An 80,000 word PhD thesis would take 9 hours to present.
Your time limit... 3 minutes.

The Three Minute Thesis competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Doctor of Philosophy students. Developed by The University of Queensland, 3MT cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

The competition supports your capacity to effectively explain your research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.


Anyone who is active in a PhD* or MPhil* program (including thesis under submission) will be eligible to participate in 3MT. Graduates are not eligible.

MRes students are welcome to enter the Macquarie competition, but the national eligibility rules prevent them from progressing to the Asia-Pacific event.

* Note: degree must be at least two thirds research (definition drawn from Grant Guidelines 2006 for Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003) and must produce a thesis that is examined externally.

2024 Competition dates

16 July3MT Info Session
Storytelling Your Thesis workshop
(see Training tab for details)

Department/Faculty heats. For more information contact your Faculty Liaison Coordinators

20 AugustFaculties each submit (up to) 3 finalists to MQ 3MT Finals
5 SeptemberLive 3MT presentations
Audience vote for People's Choice Winner
MQ 2024 3MT Winner live announcement!
27 September2024 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT video submission deadline
18 October2024 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition
People's Choice Vote and Winners announced

Prizes for the Macquarie Winners 2024

  • Winner: $1000
  • Second Place: $500
  • Third Place: $250
  • People's Choice Winner: $250

Note: Prize money is to be used for research costs only and is not a cash prize.

Prizes for the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition 2024

  • Winner: $5000 research grant
  • Runner Up: $2000 research grant
  • People's Choice: $1000 research grant

Judging panel

Prof Sakkie Pretorius - DVC Research

Prof Simon Handley - PVC Graduate Research

Prof Sarah Sorial - Associate Dean, Research Training and Performance, Faculty of Arts

The University of Queensland (UQ) has made the decision to host the 2024 Asia-Pacific Three Minute Thesis Competition in a virtual format (video submission).

Competitors have three minutes to give an engaging and dynamic talk on their thesis topic, and its significance, in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience. The talk should engage the audience without reducing the research to entertainment value only. As such, the competition does not trivialise or "dumb-down" research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystallise their research discoveries.

Modifications to the 3MT rules have been made to accommodate the new virtual format.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Competitors can find additional information directly from the Asia-Pacific Competitors Guide website.

Macquarie students participating in the Macquarie competition should download and use the Macquarie Identifying Slide for Competitors [PPT 1,118KB].

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

Comprehension and content - REVISED

  • Presentation provided clear motivation, 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

3-Minute Thesis Info Session

Tuesday 16 July 1:30pm - 2:00pm

To help you prepare your 3MT entry, this info session will cover important competition details including entry requirements, judging criteria, and key dates.

***This workshop will be held in hybrid. Please use the respective registration link based on your preferred mode of attendance:

On campus:


Nb. The 3MT info session will be followed by the Storytelling Your Thesis workshop which will provide more practical information on crafting the content your entry (see details below).

Storytelling Your Thesis workshop

Tuesday 16 July 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Communicating your research to a non-specialist audience is a valuable skill that can help broaden the reach and impact of your research. However, it can be a challenge, distilling the essence of your research into a cohesive story using language that a non-specialist audience can understand.

In this workshop we will discuss key components and considerations when communicating your research to non-specialist audiences, as well as explore the narrative of your own research.

***This workshop will be held in hybrid. Please use the respective registration link based on your preferred mode of attendance:

On campus:


How to win the 3MT

Did you miss last year's "How to win the 3MT" workshop on Zoom? Don't worry, you can access all the materials here!

Delivered by Pitch & Communication guru, Peter Browne and our own Dr Megan Brewer, find out everything you need to know about entering and acing this competition!

3MT Editing video tutorials

  • Video Tutorial 1

    Topics and Timestamps:

    • 02.35 converting Powerpoint slides in jpeg files
    • 04.30 accessing and setting up Kapwing*
    • 06.16 using Kapwing to add slide in top-right format**
    • 14.46 using Kapwing to create "cut-to" format
    • 21.44 vimeo set up
  • Extra notes:
    • *nb that in this example I haven't created an account - one downside would be that you cannot save projects and you will have to do all the steps in one sitting
    • **forgot to mention that you need to download the file once done - see timestamp 18.45 for how that works See Part 2 if you want to learn how to use OpenShot Video editor for the "cut-to" format
  • Video Tutorial 2

    This video covers using OpenShot Video Editor to create your virtual 3MT entry with the "cut-to" slide format. See Part 1 for instructions on how to convert powerpoint slides to jpeg images and vimeo set up

We are excited to announce the 2023 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Semi-Final Showcase! This year's competition showcases the presentations and research of 56 outstanding competitors from universities from across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, including MQ's winner, Frigg Speelman.

Over the next two weeks, two judging panels will review and select 8 finalists from the 56 competitors, to proceed to the 2023 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Final which will be held via live stream, on Wednesday 18 October. Audience registration is now open. Voting for the People's Choice winner will take place during the live final so you'll need to register to take part.

The 8 finalists competing at the Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Final will be revealed on the 3MT website on Monday 9 October. Good luck Frigg! 🤞

On 7 September 2023, we announced the winners of the MQ 3MT competition! We would like to thank our fantastic judges and finalists for their involvement and support. Thank you to our People's Choice voters too - we are so pleased you participated.

Congratulations to our MQ finalists and winners:

3MT Winner

1st Runner-up

2nd Runner-up

People's Choice Winner

Frigg's winning 3MT entry will be submitted to the University of Queensland and included in the 2023 Virtual Asia- Pacific 3MT competition. We wish Frigg the very best of luck as she represents MQ in this exciting competition!

Congratulations to our 2023 MQ 3MT Finalists - view their presentations here

Deepak Chahal (FSE) - Stellar Tantrums: The Evolution of Anger in Stars

Jo DowlingSoka (FOA)  - The Miracles of 626 CE

Connie Henson (FMHHS) - Celebrating Indigenous participation and leadership in digital health

Maksym Mohorian (FSE) - Unveiling Cosmic Alchemy with Stellar Fossils

Melissa Reed (FMHHS) - How do Teachers Learn on Social Media?

Velina Serafimova (MQBS) - Impact of Passionate Leaders

Sadhana Singh (MQBS) - Guardians of Legacy: Exploring Factors Influencing Next-Generation Engagement in Family Firms

Zairul Nurshazana Zainuddin (MQBS) - Modern slavery - the untold story of a wicked problem

Throughout November, each of our 2023 3MT finalists featured in a 5-minute interview on 2SER radio’s show The Daily. Like the 3MT itself, this radio spot is an excellent opportunity for our candidates to hone & demonstrate their research translation & oral communication skills.

The 2SER interviews with our 3MT finalists have been collated here.


Winner of the 2022 Macquarie CompetitionRuby Stephens from the School of Natural Sciences (FSE): How was the ancestor of all flowers pollinated?

Listen to the fantastic radio interviews with 2022 finalists here.


Winner of the 2021 Macquarie CompetitionHamid Yahyaei from the Department of Applied Finance (MQBS): Where does money come from? 


Winner of the 2020 Macquarie CompetitionGeraldine Sullivan from the Department of Molecular Sciences, FSE: The Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance [YouTube video]

Earlier winners