Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition challenges research higher degree students to present a compelling oration on their thesis, and its significance, in just three minutes in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

The 2022 3MT competition will be held on campus and is a great opportunity to focus on the message of your research. It will allow you to consolidate your ideas and crystallise your research discoveries. Communicating your research to a non-specialist audience will challenge you to think in a fresh way about your ideas and develop your presentation skills.

Taking part in the competition will help you to:

  • improve your public speaking skills
  • build your confidence
  • share your passion for research

How the competition works

Entrants have three minutes to record themselves presenting their thesis. The video is then uploaded to Vimeo and submitted to the 3MT Team. The video submissions are then reviewed by a panel of judges at our live in-person event on 23 May 2022 in EBS 2.2. The judges are academic and professional services staff from the University. The panel of judges choose the winner and the runner-up. The live event will be also be attended by an in-person and virtual audience who will be able to vote for their favourite video. The video with most votes will be the ‘audience’s choice’ winner.


  • Judges' Winner £200
  • Judges' Runner-Up £100
  • Audience's Choice Winner £100

The winner, runner-up and audience choice winner will be invited to showcase their presentations at the PGR Celebration Event on 31 May 2022.


  • Presentations are limited to three minutes and competitors exceeding three 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 with 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 one minute or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • The three minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment or animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • 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 on a Vimeo link. 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 rerecord and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.

How to enter

If you would like to take part, you will need to submit your video entry Vimeo link to by Monday 2 May 2022. Please see the 3MT virtual competitor guidance for tips and information on how to film and submit your entry.

If you can't enter the competition but are interested and would like to support our competitors, you are welcome to join us for the live judging on campus in EBS 2.2 on Monday 23 May 2022 or join us virtually on Zoom. The competition offers a fascinating insight into the wonderful variety of research projects undertaken at Essex by our doctoral students. The video which received the largest number of audience votes will be the Audience Choice winner.


A training session has been organised for Thursday 14th April, 1.30pm to approx. 3pm via Zoom. This session will give you an opportunity to ask questions and to discuss what you are planning to include in your three minute presentation. Advice will be given on content, delivery and the recording aspects by colleagues in Organisational Development. To register for the training and receive the Zoom link please email


To be eligible to enter this competition, you need to:

  • be a doctoral student
  • have had your registration status confirmed as PhD
  • have not yet had your viva at the time of the local competition

Judging criteria

Comprehension and content

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question
  • 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

2021 Judges’ Winner

In May 2021, nine students from across our University were selected to take part in the competition and shared their enthusiasm and commitment to their research areas. The winner of the competition was Maria Magliulo, from the School of Life Sciences, with her presentation entitled Through salt crystals to Mars: Salt-loving microbes and their secret to immortality.

Further information

For more information about the competition, please email

3MT® is an academic competition developed by the University of Queensland, Australia. Its success has led to the establishment of local and national competitions in several countries.

Get in touch
Telephone: 01206 872835 / 01206 873077