TEDxGhent PhD contest: take up the challenge!

TEDxGhent PhD contest: take up the challenge!

TEDxGhent PhD contest: take up the challenge!

[guest post by Jan Claes, coordinator PhD contest]


Working on a PhD project is a life changing experience. For 4 to 6 years you are performing research in a pretty narrow field of study. Day after day you are challenged by your supervising professor, by your colleagues, by reviewers of your articles, by your family, by your friends. They all want you to be more correct in your story, and more complete in your answers, and more precise in your words, and easier to understand, and …

The world of a PhD researcher is one of nuances. You have to tailor your talk to your audience: a little less details and more application examples if you talk to your family and a little more specifics and argumentation if you give a talk in the academic world (and something right in the middle for a TED audience).

When I started my PhD, I thought this was all about intellect. Now I know better. A PhD is a quest for proper balance. You need balanced skills in oral and written communication, decision taking, political correctness, personal initiative and perseverance. That is what makes a PhD interesting.

Moreover, most of us are working on innovative and useful projects. We are in one way or another helping to shape the world of the future. We live at the frontier to create the world our kids will live in. Therefore, I believe that many PhD students are the perfect candidate for giving an inspiring TEDx talk.

Need some inspiration? Check last year’s winners:

Ruben Verborgh succeeds in communicating the essence of his PhD to a broad audience :

Or how Goedele De Clerck gave one of the first TEDx talks in sign language:

And see how bio-engineer Michiel Matthijs clarifies his complicated research by linking it to music


We, PhD students, are passionate; we know what we are talking about and we are used to make our story understandable.

That was me, speaking as a PhD student. As a TEDxGhent team member, I believePhD students who succeed in delivering their message and captivating a large audience at the same time deserve a little push in the back. For TEDxGhent, we only want the best speakers and because we like a little competition, we are organizing a second PhD contest this year to select the crème de la crème of UGent’s (associated) PhD students.

Do you think you are up to the this challenge? Do you believe your research can attract a non-academic crowd as well? Are you convinced you can give an engaging talk in English? Yes? Why are you still reading this, you should be making that video right now!

Convince us about a mind-blowing topic and your ultimate and creative presentation skills and win that talk (including professional coaching)!

Find all the details about the contest here




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