Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition challenges research higher
degree students to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its
significance in just three minutes in language appropriate to a non-specialist
Why take part?
The 3MT competition will be held on Wednesday 10 May 2017 and is a great opportunity
to focus on the message of your research. It will allow you to consolidate your ideas and crystallise
your research discoveries. Communicating your research to a non-specialist audience will challenge you
to think in a fresh way about your ideas and develop your presentation skills.
Taking part in the competition will help you to:
- improve your public speaking skills
- build your confidence
- share your passion for research
How the competition works
Entrants have three minutes to present their thesis to the panel of judges and
the audience. The judges are academic staff from the University and members of the
wider community. The panel of judges choose the winner and the audience choose an
‘audience’s choice’ winner.
- Judges’ Winner £200.
- Judges’ Runner Up £100.
- Audience’s Choice Winner £100.
- 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 (eg sound and video files) are permitted.
- No additional props (eg costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment)
- Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors who
exceed three minutes are disqualified.
- Presentations are to be spoken word (eg 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.
All Three Minute Thesis competitions are judged by the following criteria:
Comprehension and 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
Engagement and communication
- Did the oration make the audience want to know more? Was the presenter
careful not to trivialise or generalise their research?
- Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
- Did the presenter capture and maintain the 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,
Meet the judges
How to get involved
If you would like to take part, you will need to submit a 300 word summary of your research to
3MT@essex.ac.uk. The deadline for submitting your summary is
Monday 20 March 2017. The most informative and engaging summaries will be
selected and those students will be invited to speak in the University finals. You will be informed of
the outcome by Friday 31 March 2017. If you're shortlisted you will be offered additional
training prior to the competition to help you prepare your presentation.
To be eligible to enter this competition, you need to:
- be a doctoral student
- have had your registration status confirmed as PhD
- have not yet had your viva at the time of the local competition
Watch the 2016 winners
In May 2016, 14 students from across our University were
selected to take part in the competition and shared their enthusiasm and commitment to their research areas.
Katie Groves, Department of Psychology
Katie Groves from Department of Psychology was the judges’ winner. Katie has been researching body image
disturbances and what happens in the brain when you see a body. Her presentation will be entered into
the national online semi-final.
Hasan Tahir, School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
Hasan Tahir from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering was the judges’ runner up. Hasan researches
the internet of things. His area is related to cryptography and how applications are designed for security.
Alexander Wenz, Institute for Social and Economic Research
Alexander Wenz from the Institute for Social and Economic Research was the audiences’ choice winner for his talk on
data quality of mobile surveys. Alex is looking at how completing a survey on a smartphone or tablet may affect
What our winners thought about the competition
We catch up with our three winning research students after they took part in the Three Minute Thesis Competition.
For more information about the competition taking place at the University, please contact 3MT@essex.ac.uk.
3MT® is an academic competition developed by the University of
Queensland, Australia. Its success has led to the establishment of local and
national competitions in several countries.