Three Minute Thesis Competition

The University of Queensland’s Three Minute Thesis initiative comes to U21.

First developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, the Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT®) challenges research students to communicate the significance of their projects to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes.

Building on the success of the Trans-Tasman competition, a U21 Grand Final is now taking place in October 2013. Each participating member will hold their own internal 3MT competition to select a local winner who will then be put forward for the U21 final, to be judged by an international panel consisting of industry and academic professionals. You can find out more about the panel by downloading the '3MT Judging Panel' pdf at the bottom of this page.

3MT provides research students with the opportunity to develop their academic, presentation, and research communication skills by explaining their research to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.  The local competitions will challenge the students to present face-to-face, and additionally the virtual final will hone skills associated from being filmed for an international audience, receiving international peer review, and gaining skills surrounding the presentation of their research to a wider audience.

Not only will students benefit from this experience, but members have the opportunity to showcase their research and researchers throughout the network, as well as open doors to new collaborations and networks for both researchers and supervisors.  

This inaugural event is an exciting new initiative for the network which has already confirmed inclusion of researchers from 17 universities across nine countries and territories.

3MT Update

Due to such a high standard of entries  the judges have allocated an additional 'Highly Commended' prize to recognise an outstanding runner up:

  • Judges' First Place: Prizewinner will receive a bursary of US$2,500 to visit a U21 university of their choice, to benefit their research or on-going career development.
  • Judges' Highly Commended: Prize US$500
  • People's Choice: Prizewinner will receive US$300.


  • First Place – Jamie Gallagher of University of Glasgow
  • Highly Commended – Nellie Linander of Lund University
  • People’s Choice - Lindsey Brinton of University of Virginia

Judge Beth McMurtrie of The Chronicle of Higher Education said:“Congratulations to all of the participants. A commitment to making their research understandable to a broad audience is evident in all of the entries. The presentations were informative, entertaining and enlightening. It was a real challenge to choose a winner among them.”

The judges wished to make it known how difficult they found the selection process due to the excellent quality of entries, and consequently they would also like to acknowledge Sharon Savage of UNSW Australia for her presentation “Giving Words New Life in Dementia” surrounding her research into how the use of repetition enabled dementia patients to regain their lost vocabulary, and Serbulent Turan of the University of British Columbia for his presentation “Revolt, Revolution and Imagination” exploring patterns of obedience in oppressed people, for their admirable submissions.

Further details about all three prizewinners, including videos of their presentations, can be found via the ‘More information’ button below.

The winners' videos are also available to view on the U21 3MT Vimeo channel. Videos from all 18 finalists will be made available to view on the U21 Vimeo Page by 2014:

View Jamie Gallagher’s acceptance video below:

Dr Gemma Marakas
Researcher Development Manager