Three Minute Thesis Competition

Could you describe your research in just three minutes with one PowerPoint slide?

Why not challenge yourself and practice your public engagement and transferable skills i.e. presenting, speaking in front of the public and communicating complex ideas and theories to a non-specialist audience.

As with the poster competition, your presentation should explain what your research is about and how you plan to carry it out but also why it matters and who it affects. You can view videos of the amazing entrants from the 2021 competition here.

The Competition challenges you to present a compelling spoken presentation on your research topic to entertain and inform an academic, but non-specialist audience. 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.

This year each Faculty we will be running 3MT heats with winners and a runner up put forward to this year’s Keele Postgraduate Conference in June.

The heats are as follows:

Natural Sciences: 3rd May
Health: 4th May
Humanities and Social Sciences: 5th May

Two semi-finalists from the Keele PG Conference on 13 June will be put forward to the KPA Bob Beattie Awards evening later in June (date TBC). The overall winner will be put forward to represent Keele in the national competition, competing against postgraduate researchers from across the UK.

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.

Students interested in competing should contact their Faculty Postgraduate Research Administrator, to apply to their Faculty heat. There is no need to apply to ILAS/KDA as well.

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 2022

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?

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