BEL Faculty 3MT Competition Winners Announced

12 Aug 2016

The winning entrants from the BEL Faculty’s 2016 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, held on Friday 12 August, have just been announced with the TC Beirne School of Law and UQ Business School taking out the honours across the Winner, Runner-Up and People’s Choice awards.  All recipients received research funds and the winner will now go on to compete in the UQ 3MT Final next month and may proceed to the 2016 Asia-Pacific competition.

A total of 10 Research Masters and PhD students battled it out at the competition and engaged the audience in their research through a three-minute presentation.

Brisbane resident Sam Boyle, PhD candidate from the TC Beirne School of Law, was awarded the Faculty Winner’s prize as well as being one of three People’s Choice recipients. The winning prize was $1,000 in research funds and a spot in the UQ 3MT Final for his presentation titled ‘Capacity and treatment refusal: How law does and should deal with adults with anorexia nervosa who refuse treatment’. The People’s Choice prize will also top up his research funds.

Mr Boyle’s work investigates a difficult issue for capacity law: the adult with anorexia nervosa (anorexia) who refuses feeding treatment. The way the law currently works means that anorexia patients may always be denied the right to refuse treatment, in a way that can be considered cruel and discriminatory. Using a critical analysis of the legal concept of capacity, he will develop an argument as to how an anorexic patient’s capacity should be assessed by the law, incorporating an increased recognition of their rights and interests.

Mr Boyle comments: “I read about a very tragic case involving a woman called Emily. She was an intelligent 27 year old who suffered terrible anorexia. She had been treated for years, but the treatment wasn’t working. She wanted the treatment to stop, but a court told the treating team that they had to treat her against her will, by force if necessary. The reaction to the case was negative, but seemed to ignore the legal situation that allowed it to happen. It inspired me to want to understand more about it. I wanted to develop a legal argument which could actually help someone in Emily’s situation.”

Gold Coast resident Chelsea Gill, PhD Candidate from the UQ Business School (tourism cluster), was the Runner-Up and also a People’s Choice recipient. Her dual accolade for the thesis presentation titled ‘Exploring the role of corporate retreats in restoring directed attention’ was rewarded with a contribution towards her research funds and she will also progress to a Wildcard Competition hosted by the Graduate School.  The winner of the Wildcard competition is offered the opportunity to compete in the UQ 3MT Final. 

“I have an event management background so have always been interested in retreats and the wellbeing of people”, says Mrs Gill.

Mrs Gill’s thesis acknowledges that given the current climate of information overload and competing demands, it can be difficult for employees to focus effectively on work tasks. She argues that focusing attention is critical for employees to be able to competently perform and organisations have a responsibility to restore employee attention. Her research explores the impacts of retreats for religious workers in improving their mental health and social wellbeing, as well as what specific elements of the retreat are most beneficial for participants.

Speaking of her aspirations for the future, Mrs Gill comments “One day I hope to have a retreat centre that provides restorative retreats for religious workers as well as leaders in other industries”.

The People’s Choice category was a three-way tie with Nazila Babakhani, PhD Candidate from the UQ Business School (tourism cluster), from Sherwood also being awarded the prize for her presentation titled ‘Essays on the Usefulness of Psychophysiological methods for sustainable tourism research’.

Ms Babakhani believes “the eyes never lie.”  Her study questions whether tourists pay attention to sustainability information when booking holidays and accommodation. She uses the psychophysiological measure of eye tracking to objectively observe psychological processes.

“Climate change is a big concern and tourism depends on the environment so we need to help protect it” says Ms Babakhani.

A large number of universities around the world now hold the 3MT competition which originated at The University of Queensland. Presentations are judged on comprehension and content as well as engagement and communication.

For further information and to view the BEL Faculty’s 2016 3MT presentations please visit