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

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition developed by the University of Queensland (UQ) to celebrate the exciting research conducted by doctoral candidates. The competition cultivates academic, presentation, and research communication skills whilst increasing a candidates capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.

Three minute thesis logo

ACU 3MT Final 2023

The ACU 3MT Final will be held online on Wednesday 30th August @ 12:00pm where we will announce the winner and runner up.

Past presentations

ACU Winner 

Adrien McCrory
Watch Adrien's presentation

Runner Up and Winner of Peoples' Choice 

Jordan Hinton 
Watch Jordan's presentation


Thae Oo Khaing
Watch Thae Oo's presentation  

Geetanjali Rogers
Watch Geetanjali's presentation

Emily Subara-Zukic
Watch Emily's presentation

Katrina Wilhite
Watch Katrina's presentation

ACU Winner

Geetanjali Basarkod
Watch Geetanjali's presentation

Runner up

Naomi Paine
Watch Naomi's presentation

Winner of Peoples' Choice

Bobby Shamim
Watch Bobby's presentation


Zachary Conway
Watch Zachary's presentation

Mathew Pfeiffer
Watch Mathew's presentation

Christopher Swain
Watch Christopher's presentation

Geoffrey Warman
Watch Geoffrey's presentation

Competition details

Active PhD and Professional Doctorate Research candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under examination) by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions at all levels.

Students enrolled in a Masters program are not eligible to enter the 3MT Competition:

Graduates and graduands are not eligible.

Skills development for research candidates

Participating in 3MT develops academic, presentation and research communication skills, while developing research candidates’ ability to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Building research culture in universities

3MT provides a valuable opportunity for HDR candidates to come together (live or virtually), get to know one another and talk about their research. It also provides a supportive environment in which schools, institutes and universities can provide presentation skills training.

Building external relations for the university

3MT winners may go on to represent their university at national and international 3MT competitions which provides an excellent networking and professional development opportunity. Previous 3MT finalists have benefited from invitations to a variety of other networking events following their participation in the competition.

Winner of the 2014 UQ 3MT Dr Megan Rossi talks about how the 3MT competition helped her career.

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

  • Presentation provided clear 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

View the 3MT Competition Judging Rubric Here

Virtual Competition Rules

  • 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 or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • 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 for the University Final are to be submitted from the ACU 3MT Event Coordinator. Competitors should not submit their videos directly to 3MT.

Please 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.

Please note: After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or rerecord and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.

Please Click Here for the complete 3MT video recording competitor guide (collated by UQ)


You might also like...

Research and Enterprise

At ACU we embrace the full life cycle of research, from knowledge creation to its translation and application towards real world outcomes.

Learn more

Research scholarships

Our postgraduate research scholarships and support schemes can help you achieve your research goals. Find the right one for you.

Learn more

Higher Degree Research

Become an expert in your field by pursuing higher degree research at ACU. There are many ways to achieve your research goal, and here you can learn what's involved in each.

Learn more

HDR partnership opportunities

Explore opportunities to partner with ACU by engaging our research candidates through scholarship, internship or by participating as an Associate Supervisor (End-user).

Learn more

Have a


Our contacts

Have a question for a specific
team? Ask the right person.

View all contacts