ORCiD, can be found here.

    How to perfect your VYT entry

    • Watch as many previous winners from a variety of participating universities as you can; watch critically – learn from the best, avoid the mistakes of the worst

    • Take part in ANU’s VYT training

    For more information please contact Researcher Development on