USask 3MT® Prelims
The 3MT challenges higher-degree research students to communicate a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just three minutes to an audience of non-specialists. Helping graduate students develop skills in translating their research and its impact for non-specialists is an essential skill for many reasons:
- Funding proposals
- Transitioning into employment
- Generating interest in, awareness of and support for academic research
- Communicating with confidence and clarity to a diverse audience
Grad students also tell us that while they are developing their 3MT talk it helps them unpack research roadblocks, helps to refocus their energy and contributes to finding a revitalized passion for their thesis topic!
In a new format to USask, the 3MT® communication challenge starts with the preliminary virtual competition from March 13-17, 2023. Competitors' videos will be adjudicated by a panel of communication specialists throughout the week. An announcement will be made on March 27th of who is moving forward to the finals.
Meet our Prelim Judges
Research and Communications Coordinator, Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives
Learning Specialist, Graduate Writing Specialist
Manager, Digital Strategy (Strategic Communications)
- 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|
From the Preliminary rounds; the top 20 presentations will be selected to compete for the following prizes at USask's Finals:
- First place - $1000
- Second place - $500
- Third place - $250
- People's Choice - $250
- First place will represent USask among the winners of all Western Canadian competing Universities here at the University of Saskatchewan on May 25, 2023
All competitors must complete these forms and include them with their registration details.
- 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
- Tuesday, April 11, 2023
- 2-5 pm (CST)
- In Person at the
GSA Commons, USask Campus
Meet the 3MT Finals Team
Ryan Walker | Host
Associate Dean, Policy & Programming, College of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies | Professor, Geography & Planning, USask
Alastair MacFadden | Master of Ceremonies
Interim Director, JSGS USask Campus; Director and Executive-in-Residence, JSGS Executive Education
Heather Perrson | Judge
Chief Communications Officer and Associate Vice-President, Strategic Communications
Zsuzsa Papp | Judge
Director, Business Development, Mitacs
Antonia Powell | Judge
USask Alumni, 2022 3MT Western Regional & USask Champion
Tate Cao | Judge
La Borde Chair in Engineering Entrepreneurship & Assistant Professor Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development, USask
Finalist Next Steps
Finalists, the 3MT event team will be reaching out to you shortly after March 25th to provide all the logistical details you are going to need for the finals. Now is your chance to:
- Revise the title of your talk
- Revise your slide
The winner of the People’s Choice Award is up to You! Support USask's graduate students by casting a vote for your favourite presentation – it’s easy.
Ballot will be available April 11th.
Tips & Tricks
2022: Antonia Powell
Tell a Story.
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.
1st Place: Antonia Powell
2nd Place: Gaurav Malik
3rd Place: Tumpa Sarker
Honorable 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