The first 3MT® took place in 2008 at the University of Queensland, Australia, and has since grown to become an international academic competition. Since 2011 the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 200 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.
For nearly ten years, the Graduate Student Association, sponsored in part by the College of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, hosted USask’s 3MT® competition every spring. The 3MT® communication competition challenges students to translate their research and its impact to an audience of non-specialists in just 3 minutes using only one static slide. This competition helps graduate students develop essential communication skills which are transferable for many purposes:
- Funding proposals
- Transitioning into employment
- Generating interest in, awareness of and support for academic research
- Communicating with confidence and clarity to diverse audiences
This spring (2023) the College of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies assumed responsibility for USask’s 3MT allowing the GSA to focus on its advocacy of its members in pursuit of a safe, supportive, respectful, accessible, and inclusive community that fosters the multi-faceted roles played by graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan. Visit #GSA for more information.
2024 Competition Dates
Virtual Preliminaries 2024 Tuesday, March 26
In-Person Finals 2024 Thursday, April 11
Do you want your research to change the world?
To lead to a postdoc or an industry job?
To be reported in the news?
Or just to be understood by your family?
Try explaining it in 3 minutes!
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is an
excellent way to sharpen your focus on your
research topic and its significance, get a wider
audience for your work and build presentation skills,
particularly for communicating your research beyond
your own discipline, with industry partners,
funding bodies, the media and employers.
Tell Your Research
Engage your audience with more than just facts and figures. “Not one, but all of my professors would reiterate the importance of telling a clear story, whether it is for a term paper, an elevator pitch, a brief talk, or presenting your work,” says Powell.
Regardless of who you’re talking to, they can understand your research better if they can follow along with the journey of how you got there. Give this tip a try with your own research by creating a clear outline of a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Take Advantage of Resources
When it comes to communication, there’s always room for improvement. Powell’s advice? “I would suggest to any student looking to improve their presentation and communication skills to make use of the resources available at the university.”
USask offers resources for grad students through the University Library, Career Services, the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning, and even the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ own Grad Hub.
Practice Practice Practice
The key to improving any skill is to simply do it more often. Powell suggests reaching out to new audiences and always looking for opportunities to present your research, “Listen and learn techniques of what to do and what not to do from others who are great presenters.”
Practice telling your story to friends, family, lab mates, and colleagues. Consider presenting your research at local competitions hosted by your college or the GSA. Keep an eye out for upcoming conferences and seminars by following on social media, like on the CGPS Twitter and Facebook pages.
That’s how many words are in a typical PhD thesis. Years of gruelling research, sleepless nights, and history-making breakthroughs. Presenting something of this scale would take approximately nine hours. 3MT competitors do it in 3 minutes.
- A student whose thesis is under submission on the date of their first competition is still eligible to complete
- Presenters must register for the event and be able to present in person
- One single static PowerPoint slide is permitted
- No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are permitted
- Your slide is to be presented from the beginning of your oration
- No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted
- Less is more: text and complicated graphics can distract your audience – you don’t want them to read your slide instead of listening to your talk
- Personal touches: personal touches can allow your audience to understand the impact of your research
- Creativity drives interest: do not rely on your slide to convey your message – it should simply complement your oration
- Work your message: think about how your slide might be able to assist with the format and delivery of your presentation – is there a metaphor that helps explain your research?
- An engaging visual presentation can make or break any oration, so make sure your slide is legible, clear and concise.
- Presenters are allowed a single PowerPoint slide; no slide transitions, no animations or movement' of any kind, the slide is presented from the beginning and for the duration of the presentation.
- No additional electronic media (ex: sound or video files) are permitted.
- No additional props (ex: costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
- Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum; presentations running over 3 minutes will be disqualified.
- Presentations are limited to spoken word (ex: no poems, raps, or songs).
- Presentations are to commence from the stage (ex: no dramatic entrances).
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when the presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
The competitors will be judged based on two criteria:
|Comprehension and Content||Engagement and Communication|
- First place - $1000
- Second place - $750
- Third place - $500
- People's Choice - $250
- Simon Clews (University of Melbourne) has prepared a helpful guide on preparing for the Three Minute Thesis Competition
- Jackie Amsden (Simon Fraser University) discusses how narrative frameworks can help grad students effectively tell their research story
- Matt Abrahams (Stanford University) provides Tips and Techniques for More Confident and Compelling Presentations
- Matt Abrahams (Stanford University) podcast Think Fast, Talk Smart: advice for impromptu speaking
- Anett Grant (Executive Speaking) addresses Six Pieces of Bad Speaking Advice That Just Won’t Die
- Inger Mewburn (RMIT University) developed How to Talk About Your Thesis in 3 Minutes
- Henry Miller (UT Health San Antonio) shares 11 Tips For The 3 Minute Thesis Competition
- At the high point, the 3MT Finals event page had 2.3K views and an event count (scrolls) on the page of 7.2K.
- The People’s Choice voting had over 2000 active hits with more than 919 actual votes placed from unique IP addresses.
- The live stream captured ~ 508 active watchers from across the globe. The heatmap below is a snapshot of where folks tuned in from.
1st Place: Antonia Powell
2nd Place: Gaurav Malik
3rd Place: Tumpa Sarker
Honourable Mention: Kaylie Krys
1st Place: Ahmad Karimi
2nd Place: Kayla Cropper
3rd Place: Alivia Mukherjee
Honourable Mention: Ninu Kallingal Mohandas
1st Place: Shaunti Bergen
2nd Place: Farzad Dehghan
3rd Place: Christopher Mahadeo
Honourable Mention: Edgar Martinez-Soberanes
1st Place: Farzad Dehghan
2nd Place: Miranda Zwiefelhofer
3rd Place: Nicholas A. Belliveau
People’s Choice: Miranda Zwiefelhofer
Honourable Mention: Alivia Mukherjee
1st Place: Roland Macana
2nd Place: Sajna Simon
3rd Place: Adesola Olufade