Dr Aastha Malhotra (third from the left) with fellow 5RP winners Dr Daniel Bucher, Dr Morgan Wallace, Dr Amanda Gardiner, Dr Favil Singh and Dr Noah Riseman.

The Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Sydney played host to the 2015 finals of the Five Minute Research Pitch (5RP) on November 16, where academic researchers had the opportunity to showcase their research to a national audience. Researchers from a number of Australian universities, who participated in the 5PR, were required to deliver a five-minute presentation of their recent research, with the aid of 3 PowerPoint slides.

With the ultimate prize being a total of $7,000 towards the winners’ research, the communication competition for university academics is one that requires concise and interesting presentations that stand out above the rest. This year, The University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Dr Aastha Malhotra was able to win the judges over with her presentation, Empowering Migrant and Refugee Women Entrepreneurs 2.0.

Taking out first prize in the category of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at the national pitch competition was an overwhelming achievement for Dr Malhotra. “My research is around enterprise development, giving migrant and refugee women the skills and know-how to be able to start their own ventures,” she said. “We want to complement some of the existing work being done and build on it by bringing in the aspect of digital innovation that can go beyond brick and mortar business models.”

Eager about the prospects an award like this has given her, Dr Malhotra said she was thrilled with the win and thanked her supporters. “It is the start of a very exciting project and we are looking for opportunities to take it forward,” she said. “Everyone at USQ has been so encouraging. The support made me want to represent the university well and also embrace this even as a great learning opportunity.”

The 5RP competitors included researchers from USQ, ACU, Edith Cowan University, Federation University, Central Queensland University Southern Cross University, and Victoria University.
For more information about research at USQ, visit their website

Words by Jayde Austin
Image by Binbin Liang