3 Minute Thesis

November 5th

Preliminary Rounds: Virtual

Final Round: TBD

Registration opens 9/23/20 and closes 10/23/20
Participant training: 10/28/20

1st place: $300
2nd place: $150
PC: $100


What is the 3MT?

The 3MT is an important international competition that aims at celebrating research conducted by doctoral and masters students. According to the University of Queensland, founder of the event, the 3MT “cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills”.

Participants have three minutes and a single static slide to effectively explain their research in a language that is appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

2019 Winners

1st: Jacob Blazejewski
2nd: Sagar Patil
PC: Jordan Ewing

2018 Winners

1st: Niranjan Miganakallu
2nd: Stephania Vaglica
PC: Niranjan Miganakallu


Why participate?

Participating in the 3MT can be a way for you to develop important communication and research skills, and to participate in the building of research culture at Michigan Tech. Cash prizes are also available to the top competitors and the people’s choice. In addition the winners of the local 3MT competition are given a chance to represent Michigan Tech at the next level of competition, and potentially even national and international 3MT competitions, which provides an excellent networking and professional development opportunity.


Competition Info

This year’s competition will be held on Wednesday, November 5. Participants will be broken up into heats, and compete head to head. Each heat will be judged by a panel of 3 judges. The winners of these heats will then move on to the finals, where the top 10 will face off. At the end of the finals a winner and runner-up will be selected. There will also be a People’s Choice award for the competitor that was the audience favorite.

The preliminary heats will be held virtually. The number of competitors to move on from each heat will depend on the total number of participants, with an equal number being selected from each heat.


Virtual 3MT 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.

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 re-record and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.


Participant Training

GSG provides training for participants on how to create an effective 3MT presentation. This training will cover how to present your research to a non-technical audience, as well as how to properly frame your research narrative. Participant training will be hosted on October 28th, 2020, from 4.00 to 6.00PM: the first hour will be a workshop on storytelling and creative communication led by Marie Peasley (see bio below), and the second hour will be a panel discussion with the 2019 & 2018 MTU 3MT winners, as well as the 2020 3MT Regional Winners. This is the link to the Zoom meeting.

Marie Peasley, founder of First Position Marketing, will be in charge of the first hour of the training session. Mary has helped several small businesses in the Upper Peninsula thrive through successfully developing and implementing impactful communication strategies. Having over 20 years in diverse marketing experience working with a variety of service lines, she understands how important storytelling has become to building corporate and personal brands. Marie will help you find the story in your data and deliver your findings for optimum engagement and acceptance. She’ll also include tips to improve your virtual presentation skills and engage your audience.

Register Now


Important Dates

  • September 23 – Registration Opens
  • October 23 – Registration Closes
  • October 28 – Participant Training
  • November 5 – 3MT

Who to contact?

If you have any questions about the 3MT Competition, feel free to reach out to the GSG Research Chair, Sarvada Chipkar, at gsg-research@mtu.edu.


The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.