Loughborough Doctoral College

Training and events

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Three Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ).

You have three minutes (and a single slide) in which to present a compelling oration on your thesis and its significance. 3MT is not an exercise in trivialising or ‘dumbing-down’ research, but challenges you to consolidate your ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.

 "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein

Three Minute Thesis: 2021 Competition

This year's 3MT will be part of our online Summer Showcase during the week of 21st June 2021 and is open to all Loughborough University and Loughborough University London Doctoral Researchers.  The final itself will be broadcast live, online, via Microsoft Teams. 

To enter the competition, you should submit a recorded entry on Learn by 3pm on Friday 18th June 2021.  Submissions can be made on this Learn page, and you can also watch a recording of the online session “Preparing a Three Minute Thesis Presentation”, that ran on 25th March, for some hints and tips.

There will be prizes for first place, runner up and "People's Choice"; the winner will be entered into the National Three Minute Thesis competition organised by Vitae.

Online Entries 2021


To enter 3MT, you will need to submit a version of your presentation, in the format of a video file (e.g. a .mp4 file), plus a pdf document containing your single, static slide.  These will be used to select which competitors can take part in the live final (exact date and time to be confirmed).

Files must be uploaded to this dedicated Learn module by 3pm on Friday 18th June.

You should upload two files:

A video file of yourself delivering your 3MT presentation

The video file can be recorded by whatever means you prefer, for example the selfie camera on your phone will be sufficient - the recording does not need to be of high quality, however please ensure the audio is clear.   You should be visible for the whole of the presentation and you can't use any extra props or materials - your slide will be combined with the recording later so you should not have a copy of it visible on the screen.  The recording can be longer than 3 minutes, but the duration of spoken content must be no more than 3 minutes; there is a file size limit of 800MB on the Learn site, this should be more than sufficient for a 3 minute recording! The recording should be unedited (i.e. filmed without pausing and without removing or adding any material following filming), although you may trim any excess at the start or end of the recording prior to submission.  

A PDF document of your static slide.

This can be generated in any software you like, but for most people this will be easiest done in MS PowerPoint.  You can use widescreen (16:9) or 4:3 aspect ratio, but it should be in landscape format.  Once you are happy with your slide, go to the "File" menu and select "Save as Adobe PDF", this will generate the necesary file for upload.

By submitting your files here, you are giving permission to the Doctoral College to make public their contents.  Please check with your supervisor prior to including any information that may be commercially sensitive or otherwise inappropriate to share publicly.

Hints and tips:

  • You can practice and film as many times as you like, but remember that energy and enthusiasm can be more important than getting it "technically" correct!
  • Try to imagine you are talking to a group of people rather than to a phone/camera, this will help you engage with your viewers.
  • Keep a separate timer running so that you can keep track of how on-time you are and adjust your delivery accordingly; the best 3MT entries use the whole of the three minutes!
  • Don't fill your slide up with too much information, stick to a few key points at most; try to use pictures that complement your spoken presentation.
  • Have a look at some of the best presentations from the past 6 years on the Vitae 3MT archive.

Rules of the Competition

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, the slide will 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 must be delivered without reference to notes or cue cards.
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage (or, for online entries, from on camera).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.