Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition that challenges HDR candidates to describe their research in a language that can be understood by a non-specialist audience, within just three minutes. Throughout the competition, participants develop their presentation and communication skills, honing their ability to explain their research in a brief and engaging manner.
Held annually at universities worldwide, there are over fifty events held across Australia, New Zealand and Asia before the competition culminates in an Asia-Pacific 3MT Final.
2021 3MT competition overview
All entrants must first compete within their respective Academic Element/Group competition. The top competitors from each Group final – alongside competitors selected through the new virtual Wildcard Round – will then advance to the Griffith 3MT Final.
In 2021, the Griffith Final will be held in person (and live-streamed) on Friday 3 September. Finalists will be required to submit video content for judging in August. A judging panel will determine the overall winner and runner-up; and the People's Choice award winner will be determined via an electronic voting process during the Griffith Final. Winners will be announced at the conclusion of this event.
Following the Griffith Final, our overall winner will receive detailed feedback from our judging panel before going on to compete in the 2021 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Final, which is hosted by UQ in October.
The Group Heats/Finals will utilise competitor categories that will enable all research-intensive candidates to compete in the Griffith 3MT competition.
Finalists who progress to the Griffith Final must be active PhD or Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation in an Element/Group Heat. Graduates are not eligible to compete in the 3MT.
Every researcher should know how to present a clear, concise, and engaging description of their thesis or research project. The competition will help you to:
- Promote your research to a diverse audience
- Clarify your argument(s)
- Network with fellow researchers
- Develop a pitch understandable to those outside your field, industry, private or government partners.
2021 Group prizes
- Prize values will be announced shortly
2021 Griffith Final prizes
- Winner: $1,500
- Runner-up: $750
- People's choice: $500
2021 Asia-Pacific 3MT competition prizes
- Presentations are limited to three minutes and competitors exceeding three 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:
- Filmed on the horizontal;
- Filmed on a plain background;
- Filmed from a static position;
- Filmed from one camera angle;
- Contain a 3MT title slide; (download the template here)
- Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
- A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (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 one minute or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
- The three minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
- No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
- Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
- No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
- Submissions via video format (only video link provided to Event Coordinators). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.
- Entries submitted for final adjudication to Wildcard or University Final are to be submitted from the School/ Faculty/Institute 3MT Event Coordinator. Competitors should not submit their videos directly to 3MT .
Please note: 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.
Please note: After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or rerecord and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.
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 and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
- 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?
*Last updated Feburary 2018
3MT training: Get ready to compete
Clare Burns has spent several years interviewing business and finance leaders as she investigates Australia’s growing corporate greed culture. Her 2020 3MT presentation titled ‘Corporate Sustainability: Holding up a mirror to greedy finance culture’ was engaging, well-crafted, accessible and understandable. Clare will now represent Griffith in the upcoming Asia-Pacific 3MT semi finals in September.
2020 3MT FINALISTS
Congratulations to all 2020 3MT competitors, and our finalists. Pictured (left to right): Stanley Du Preez, Clare Burns - 2020 winner, Heather Wolbers, Lorelle Holcroft, Mark Teoh - 2020 people's choice, Phuping Sucharitakul and Olivia Tan. Not pictured: Vimbaishe Chibanga, Dwayne Lawler, Jenny Murfield - 2020 runner-up.
3MT Griffith Final 4 September 2020
View our recorded 2020 3MT final, featuring presentations from 10 PhD finalists.
Former Griffith 3MT winners' presentations
View more finalists' 3MT videos at youtube.com/user/griffithdr.
2019 Griffith 3MT winner Peta Zivec
Peta Zivec won the 2019 3MT Griffith Final with her presentation: Understanding pathways of revegetating abandoned farming lands in a changing climate.
2018 Griffith 3MT winner Simone Howells
Speech Pathologist Simone Howells' research into the individual and family impacts of the swallowing condition dysphagia have led to the launch of a cookbook containing meal recipes for people living with the condition.
2017 Griffith 3MT winner Heidi Walkden
Heidi Walkden took out the grand prize at the 2017 Three Minute Thesis Griffith Final for asking: does breathing kill?
2016 Griffith 3MT winner Susan Chapman
Susan Chapman was the winner of the 2016 Griffith 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Final, taking home $1,000 for her brilliant performance of her thesis 'Arts immersion: an exciting way forward in education.'
2015 Griffith 3MT winner Courtney Williams
Griffith's 2015 winner Courtney Williams shares her experience with competing in the 3MT and how it has benefited her as an early career researcher. Her winning presentation was titled 'Prescribing music for surgery'.
2014 Griffith 3MT winner Leah Coutts
Winner of the 2014 Griffith final and top 10 national finalist of the Three Minute Thesis competition, Leah was a PhD Candidate at the Queensland Conservatorium. Her presentation was titled 'I should be able to play already!'.