Three Minute Thesis heats

Published: Wednesday 9th July 2014

The heat is on for ACU's PhD students this week as they compete in the initial campus-based rounds of the Three Minute Thesis competition.

Usually, an 80,000 word thesis would take nine hours to present. However, in 3MT students have just three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

The initial heats are held at the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane campuses. The top five or six presenters from all the heats will go on to compete in the ACU final in Melbourne on Wednesday 6 August.

The winner of the ACU final will compete in the 2014 Trans-Tasman finals at the University of Western Australia in November.

According to Dean of Research, Professor Patrick Heaven, 3MT is a valuable exercise in developing academic and research communication skills.

"It is not an exercise in trivialising or 'dumbing-down' research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystallise their research discoveries," he said.

The first 3MT was held at the University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 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.

3MT competitions are now held in at least 170 universities across more than 17 countries worldwide.

ACU has held a 3MT competition since 2010. Last year's winner, Kimberly Mercuri, impressed the judges with her thesis on Seeing into Future Thinking in long term illicit drug users. 

Kimberly said that she would encourage other PhD students to enter the competition.

"At times, it can feel like you are the only one interested in your research topic. The positive feedback from the audience at the 3MT was incredibly overwhelming; and winning took this feeling to another level," she said.