U21 Three Minute Thesis Competition

First developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, the Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT®) challenges research students to communicate the significance of their projects to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes.

View the 2019 entries here 

3MT provides research students with the opportunity to develop their academic, presentation, and research communication skills by explaining their research to an intelligent but non-specialist audience. The local competitions will challenge the students to present face-to-face, and additionally the virtual final will hone skills associated from being filmed for an international audience, receiving international peer review, and gaining skills surrounding the presentation of their research to a wider audience.

Not only will students benefit from this experience, but U21 members have the opportunity to showcase their research and researchers throughout the network, as well as open doors to new collaborations and networks for both researchers and supervisors.  

The U21 3MT pits leading presenters from U21 member universities against one another. Each participating member will hold their own internal 3MT competition to select a local winner who will then be put forward for the U21 final, to be judged by an international panel consisting of industry and academic professionals. 


  • 1st Prize US$2,500  
  • Highly Commended US$500  
  • People’s Choice Prize US$1000   

Timeline for 2019:

Friday 20 September: Video submission deadline

Monday 23 September: People’s Choice vote open

Monday 7 October: People’s Choice closes

Monday 14 October: Winners announced


2018 Winner

Jonathan Berengut, UNSW Bio-Nano Robo-Mofos

Jonathan Berengut, UNSW, Bio-Nano Robo-Mofos












2018 Runner Up Phoebe Kirkwood, University of Edinburgh The Secrets of Scarless Healing

Phoebe Kirkwood, The Secrets of Scarless Healing









2018 People's Choice Winner Roshaida Abdul Wahab, University College Dublin The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but The Truth

Roshaida Abdul Wahab, The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth










2017 Winner and Winner of the People's Choice Award

Sammy Ramsey, University of Maryland  'Varroa destructor: The Curious Case of the Bee Mite's Bite'

Sammy Ramsey, Winner of U21's 3MT Competition 2017












2017 Highly Commended Award

Euan Doidge, University of Edinburgh  'WEEE are Golden: metal recovery by solvent extraction'

Euan Doidge, Winner of the Highly Commended award for U21's 3MT 2017












Rules for video submission to U21 final

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • A single static slide is permitted (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 video can be filmed from a live 3MT event or a specific set, but must have only one camera angle filmed from a static position. Zoom in and out from the static position is acceptable.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no edits, breaks etc.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, animated backgrounds) are permitted.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech (timing does not include the student's title slide).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording. 
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
Application deadline

Active Doctoral candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone by the date of their first presentation (including thesis under submission) are eligible to participate in the U21 3MT competition. Graduates are not eligible.