Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition

3MT (Three Minute Thesis) Founded by the University of Queensland

The Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®) celebrates exciting research conducted by PhD students worldwide. Developed by The University of Queensland, the annual competition is open to all Australian universities.

The competition challenges research students to present a compelling oration on their thesis in just three minutes, using language suitable for an intelligent, but non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one slide, but no other visual resources.


Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone by the date of the first heat, including candidates whose thesis is under submission, are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions.

Graduates are not eligible.

Benefits of participating

The range of benefits include:

  • development of your public speaking, communication and networking skills
  • generation of public and media interest in your research
  • increasing your ability to translate your research into everyday language
  • participation of research training workshops through the Graduate Research Centre
  • having fun and winning prizes.


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description is allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files).
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment).
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum, competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word, but no poems, raps or songs are allowed.
  • 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

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 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?

Previous winners

2016 winners

The VU 3MT Final held on 26 August 2016 saw eight doctoral research candidates battle it out to present their research in a nail-biting 3 minutes.

Mary Woessner from the College of Sport & Exercise Science won the University's final for her presentation: BEET Heart Failure. Mary also won the People’s Choice prize and represented VU at the 3MT Asia Pacific Final at the University of Queensland in September 2016.

Runners up

  • Cara Timpani from College of Health & Biomedicine for her presentation: Metabolic Therapy as a Superhero Treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
  • Ghofran Al-Nasiri from College of Engineering & Science for her presentation: Microencapsulation of Natural Additives in Packaging for Safer and Saved Food.

3MT VU Grand Final competitors

  • Ikechukwu (Anthony) Ike (College of Engineering & Science)
  • Mary Woessner (College of Sport & Exercise Science)
  • Cara Timpani (College of Health & Biomedicine)
  • Sherryl Clark (College of Arts)
  • Luca Oppici (College of Sport & Exercise Science)
  • Alireza Eseaeili (College of Sport & Exercise Science)
  • Sompasong Phommasane (College of Business)
  • Ghofran Al-Nasiri (College of Engineering & Science)

2015 winners

Gabriela Byrnem from the College of Business, won the University’s 3 Minute Thesis final for her presentation: Preventing problem gambling relapse – Let's build a rat park. Gabriela also won the People’s Choice Prize. Gabriela went on to represent Victoria University at the 3MT Trans-Tasman Final at the University of Queensland on 2 October 2015.

Runner up

Michelle Fenwick from the College of Business won the runner-up prize for her presentation: The impact of nurse casualisation on hospital management: A case study approach.

2015 competitors

  • Fateh Ahtesh (College of Health and Biomedicine) – Judges' Choice
  • Ghofran Al-Nasiri (College of Engineering and Science) – Runner-up, heat 1
  • Santino Atem Deng (College of Arts) – Judges' Choice
  • Gabriela Byrne (College of Business) – Winner, heat 1
  • Michelle Fenwick (College of Business) – Judges' Choice
  • Li He (College of Business) – Runner-up, heat 2
  • Gabrielle Lindsay Smith (College of Sport and Exercise Science) – Judges' Choice
  • Laura Stanley (College of Arts) – Judges' Choice
  • Alice Sweeting (College of Sport and Exercise Science) – Judges' Choice
  • Robin Wilson (College of Health and Biomedicine) – Winner, heat 2.

Further information

For further information, contact the Graduate Research Centre on +61 3 9919 4522 or email