Graduate Research School Three Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis

3 minute thesis logo.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. JCU has a proud history of participating in the event.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students, and cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

At JCU, we think it is really important to encourage and showcase the research efforts of our higher degree research (HDR) candidates.

Communicating your research simply and directly in ways that a wide range of non-experts can understand is increasingly understood as being intrinsic to research practice. Successful communication involves a lot more than mere dissemination of results but a thoughtful engagement with potential research users and audiences.

The winner of the 3MT competition's HDR category represents JCU in the Asia-Pacific 3MT final.

Previous 3MT Competition Winners

Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions at all levels, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition. Graduates are not eligible.

Please note: MPhil and pre-confirmation PhD candidates who are active in program are still eligible to participate in the JCU 3MT competition up to College/Division heats but cannot advance to the JCU 3MT Final.

The format of the 2024 JCU 3MT Competition at all levels is to be a live in-person event and all competitors are required to be judged on a live in-person performance.

Up to 10  entrants, with at least one from each college.

AIMS@JCU students are eligible to participate as an entrant via their affiliated college

Each area putting forward participants for the JCU Final may do so by nomination, or by College / Divisional heats.

Even the world’s best public speakers prepare before important presentations. To assist you with your preparations, please attend the 3MT Coaching Sessions presented by Professor Liz Tynan.

  • 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 (e.g. 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.

The format of the 2024 UQ 3MT Competition at all levels is to be a live in-person event and all competitors are required to be judged on a live in-person performance.

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 motivation, background and significance to the research question;
    • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research; and
    • 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; and
    • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention.

The format of the 2024 UQ 3MT Competition at all levels is to be a live in-person event and all competitors are required to be judged on a live in-person performance.

Master of Ceremonies:  TBC

Judge 1:  Cr Jenny Hill AM - Mayor of  the City of Townsville

Judge 2: TBC

Judge 3: TBC

26 July 2024

Deadline to provide the Research Division with your entrant's details:

Email to

30 August 2024

JCU 3MT Final 

Time: 1pm -  3pm

Location: Ed Central Lecture Theatre - Building 134 Room 010, Townsville Campus

Format:  Event with live presentations and judging including People's choice award.  Visualise Your Thesis entries will also be shown.

Event Coordinators: Melissa Hines, Rebecca Shine, Lauretta Grasso (

27 September 2024

Asia-Pacific 3MT Competitor Video Submission Deadline

8 October 2024

  • Asia-Pacific 3MT Semi-Final Showcase
    • Online Showcase published on the 3MT website
  • Asia-Pacific 3MT Final Showcase
    • ​Finalists announced / Online Showcase published on the 3MT website
  • Asia-Pacific 3MT Final
    • ​Video Viewing / Meet the Finalist Q&A / People Choice Vote / Announcement of Winners (Virtual)

To provide just a little incentive, JCU will award the winners with the following prizes:

  • 3MT Winner: $1,000
  • 3MT Runner Up: $500
  • 3MT People’s Choice: $500

The GRS offers coaching sessions to help HDR candidates create the sort of presentation that will make a good impression on 3MT judges. Sessions are conducted by Associate Professor Liz Tynan from the GRS, an experienced 3MT coach. Learn about the particular requirements of the 3MT competition, some of which may move researchers out of their 'comfort zone'. This year, the coaching sessions will be conducted by Zoom, and there is a strict limit of 20 participants per session. The emphasis in these sessions will be on practical advice to achieve a polished and clear presentation.

Presented by Associate Professor Liz Tynan, Co-ordinator GRS Professional Development, Graduate Research School

Thursday 11 July 2024 at 1pm - 3pm AEST via
Wednesday 7 August 2024 at 1pm - 3pm AEST via

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.

Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide.

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 brought an expansion of the Trans-Tasman 3MT competition to include a South-East Asia and North-East Asia. This competition is now called the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition.

College 3MT Competition Dates

Event Coordinator
A/Prof. Louisa Tomas Engel (

Date: TBC

Event Coordinator: Prof Damian Morgan and Donna Caine

Date: Monday 12th August 10.30am – 11.30am.

Event Coordinator: Dr Ylona Chun Tie, Associate Dean, Research Education (

Date: Friday 28 June, 11:30 am - 12:30pm

Event Coordinator: Dr Rebecca Evans & Donna Caine (

Date: Thursday 18th July, 1:00pm-2:00pm

Event Coordinator:

Date: TBC

Event Coordinator: Mohan Jacob (

Date: TBC

Event Coordinator: Dr Denise Dillon and Belinda Lee (

Date: TBC