Apply to Be a Contestant at the Three Minute Thesis Competition
Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.
In higher education, we go to great lengths to become experts in our chosen fields. These lengths include a combination of extensive research, scholarship, and experience. At times, it can be easy to get too deep into the jargon and minutia of our fields; these details are often lost on a lay audience that does not specialize in the subject. Being able to translate our knowledge or research to a non-specialist audience and not have its importance be lost in the process is essential. The Graduate School’s annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is your opportunity to hone these skills and showcase your research to a wide audience.
3MT was born out of Australia’s University of Queensland in 2008 from the idea that experts in a given field should be able to translate their work to any audience in a concise, engaging manner. Since then, it has spread to many academic institutions across the globe, challenging scholars everywhere to rethink how they present their research.
The 3MT competition challenges students to summarize their research or scholarship for a non-specialist audience using only three minutes of speech and a single PowerPoint slide. The ability to do so will not only benefit you in the 3MT competition, but in many other aspects of your professional development. Effective communication will help you succeed in job interviews and obtain funding for further research; it can also enable you to expertly explain your work to family members and friends who never seem to fully understand exactly what it is you do.
The first place winner of the Graduate School’s 3MT competition will receive $1,000. Second and third place will win $600 and $400, respectively. Visit the About 3MT webpage to learn more about the rules and expectations of the competition.
In order to help you prepare you for UC’s 3MT competition, The Graduate School will be hosting a workshop that will detail best practices for communicating your topic to anyone: “Making Your Research Resonate with any Audience.” While participation in the workshop is not required to compete in 3MT, the topics covered will be sure to enhance any preparation you do for the competition. The workshop will teach you how to convey your research in a way that is informative and engaging without trivializing or oversimplifying it. It will take place on Thursday November 12, 2020 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. RSVP for the workshop at the registration form.
The 3MT competition is a great opportunity for you to showcase the outstanding work you have completed in your graduate career. The event will be sure to a draw a large crowd who is eager to see the great things being accomplished by you and your peers. Students from all disciplines are invited to apply to present in the 3MT competition. In order to be considered eligible you must:
- Be enrolled as a master’s or doctoral student during the 2020-21 academic year
- Create a 30 second video which briefly explains why your research makes a significant contribution to your discipline
- This video will be reviewed by a selection committee for its ability to communicate your research (not the production quality of the video)
- For ideas on how to structure your video, view this video from the CIRM Elevator Pitch Challenge (medicine) or this excerpt from The University of Manchester's PhD Elevator Pitch Presentation (humanities) or this excerpt from the 30-second research presentations at AXA ResearchFundLive’s 2013 Pop Days (sciences).
Applications can be directed to the Three Minute Thesis Application form via The Graduate School website. The deadline for your application to be considered is Sunday, December 6th by 11:59 p.m.
The Graduate School’s 3MT competition will take place starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 18, 2021 either online or at an Uptown Campus location, as appropriate.