Three Minute Thesis Competition 2016 | University of Oxford

Three Minute Thesis Competition 2016

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3 Minutes, 1 Slide…..Your Thesis!

Update: Oxford competition winner and runners-up announced (please see below)

An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present; would you be able to explain yours in just 3 Minutes? The 3MT challenges doctoral candidates to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes. The exercise cultivates your academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition will support your capacity to effectively explain your research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Find out more about the competition:

The Oxford Competition

The 2016 Oxford Competition took place on 14 June. A packed audience heard fascinating research pitches from students from the Humanities, Medical Sciences, MPLS and Social Sciences Divisions. The event was opened by Professor David Pyle, Professor of Earth Sciences, who also judged the competition alongside Tom Calver, Dr Afsie Sabokbar and Dr Nikita Sud.

Tomek Dobrzycki from the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (Medical Sciences Division) has won the Oxford round of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition with his presentation about stem cell development.

The video of Tomek’s talk will now be submitted for the semi-finals of the national competition, which will take place from 11 July. The final will take place at the Vitae Conference in Manchester on 12 September.

Lien Davidson, from the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, part of the Medical Sciences Division, was the runner-up.

Watch videos of the rest of the entrants’ presentations:

Tiffany Harte (MPLS Division):

Yin Yin Lu (Social Sciences Division):

Niels Martens (Humanities Division):

Emily Seward (MPLS Division):

Sam Shearn (Humanities Division):


Prizes were awarded to all 8 of the University competition finalists.

  • 1st prize - £200 
  • Runner up prizes - £100

Timetable for the rest of the competition

Week of 11 July: Online semi-final

12 September: National final (Manchester)

 Three minute thesis

More information


Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland. The exercise challenges PhD students to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. 3MT develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.


The first 3MT was held at The University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 RHD students competing. Enthusiasm for the 3MT concept grew and its widespread implementation by universities has led to the development of an international competition. The strong support for 3MT exists in Australia and New Zealand with 44 institutions coming together to participate in the 2013 Trans-Tasman 3MT Competition. The event also hosted special guests from Fiji and Hong Kong. The inaugural International U21 competition was also launched in 2013. The global reach of the competition can be seen by the extent of participation with universities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Vietnam also hosting local 3MT events.

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the three judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • 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 speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • 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?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, 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 movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.