The 3MT® is a professional and highly engaging international competition that challenges PhD candidates to present their research in appropriate language to an intelligent but non-specialist audience in the space of three minutes. In 2021, the competition ran as a virtual format with participants presenting their talk via a pre-recorded video submission.
The competition is based on the premise that the capacity to present a clear, concise and engaging description of their research is an essential skill that all graduate researchers should develop. It also brings our graduate research community together in a spirited and research-focused activity, inspiring them to share their findings with the wider community.
Who can participate
Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates of the University of Melbourne who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the closing date of the video submissions are eligible to participate in 3MT® competitions at all levels, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition.
Graduates, Professional Doctorate (coursework), and Masters (both coursework and MPhil) students are not eligible to compete.
Benefits of participating
- Learn to communicate your research well.
- Build confidence and improve your public speaking skills.
- Demystify your research in the eyes of the University community and the general public.
- Network and make friends with other graduate researchers.
- Begin building your public profile.
- Communicate your research through print, radio and video media.
- It’s a lot of fun and generates interest in what you're doing.
Grand Final Prizes
Winner: $4,000 grant and the opportunity to represent the University in the virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition hosted by The University of Queensland. The winner will also be awarded the perpetual McPhee Cup.
Runner Up: $2,000 grant.
People’s Choice: $1,000 grant.
Each participant will present their topic using a single, static PowerPoint slide (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description) from the beginning of the oration to the end. Each presentation is limited to three minutes maximum and those who exceed this limit will be disqualified.
Read the competition rules and judging criteria below and watch videos of previous finalists in our Video Archive for further reference.
- Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
- Videos must meet the following criteria:
- A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description. This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute.
- The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
- No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
- No props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animate backgrounds) are permitted.
- Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
- Submissions via video format (only Vimeo link provided to Event Coordinators). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.
- Decisions of the adjudicating panel is final.
Filmed on the horizontal
Filmed on a plain background
Filmed from a static position
Filmed from one camera angle
Contain a 3MT title/cover slide
Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
Competitors will not be judged on video/recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.
After each competition round, competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or re-record and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.
At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the two judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.
Comprehension and content
- Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
- Did the presentation clearly describe the impact, results and/or conclusions of the research (intended or actual)
- Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
- Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
- 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 trivialise or generalise 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?
Confidentiality and intellectual property guidelines
- The 3MT® presentation must represent the original research of the competitor.
- The authors of the 3MT® presentation will retain all rights regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition except as stated below.
- Due to the nature of the competition, judges, reviewers, staff or the audience will not be asked to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.
- All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include the Internet.
- Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions. This means, if your research includes commercial-in-confidence or culturally sensitive material you should think very carefully about how you can present this information. We advise that you discuss your competition entry with the party/ies before entering the 3MT® competition.
- Melbourne CSHE, University of Melbourne and the Three Minute Thesis Competition may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations or material prepared for use in presentation at the 3MT® competition.
- The University may use the materials in any book or other printed materials and any videotape or other medium that it may produce, provided that any profits earned from the sale of such items is used by the University solely to defray the costs of future Competitions.
Information on the 2022 competition will be made available in early 2022.
Please contact Myron Yovannidis, Program Officer, with any questions.
2021 University of Melbourne 3MT® Grand Final
WINNER: Cassie McDonald 'More than a place to wait: Untapped potential of hospital waiting areas'
RUNNER UP: Catriona Nguyen-Robertson 'A handshake to shake off tuberculosis'
PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Mikhail Dias ‘Jurassic Tumour: The lost gene'
2020 University of Melbourne 3MT® Grand Final
WINNER AND PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Carmen Glanville 'Transforming lives: Pets and people'
RUNNER UP: Ashton Dickerson 'Bright light, restless nights?'
2019 University of Melbourne 3MT® Grand Final
WINNER: Alexis Ceecee Zhang 'An unnerving problem: a fishy solution'
RUNNER UP: Therese Fazio Coles 'A gut full: Obesity and the gut'
PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Felipe Martelli ‘Who took my buzz?'
2018 University of Melbourne 3MT® Grand Final
WINNER: Wing Yan Chan 'The future of our coral reefs?'
RUNNER UP: Marnie Graco 'Sleep apnoea in quadriplegia: the hidden epidemic with an impossible test.'
PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Chinchu Mohan ‘How much are we eating up our water resources?’
2017 University of Melbourne 3MT® Grand Final
WINNER: Jessica Tang 'Keeping a better eye on Glaucoma.'
RUNNER UP: Solange Glasser 'More than meets the ear.'
PEOPLE'S CHOICE: MengJie Hu ‘Let babies breathe.'
2016 University of Melbourne 3MT® Grand Final
WINNER: Nathaniel Swain 'Teenage crime. Making sense of it.'
RUNNER UP: Anne Aulsebrook 'Shining a light on swan sleep.'
PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Ting Ting Lee ‘Astrocyte: Decoding the Autism brain.'
2015 University of Melbourne 3MT® Grand Final
WINNER: Eamonn Fahy 'Catching the silent thief of sight.'
RUNNER UP: Kerryn Moore 'Born too soon.'
PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Rebecca Vandegeer ‘Healthy wheat for a growing world.'