Blog.Aug 04, 2022

Tips for better project presentations

How do you present your research project as convincingly as possible? That is of course a key question for everyone competing to win the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Here are some tips for this year’s finalists ahead of their interviews with the jury, but the tools and tricks are highly useful for anyone.

Ania Andersch (World Water Week)
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Ania Andersch
Senior Manager,
World Water Week and Prizes

Ania Andersch at SIWI has managed the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for many years and knows exactly what the jury of leading water experts is looking for. She recently shared her best tips in a series of webinars with this year’s finalists – here you find her advice and insights.

Which criteria are used by the jury to evaluate the Stockholm Junior Water Prize projects?

The research is assessed based on four criteria: relevance, creative ability, methodology, and subject knowledge. In addition to these criteria, the jury will also consider practical skills and the presentation.

Relevance is crucial, the jury is always looking for how the research can be used – can it for example improve the lives of people or raise awareness of an important issue? Creative ability is another key component, where it is interesting for the jury to see how you present and solve a problem. The methodology is also important, how you move from a well-defined idea to achieving a result. Under subject knowledge you can talk about similar research that has inspired you, no one is expecting you to come up with a completely revolutionary technique. But you do need to show that this particular research is indeed yours, that you for example have carried out measurements, and that is part of demonstrating practical skills.

“In science, you also acknowledge the mistakes you made and the things that turned out to be different compared to what you expected.”

Tip from Ania Andersch, Stockholm Junior Water Prize manager at SIWI

You also mentioned presentation skills, what is most important to think about when presenting the project during the interview?

Remember that you don’t need to talk about every detail of your project. If you are a finalist being interviewed, the jury members will already have read your written presentation. During the interview, you can focus on what you really want to highlight. Though the interview session is scheduled to be 15 minutes, it is enough if you talk about your project for five minutes and then allow 10 for questions.

The jury will do everything to make you relax and enjoy the chat, so there is nothing to worry about. Try to speak slowly and don’t forget to breathe.

What happens if I am interviewed and have technical problems?

No matter how well prepared you are, there is always the risk of technical issues occurring and the jury knows this. In case you run into technical problems you will get extra time so that you do get your allocated 15 minutes with the jury.

What are the most common mistakes people make when they are interviewed?

Many people tend to speak too fast when they are nervous. It is better to talk about fewer things and focus on one main message in your presentation. Another common mistake is to only talk about the things that went well during your project, but in science, you also acknowledge the mistakes you made and the things that turned out to be different compared to what you expected.

What is your best tip for success?

Be yourself! Talk about why you think the topic you have chosen is important and why you care about it. Make your presentation as direct and easy to understand as possible and avoid unnecessarily complicated words. If you are unsure how a word is pronounced or what it means, you will only get nervous. The Stockholm Junior Water Prize interviews should be fun and a great chance to talk about your project with experts in the field.