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 2020 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   

Deadlines for 2021 are as follows:

Deadline for receiving videos: Thursday 16 September

People's Choice opens: Monday 20 September

People's Choice closes: Monday 4 October


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.


2020 Winners:

Overall Winner: Ciaran McGeady, University of Glasgow ‘Listening to Butterflies with Brainwaves’









Runner Up: Bruno Vicari Stefani, University of New South Wales, Sydney ‘Low-cost solar energy with low-cost materials: A tale of three grown up pigs’ 









People's Choice Winner: Luis Guillermo Hernandez Rojas, Tecnológico de Monterrey ‘Decoding of motor information from brain signals’









2019 Winners

Overall Winner: Cody Frear, University of Queensland  'Negative Pressure Wound Therapy in Paediatric Burns; No No or Noo Noo’

Cody Frear, University of Queensland - Winner of the U21 3MT Competition 2019










Runner up: Emma Elliott, University of Glasgow 'Draw me a clock…

Emma Elliott, University of Glasgow - Runner Up










People's Choice Winner: Chidinma Raymond, University of Nottingham 'The Thief with many Faces; Investigating Hepatitis B virus'

Chidinma Raymond, University of Nottingham - People's Choice Winner











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.