For the last few years, Sheffield Hallam has held the 3MT® competition during the SHU Creating Knowledge conference.  As well as winning a prize of £250 towards attending an academic conference of their choice, the winner is put forward as SHU’s entry to the UK national competition. 

Why enter?  

3MT® is an excellent opportunity for doctoral researchers to develop their communication skills.  It is also a unique chance for you to share your research and your passion for it with the broader research community, and raise your profile as a researcher both within and beyond the University.    


All Sheffield Hallam doctoral students who will not have had their viva by the eligibility date are invited to enter (date to be clarified when the 2022 competition is launched).  Only those doctoral students who have passed their Confirmation of Doctorate (RF2 or equivalent) by the date of their first 3MT® presentation will be eligible to proceed to the national competition.  Those earlier on in their doctoral studies are still encouraged to take part in 3MT® as a developmental activity.   

As a guide, the timeline for the 2021 competition is below.  It is anticipated that the 2022 competition will be similar, but this will depend on the opening up of campus and when in-person events re-start

SHU 3MT® Timeline 2021:

  • Competition opens – 5 March 2021 
  • Support 1: ‘What to expect’ – 26 March 2021
  • Expression of interest deadline – 16 April 2021 (proposed title and short abstract) 3MT Expression of Interest form
  • Support 2:  ‘Developing your 3MT® entry’ – 5 May 2021
  • Heat stage video entry deadline – 7 May 2021
  • SHU 3MT® finalists confirmed – 14 May 2021
  • Support 3: ‘Refining your presentation’ – with your 3MT mentor
  • Final stage video entry deadline – 14 June 2021
  • SHU 3MT® final – 22 June 2021 as part of the CK21 conference

We will be holding information sessions in advance of the 16 April entry deadline and subsequent support and guidance on how to develop your presentation and record your video submission.       

Virtual Competition Rules

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Please note: competitors *will not* be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

Please note: After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or rerecord and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.

The Doctoral School Team will add a 3MT title slide and combine your 3MT slide with your submitted video as required – please submit an MP4 recording and a separate slide.

Judging Criteria 

Comprehension and 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? 

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?