What is 3MT? 

The Three Minute Thesis® is a research communication competition devised by the University of Queensland that is now held in over 900 universities worldwide. It challenges doctoral candidates to present their research topic to a non-specialist audience, giving a compelling presentation explaining their work and its significance – in just three minutes.

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.    

As well as winning a prize of £250 towards attending an academic conference of their choice, the winner is put forward as Sheffield Hallam’s entry to the UK national competition. 

Read this blog post from the 2018 People’s Choice Winner ‘How a competition changed my academic life’.

Read this update from Sheffield Hallam and 3MT® Vitae 2019 National Competition winner Shruti Mandhani on the impact that 3MT has had on her career.  

Watch these short videos where the 2022 Vitae National 3MT® Competition Finalists discuss their experiences of taking part in the competition:

How do I enter?  

To enter the competition, you will need to submit a title and short abstract by 5.00pm on 12 May 2023 via the Expression of Interest form. Initial videos must be submitted for the heat stage by 12.00pm on 19 May 2023, further details on this process will be shared with participants. If you have any questions about taking part, please contact doctoralschool@shu.ac.uk.  

Eligibility 

All Sheffield Hallam doctoral students who will not have had their viva by 19 May 2023 are invited to enter.  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.   

Top Tips for Producing a Winning 3MT®  Presentation

Dr Jamie Gallagher, public engagement expert and former international 3MT® winner, has captured his top tips for producing a winning 3MT presentation in the following four videos. Please click on the images below and log in to Panopto using your usual Sheffield Hallam username and password to access these resources.

Image shows a teal coloured box containing the words 3 minute thesis rules and judging. The image when clicked on contains a hyperlink to a short video which explains more about the rules and judging.

Image shows a teal coloured box containing the words 3 minute thesis content. The image when clicked on contains a hyperlink to a short video which explains more about the content.

Image shows a teal coloured box containing the words 3 minute thesis slide. The image when clicked on contains a hyperlink to a short video which explains more about the slide.

Image shows a teal coloured box containing the words 3 minute thesis engagement. The image when clicked on contains a hyperlink to a short video which explains more about engagement.

What support will I receive? 

Support is available via two development sessions Short Talks, Lasting Impression on Friday 5 May 2023 and an opportunity to practice and receive feedback on your presentation Short Talks, Lasting Impression – Presentation Practice and Feedback on Monday 15 May 2023. Please add yourself to the waitlist for these sessions if spaces are not currently showing as available.  There are also a number of further resources to help with the development of your presentation linked under the Resources section of this page. 

Participants who are shortlisted at heat stage for the Sheffield Hallam 3MT® final will then be matched with a staff mentor who will provide further support and guidance in the lead up to your final video submission on 9 June 2023. 

SHU 3MT® Timeline 2023:

  • Competition opens – Friday 28 April 2023
  • Support 1 – Development session: Short Talks, Lasting Impression Friday 5 May 2023
  • Expression of interest deadline – 5.00pm Friday 12 May 2023 (proposed title and short abstract) 2023  Expression of Interest Form
  • Support 2 – Development session: Short Talks, Lasting Impression – Presentation Practice and Feedback Monday 15 May 2023 
  • Heat stage video entry deadline – 12.00pm Friday 19 May 2023
  • SHU 3MT® finalists confirmed – DATE TBC
  • Support 3: ‘Refining your presentation’ – with your 3MT mentor
  • Final stage video entry deadline – 12.00pm Friday 9 June 2023 
  • SHU 3MT® final will be part of the Postgraduate Research Showcase on Friday 16 June 2023
  • SHU 3MT® finalist’s video submitted to Vitae by Friday 30 June 2023

Resources

Advice and Tips from winners of the 3MT competition on ‘Presenting your research effectively and with confidence’.

Watch the 2022 National Final Performances:

Top Tips for Successful Public Engagement

Links to further advice and guidance on preparing your 3MT Presentation: 3MT Tips 2023

Internal Communications Guide – How to Take a Great Home Video on your Smartphone

The University of Queensland’s 3MT Video Recording Competitor Guide

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;
    • Contain a 3MT title slide;
    • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
  • 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.
  • Submissions via video format (only video link provided to Event Coordinators). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.
  • Entries submitted for final adjudication to Wildcard or University Final are to be submitted from the School/ Faculty/Institute 3MT Event Coordinator. Competitors should not submit their videos directly to 3MT.

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.

Live 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 (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 

Comprehension and content

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question
  • Presentation provided clear positionality of the presenter to the research and research approach
  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research
  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research

Engagement and communication

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience
  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation
  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention