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3, 2, 1 Go!

Can you explain why your research is important in 3 minutes?

Entries are open for the Hughes Hall three-minute thesis (3MT) competition, a unique opportunity for research students of all stages to explain the significance of their research to a broad audience, in only 3 minutes.

This popular, fascinating and fun competition is an opportunity to:

  • Improve your presentation and communication skills
  • Gain experience talking to broad audiences
  • Build confidence in expressing your ideas in a compelling way
  • Showcase your work amongst peers, the Hughes Hall community, friends and family

To enter, submit your title and slide and a short abstract (max 100 words) to Claire West, 3MT lead organiser by Monday 13th February 2023 (by 5.00 pm).

The four 2022 winners, from left, Yizhou Yu, Abdulwahab Alshallal, Klara Aliz Start and Nicola Gorringe, and alongside 2022 participants and judges.

Prizes and dates

If the wealth of experience you’ll gain and the opportunity to raise the visibility of your research isn’t enough, there are also prizes to be won! Prizes will be awarded for the winners (PhD and MPhil categories) and for the People’s poll.

  • Register your interest by emailing a title and a short abstract (max 100 words)  – Monday 30th January 2023
  • Submit your title and slide – Monday 6th February 2023 (by 5.00 pm)
  • Optional (online) practice session – Thursday 16th February 2023 (5.00 pm )
  • 3MT Competition (Pavilion Rm) – Monday 27th February 2023 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

Sign up for the 3MT event by providing a title and a short abstract using this google form (click here) by 30th January 2023.

Need help?

We would like this competition to be accessible and enjoyable for all students. If you would like help, support or advice on your presentation or communication skills, Claire West (caw97). To those who apply to present, the optional practice session (via zoom) will enable you to gain feedback from judges (HH senior members) giving you the best possible chance of walking away with a prize at the end of the night.

Further information


This competition is open to ALL students at Hughes Hall.

3MT Judging Criteria

The 3MT is judged on two main areas; comprehension and content, and engagement and communication. Consider the following when preparing your presentation:

Comprehension and Content

  • Does the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Does the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Does the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Is the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes being communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points
  • Spend adequate time on each element of your presentation

Engagement and Communication

  • Make the audience want to know more
  • Be careful not to trivialise or generalise your research
  • Convey enthusiasm for your research
  • Work on having sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance
  • Make sure the PowerPoint slide is clear, legible, and concise


First developed by the University of Queensland, the Three Minute Thesis is a research communication competition that offers research students an opportunity to convey the relevance and importance of their research to a non-specialised audience in three minutes or under. 3MT highlights the importance of communication skills as researchers develop the capacity to effectively engage a non-specialist audience.

The first 3MT was held at the University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 research students competing. As the enthusiasm for this competition grew, the 3MT was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand Universities and from its humble beginnings it is now a global competition with over 200 universities across the world running 3MT competitions, including universities in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Vietnam and many more.

3MT at Hughes Hall

Unlike other universities, the Hughes Hall Three Minute Thesis is open to students of all stages, undergraduate, masters and PhD. The inaugural 3MT at Hughes Hall was held in 2016 and has helped dozens of students take the opportunity to challenge themselves to showcase their research while developing their communication skills to the Hughes Hall community.

Rules and guidance

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted but not slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • Additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are not permitted, nor props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment).
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum (those exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified) and presentations are considered to have started when a presenter starts through movement or speech.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs) and are to commence from the stage.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.