3 Minute Thesis Competition

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Three Minute Thesis is a competition started by the University of Queensland in Australia.  The concept of the competition is to have masters and Ph-D level students present their research to a non-academic audience in a concise way, while still retaining the academic importance of their topic.  Competitors are judged based on innovation in research, ability to present their topics in everyday language, and their adherence to time.

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) is permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualifed.
  • 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 judging panel is final.
  • Research papers, projects, and theses are accepted, even if research is not completed at time of competition (this will be communicated to judges).

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below.  Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

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?
  • Were 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 and 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?

Prizes

Winner: $500

1st Runner Up: $300

2nd Runner Up: $200

People's Choice: $300

People's Choice: Following the presentations, the audience will be asked to vote on the most convincing 3MT presentation (based on their understanding of the criteria outlined above).   A finalist can be the winner or runner-up and still receive the People’s Choice award.

View the March 7, 2018 event