3-minute thesis competition

3-minute thesis competition

3-minute thesis logo3MT Finals

Wednesday 25 September 2019
1.30pm - 3.30pm
Macquarie Theatre

Congratulations to the 2019 Macquarie University Finalists.

Winner of the 2019 Macquarie Competition: Gillian Smith, Faculty of Arts

Gillian also went on to win People's Choice at the 2019 Asia-Pacific Final.

2019 Runner-up: Julien Lubeek, Faculty of Science and Engineering

2019 Third Place: Talia Nardo, Faculty of Human Sciences

2019  People's Choice: Minami Uchida, Faculty of Human Sciences

People’s Choice Minami Uchida, Runner Up Julien Lubeek, First Prize Gillian Smith, 3rd Prize Talia Nardo

Photo by PhD candidate Sepidah Sami

Three Minute Thesis

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition developed by the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, for all HDR Candidates.

The first 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 Research Higher Degree students competing. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Due to its adoption in numerous universities, a multi-national event was developed, and the Inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2010.

In November 2013, the first Universitas 21 (U21) 3MT competition was held with several universities from around the world competing in a virtual competition.

2016 brings an expansion of the Trans-Tasman 3MT competition to include a select number of Asian universities. The competition has now been renamed to the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition. Full details are on the 3MT website.

Macquarie heats are run through the faculties. For more information please contact your faculty HDR Administrators.

Presentation Format

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.

Previous MQ Winners

Selene Petit, Faculty of Human Sciences, Winner of the 2018  Macquarie Competition

2018 Runner-up: Lara McGirr, Faculty of Arts

2018 Third Place: Julien Millasseau, Faculty of Human Sciences

2018 Third Place & People's Choice: Peiyao Li, Faculty of Science & Engineering

Rifaie Tammas, winner of the 2017 Macquarie competition

Kevin McGrath, winner of the 2015 Macquarie competition

Eligibility, Rules and Judging Guidelines

Macquarie University will be following the same eligibility, rules and judging guidelines of the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition 2019, hosted by the University of Queensland. These eligibility, rules and judging guidelines are as follows:


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.

* 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.

MPhil candidates are welcome to enter the MQ competition, but the national eligibility rules prevent them from progressing to the Asia-Pacific event.

Each faculty will be holding heats during the coming months and the 12-15 winners of those heats will compete in the finals to be held on Wednesday 25 September 2019..


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

Judging criteria

  1. Comprehension and content: 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? 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 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?
  2. Engagement and communication: 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? Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance? Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?

Prizes for the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition 2019

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

Prizes for the MQ winners:

  • The Winner is awarded $1000
  • Second Place $500
  • Third Place $250
  • People's Choice Winner $250.

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

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