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Three Minute Thesis (3MTⓇ)

Three Minute Thesis (3MTⓇ)

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Why participate in the 3MT?


  • Step outside of your comfort zone. 3MT is a fantastic opportunity to challenge yourself, have fun and win prize money for your research!
  • The ECU Winner will compete at the 2016 Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition on Friday, 30 September 2016 at The University of Queensland.


  • You will receive expert training and step-by-step support from ECU staff to help you to focus on the issues and outcomes of your thesis and communicate your research to new audiences.


  • You can use these transferable skills to share your research with the ECU community, make valuable connections with researchers in other fields, and contribute to improving the research culture at ECU.
  • Taking part in the 3MT competition can generate public and media interest in your research, and may lead to new and exciting opportunities!

Register for the 2016 3MT competition here

I’d recommend the 3MT to everyone. Effective communication is such a vital part of any research, and the whole process was just invaluable in that regard. That goes both ways – it was exciting to hear about other peoples’ research. And it was a great exercise in distilling my own project, and really connecting it to the real world. It was also a great opportunity to challenge myself - to step up and put myself out there as a researcher.

Felicity Higgs, ECU 3MT 2015 Finalist
Master by Research Candidate, School of Education

Judging criteria

Comprehension & Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • 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 & 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?


Participants must be:

Active PhD and 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 are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions at all levels, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition. Graduates are not eligible.

ECU Specific Eligibility:

MBR and pre-confirmation PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who are active are welcome to compete up to and including ECU finals.

For more information, visit the Three Minute Thesis website.

Competition rules

  • 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 (eg. 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.

Competition Prizes

ECU Final Prize Money

  • First Prize: $2000 and an all expenses paid trip to University of Queensland  (UQ) to represent at ECU at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Competition.
  • Runner Up: $1250
  • Third prize: $750
  • People’s Choice award: $500

Asia - Pacific 3MT Prize Money

  • First Prize: $5000 research travel grant
  • Runner Up: $2000 research travel grant
  • People’s Choice: $1000 research travel grant

How to enter

Register via this online form.

If you have any queries about 3MT please contact:

Graduate Research School
Sharon Smart, Project Officer
Phone: +61 8 6304 2802


Graduate Research School
Project Officer
Sharon Smart
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 2802

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