What is the point of being able to explain a doctoral thesis in three minutes?
Fernando Gascón Inchausti, director of the Doctoral School of the Complutense University of Madrid (EDUCM), is clear: “Submitting to the judgment of third parties is gained ground and increases the quality of doctoral training and the final result of the thesis”. This is what he said before starting the preliminary phase of this sixth edition of the “Thesis in 3 minutes” contest, which was held on May 19 at the Faculty of Information Sciences. Víctor Briones, Vice-Rector for Studies, recalled that this is a preliminary phase, in which the representatives of the Complutense are chosen, who in June will compete with doctoral students from the universities of Alcalá, Autónoma de Madrid, Politécnica and Rey Juan Carlos.
Víctor Briones recognizes that the greatest difficulty of this challenge is to summarize a long work, already done or to be done, in three minutes, which are exclusive, so “whoever exceeds that time is out”, something that has not happened in this edition. The vice-chancellor considers that this synthesis work is very valuable, especially because of “the enormous concentration of talent” that has been gathered in this conference room.
Before the student Elena Varea (chosen by random draw) opened the contest, with her thesis on myths in Psychology, the director of the EDUCM, informed that in our university there are more than 6,000 doctoral students and that the participants in this contest are “a few brave ones, 61 in particular, who have decided to leave their world of the thesis to share it with others”.
The jury of the competition was made up of Alejandro Iglesias, Vice Dean of Dentistry; Lola Herrero, Vice Dean of Geography and History; Fernando Gascón himself; Dimitrina Jivkova, Vice Dean of Information Sciences; David Carabantes, advisor to the Vice Dean for Quality; Rafael Fernández, Vice Dean of Economics and Business Studies, and David Montes, of Physical Sciences. Eduardo García Sanz, from the Doctoral Service, was in charge of resetting the clock before each of the doctoral students’ interventions.
The jury decided to select Sergio Bravo Sánchez, in the area of Arts and Humanities, for his thesis on the Empress Isabella of Portugal, which shows that women in the 16th century were “integrated into the political dynamics of the time”; Daniela Arias Molinares, in the area of Social and Legal Sciences, for her dynamic analysis of mobility as a service based on big data; to Laura Hernández Lorenzo, as representative of Sciences and Engineering, for the presentation of the thesis on the development of deep learning techniques and strategies in the diagnosis and progression of neurological diseases, and to Miguel Ángel Olivencia Plaza, in the area of Health Sciences, for his thesis on vitamin D deficiency as a predisposing factor in pulmonary hypertension and erectile dysfunction.
Four runners-up prizes were also awarded for “significant merit” to José Manuel Teira Alcaraz (Arts and Humanities), Juan Antonio Guevara Gil (Social and Legal Sciences), Pablo Cayetano Forjanes Pérez (Sciences and Engineering) and Carolina Muñoz Pérez (Health Sciences). The winners of the UCM preliminary phase now move on to the final phase in which five prizes of 500 euros will be awarded, one for each branch of knowledge, and prizes of 100 euros will be awarded to the rest of the contestants who were finalists in the preliminary phase.