Visualise Your Thesis competition

Provider business unit: Researcher Development »

Due to the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, increasing social distancing measures and public gathering restrictions being implemented, ANU has made the decision to move the 2020 Visualise your Thesis Competition to a virtual format in the best interests of public health.

ANU VYT timeline 2020:

  • May / June / July: roll out of training program
  • 20 July: VYT submission opens
  • 3 August: VYT submission close 9am
  • 14 August: Judging panel reviews entries and selects our ANU finalist
  • 21 August: ANU Virtual VYT Final - ANU Winner and People’s choice announced
  • 24 August: one on one coaching of the ANU finalist provided by ANU Researcher Development team
  • 1 September: ANU submits finalist ANU Winning VYT to University of Melbourne
  •  October: University of Melbourne National VYT 2020 Final

What is Visualise your Thesis?

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.

Why participate in the VYT competition?

Research pitching skills have become increasingly important for PhD students. You will be called on to pitch your research at conferences, in seminars and for various competitions - but what is pitching and how can you get good at it? The word ‘pitching’ can have bad connotations. Some see it as a commodification of research and researchers.

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 the ANU Visualise Your Thesis competition 2020 will go on to compete in the National online showcase hosted by The University of Melbourne in October 2020. Plus there are prizes to win, $2,000 or $500 could be yours!


29 April | How to win the 3 Minute Thesis competition
5 May | Influencing people with your research: good communication principles
3 June | RSES HDR: Developing effective posters
11 June | Visual design basics for academic purposes
16 June | Visual storytelling: Using semiotic principles and creative thinking
16 June | Influencing others with your research 
23 June| Creative approaches to reporting on research
25 June | Branding for Academics
30 June | Conference poster production using PowerPoint webinar
30 June | Creative approaches to presenting research findings
1 July | Communicating confidently through the screen 
7 July | Portrayals of Research – National Portrait Gallery virtual tour
8 July | How to get your research in the media 
9 July | Design and Develop your Digital Display with PPT and Powtoon webinar
15 July | How to win the ANU 3MT
17 July | Influencing others with your research 
21 July | Sharing research stories – National Portrait Gallery virtual tour
22 July | Winning top tips for the ANU 3MT

VYT Final 2020

Visualise Your Thesis Final 2020 - 21 August, 11am - noonRegister for the Virtual VYT Final Zoom:


The VYT 2020 will be judged by

  • Professor Ann Evans, Dean Higher Degree Research
  • Dr Nerilee Flint, Head of Fenner Hall ANU
  • Utsav Gupta, President ANU Postgraduate and Research Students' Association
  • Sia Ahmad, musician, member of the ACT Ministers’ Creative Council, and Australian Art Orchestra board member

And people's choice will be voted on by you! Prize winners will be announced via email and social media @ANUresearcher.


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 2020 winner.

$500 will be awarded to the VYT 2020 people's choice.


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 .pptx files will be accepted
2. Submit your entry by 9am 3 August 2020 to the VYT Submissions Folder. Late submissions will not be accepted.
3. Email Researcher Development to confirm your entry, we will respond that we have received your submission successfully.

How to use the Visualise Your Thesis template
Download the Visualise Your Thesis PowerPoint template to your computer, delete the text, images and video in the template and add your own content.

You may add additional slides to the template, however:
• Your presentation (excl. bookend slides) will be displayed for at most 60 seconds, and
• The maximum file size allowed is 100 MB. Your entry will be displayed using ANU property.
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 in a 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, being the title slide and the references slide (i.e. 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 ePoster 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
- Consider copyright, particularly when adding images, audio or video to your poster, see the advice on the ANU copyright rules.
• 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:
1. Select the Transitions tab.
2. Tick the After checkbox.
3. Enter the number of seconds you wish to display the slide for, or edit the current slide timings. For further instructions, see: Set the speed and timing of transitions.
Note: your PowerPoint presentation (excl. bookend slides) should display 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.


Previous VYT winners

Slide presentation and infographic

Free images

PowerPoint and design help

Video recording

  • One Button Studio, an easy-to-use video recording facility located on Level 4 of Chifley Library
  • Adobe Spark is a free web-based video creation tool. You can create simple videos incorporating images, text and voiceover
  • Zoom is primarily a video conferencing tool, you can use Zoom to easily record videos of yourself or your computer screen
  • Movie Maker is a video and slideshow maker app available for Windows computers
  • iMovie is a free video creation tool for Mac computers and mobiles


For more information please contact Victoria Firth-Smith on