Learning how to communicate science
Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland, which challenges research graduate students to present a compelling oration on their thesis/dissertation topic and its significance in just three minutes while using language appropriate for a “non-specialist” audience.
3MT® will help students prepare an “elevator pitch” for their research, which is useful at professional conferences, presenting at the CSE Student Research Symposium (SRS), in job interviews etc.
All CSE research (MS or Ph.D. track) graduate students are eligible to compete. Students must present on the research that will culminate in either their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. Previous 1st Prize winners of the 3MT competition are not eligible to compete.
1st Prize – $1,500
Runner up – $750
People’s Choice – $500
The competition is divided into a set of preliminary qualifying rounds from which six finalists will be selected to compete in a final live competition.
3MT® Judging and Rules
- A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
- No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
- No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
- Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
- Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
- Presentations are to commence from the stage.
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
COMPREHENSION & CONTENT
- Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
- Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
- Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
- Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
- Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
- Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION
- Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
- Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
- Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
- Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
- Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
- Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?
Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a trademark of The University of Queensland and is used by permission. For additional information on 3MT® visit https://threeminutethesis.uq.edu.au/