Lianne Shanley from Trinity College Dublin named as winner of inaugural IUA Three Minute Thesis National Final

Victoria Ward from University of Galway is Runner-Up

Lianne Shanley winner of the 2023 IUA National 3 Minute Thesis Competition

15 November 2023 – Presenting on the characterisation and modulation of the immune response to biomaterials for bone regeneration, the first ever national Three Minute Thesis champion is Lianne Shanley from Trinity College Dublin. Ms Shanley was also awarded the Audience Choice Award, with Victoria Ward from University of Galway named as the runner-up.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) today held its inaugural Three Minute Thesis National Final. Competing for the national prize today were eight PhD Researchers, each the winner in their individual university competitions held throughout the year.

The Three Minute Thesis concept was originally developed by the University of Queensland and has become an event that’s replicated around the globe. The competition supports graduate research students in their development as confident research communicators.

Participants are challenged to present their research in three minutes, using only one slide, to a non-specialist audience. Entrants must distil their niche subjects and intensive research into bite-sized presentations that will inform and entertain the general public.

Today’s competition saw researchers compete from Dublin City University, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Galway, University of Limerick and TU Dublin.

The judging panel scored the competitors on two aspects ‘Comprehension and Content’ and ‘Engagement and Communication’. They decided the overall winner and runner up while the Audience got to choose their favourite also.

The judging panel, chaired by Jim Miley, Director General of IUA included:

  • DR ORLAIGH QUINN – Independent Non-executive Director and former Secretary General at Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
  • PROF PHILIP NOLAN – Director General of Science Foundation Ireland
  • JENNY DARMODY – Editor of Silicon Republic
  • DANNY MCCOY – CEO of Ibec 

Speaking after the event, Chair of the Judging panel and Director General of IUA, Jim Miley said, “The Three Minute Thesis Competition is a fantastic initiative to offer talented researchers a platform to share their research in a way that boosts their confidence and communication skills. Irish universities boast a diverse variety of talented researchers, and we are proud to launch the inaugural Three Minute Thesis competition here to provide our researchers with opportunities for growth and confidence. I’d like to congratulate the winners of today’s competition and all the finalists on participating in the national final. I hope the experience gives each and every one the inspiration to continue to confidentially communicate your research.”

Winner of the competition Lianne Shanley Trinity College Dublin said:“I am thrilled to have won the national final of The Three Minute Thesis. It has been a fantastic experience participating in this competition and taking part has allowed me to think of my research in a new and creative way and of course communicate it in a clear and concise way.”

The 2023 finalists were:

Sergei Katsuba, PhD Researcher at the Sutherland School of Law in University College Dublin.  Sergei’s presentation is “Institutional Discrimination as an Authoritarian Practice: a Case of Russia”

Meabh Kennedy is in her 3rd year as a PhD Researcher at the School of Chemical Sciences in Dublin City University.  Meabh’s presentation is “Little Needles, Big Job: How we Plan to Destroy Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria”

Astrid Dedieu is a PhD Researcher of Marine Ecology at the School of Biological, Environmental and Earth Science at University College Cork.  Astrid’s presentation is “Identifying and mitigating the impacts of offshore windfarms on seabirds breeding in Ireland.”

Bill Calvey is a PhD Researcher with the Hamilton Institute at Maynooth University. Bill’s presentation isStill Feeling Healthy after all these years? The Identification of Health Optimistic and Pessimistic Older Adults.”

Mairéad Gallagher is in her 4th year as a PhD Researcher at the School of Chemical and BioPharmaceutical Sciences at TU Dublin. Mairéad’s presentation isSynthesis of the Metabolites of Common Antibiotics and Investigation of their Role in the Development of Antimicrobial Resistance.”

Patrick Dolan is a PhD Researcher with the School of Education and Health Science at the University of Limerick. Patrick’s presentation is “Thousands of Resources For a Few Dozen Players, Yet Thousands of Players Have No Resources.”

The IUA hope to make this an annual event to celebrate the achievements and talent of Irish university PhD researchers.

A full playback of the event and short videos of the work of the competitors can be found at


For media queries: Erin Fox, Drury. E: M: +353 87 122 5485

Lia O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, Irish Universities Association. E: M: +353 85 714 1414