On April 12, 2016, Giovanni Pagliardi (PhD student at ESSEC Business School) was awarded the first prize of the public for the Comue Paris-Seine at the French national contest “My thesis in 180 seconds”. This contest is organized once per year by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and is open to all PhD students in France across all disciplines: it aims at spreading research conducted by PhDs in French institutions to the general public.
Four candidates have been selected to participate to the final for the Comue Paris-Seine: Giovanni, PhD candidate in Finance at ESSEC Business School Paris, two engineers and a chemist. They were assigned 3 minutes each to explain their research topics and findings to the general public and to a jury comprising academics and journalists who were however not in their fields. Each of the finalists was allowed to make use of one and only one slide: any teaching material or presentation tool had been forbidden.
The assessment of the finalists hinged on 3 main criteria. First, oratorical talent and skills in public speaking. Second, how impactful the research is for the whole society and how the candidate is able to convey the message concerning this relevance to the general public. Last but not least, the ability to explain in a concise and simple way technical topics without losing the intellectual value of the research ideas and their applications to everyday life.
This final has represented a wonderful moment both for the candidates and the public. On the one hand, the public could listen to very different topics and learn about the new findings put forward by the young researchers. In particular, they could realize how important research is and how the latter can be useful to address and try to solve some problems that impact our everyday life. This final has once more underscored that research can serve the whole society and that new advancements can indeed improve the quality of life for all people.
On the other hand, the finalists had the opportunity to spread their research to a large audience. In addition, they benefited from several collective and individual training sessions with a specialized Professor who helped them improve their skills regarding the aforementioned evaluation criteria: stage presence, oratorical qualities, conciseness, ability to synthesize information and ability to effectively convey technical topics to people who are not necessarily expert in that particular field.
After all the presentations, the public has been asked to vote for one candidate. Giovanni received the highest number of votes and was therefore awarded the first prize of the public for his presentation of the joint paper with Prof. François Longin about the tail return-volume relationship in the US stock market.
After the final, a buffet was offered to all the participants: this was also a very useful and enjoyable moment to share ideas, comments, feedbacks and for networking. This contest has once more highlighted the relevance of research for the whole society and how impactful it can be for our everyday life.