Sleep researcher crowned winner as USQ hosts National 5 Minute Research Pitch final

Dr Grace Vincent has been crowned the overall winner of the National 5 Minute Research Pitch (5RP) final held at USQ, for her on point pitch around firefighters and fatigue.
20 Nov 2018

The event, held at USQ Springfield, brought together finalists from universities across the country, to pitch their research ideas in five minutes or less to a judging panel and audience.

Participants took part in one of two groups; Science and Health or Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, with participating universities including CQUniversity (CQU), Charles Sturt University, University of Tasmania (UTAS) and Victoria University.

Dr Vincent, a sleep researcher from the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Sciences at CQU, took out the overall title and was Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Discipline Winner, for her presentation on why firefighters don’t get enough sleep.

Her pitch explored how this impacts their health and safety and most importantly what can be done to minimise the negative impacts of inadequate sleep.

“My research aims to use exercise to get people to be more alert and awake when they are woken up when they can often be quite groggy.

“By using exercise, we’re hoping we can alert people a bit faster so that they can go about their duties across the day safely and reduce their risk of accidents that might be caused by them being too sleepy,” she said.

Dr Vincent said she now hoped to move the research into a field environment to make it more practical and crystallise the idea further.

“I’m now looking at a range of occupations in that high-stress environment, particularly on-call workers such as doctors, nurses and paramedics, who are often woken in the middle of the night to do something really important and reviewing ways to mitigate the adverse impacts of sleep in those types of settings.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Mark Harvey, sat on the judging panel and commended the high level of pitches throughout the day.

“The quality of the presentations this year was outstanding and of particular note was the ability of all the finalists to succinctly describe, within five minutes, the relevance of their work and how it will solve major issues and challenges currently faced by Australians,” Professor Harvey said.

Dr Vincent encouraged fellow researchers to take part in future pitch opportunities and improve their ability to share their work with a wider audience.

“I think it’s really important to be able to communicate science to a large group of people over multiple disciplines. It’s been a fantastic experience learning how to really crystallise the message, step through the logic and take people on that journey with you through the five minutes,” she said.

Emma Eaton from UTAS was named the Science and Health Discipline Winner for her pitch on improving the process of drug development for stroke.

USQ finalists included Dr Ali Mirzaghorbanali and Dr David Steggall.

As the winning university, CQU will now host the 2019 national finals event.

For a full list of results, visit the 2018 5RP website.

women and man smiling
Dr Grace Vincent from the Appleton Institute for Behavioural Sciences at CQUniversity was named the overall winner at the National 5 Minute Research Pitch final by USQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Mark Harvey.