Three Minute Thesis Competition

Can you tell us about your doctoral research in an inspiring and engaging way, using just one slide, in just 3 minutes?


Deadline for abstracts: Monday 2nd November 2020

This years competition will serve as a practise run for postgraduates wanting to compete in the 2021 national Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition.

We will re-open the national competition early next year and Keele students will be asked to compete during the PGR conference in May 2021 but why not practise, enter this November and get a head start!

The Competition challenges you to present a compelling spoken presentation on your research topic to entertain and inform an academic, but non-specialist audience at this year's Keele Postgraduate Conference. Being able to present your research to an audience who knows little or nothing about your area of study is an important skill that all researchers need to develop. Taking part in the Three Minute Thesis competition will provide you with valuable experience of explaining your research and its significance in an accessible and engaging way. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition developed by the University of Queensland, Australia and its success has led to the establishment of local and national competitions in several countries.

The deadline for entries is Monday 2nd November 2020 by 5.00pm.

To take place at the Keele Postgraduate Conference on Monday 23rd November 2020.

Virtual competition held online via Microsoft Teams.

All current doctoral researchers including Professional Doctorates candidates who have successfully passed their doctoral progression are eligible to enter. You may also enter if your thesis is under submission by the date of your first presentation.

Familiarise yourself with the competition rules and judging criteria and have a look at some 3MT® presentations online. There are lots of examples from competitions in different universities and previous national finalists that can be viewed here.

To take part in the Keele Three Minute Thesis competition please register here. Registration involves submitting a title and abstract (150 words max) about your research that is aimed at a non-specialist audience. This will be included in the conference handbook and also in a special Conference edition of JADE.

The closing date for registration is Monday 2nd November.

The rules and the judging criteria for the 3MT has been established by the University of Queensland and apply across all areas of the competition.

  • 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 files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • 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 adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria 2020

1. Comprehension & 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?

2. 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?

Optional training sessions will be offered by the Academic Development team with ILAS for those entering the 3MT competition who would like guided practice and feedback.

Workshops 2020 to be advised.  Details of last year's workshops are shown below.

• Creating an Academic Poster using PowerPoint Skills for Researchers (1 hour briefing) on 5/7/19
• Creating an Academic Poster using PowerPoint Skills for Researchers (2 hour interactive workshop) on 30/1/19 & 21/3/19
• Researcher Conversations (replaces Communicating 1:2:1 with Confidence) on 7/5/19 in 59 The Covert, Room One
• Dissemination: Aiming for Impact on 7/3/19 in 59 The Covert, Room Nine
• Writing and Presenting Posters on 5/2/19 11.00am - 1.00 pm in the Old Library, Keele Hall
• 3MT Briefings on 12/2/19 2.30 - 4pm in the Sneyd Room, Keele Hall and 13/3/19 10.00 - 11.30am in the Walter Room, Keele Hall

These sessions can be booked through Keele People.

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