Three Minute Thesis Competition Information Session 24/11/17

Are you thinking of entering the 3 Minute Thesis competition?

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an international competition celebrating the exciting research conducted by PhD students. Developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, the competition requires contestants to condense their research into a three minute, one-slide presentation for a non-specialist audience.

This information session will give you the opportunity to find out more about the competition and how you can take part, and will cover:

  • What is the 3 Minute Thesis Competition
  • Who is eligible to take part
  • Why should you take part
  • The rules and judging criteria
  • Competition structure
  • Training available
  • Q&A

There will also be an opportunity to hear from previous winners and finalists

Find out more here



Winners announced in the 5th annual U21 3MT® competition

Congratulations to Euan Doidge who was awarded the Highly commended prize at the Universitas 21 3 Minute Thesis Competition with his presentation ‘WEEE are Golden: metal recovery by solvent extraction’. Euan is a 3rd year PhD student from the School of Chemistry and his presentation described his research on extracting gold from recycled waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), such as mobile phones, which contains 300 times more gold per tonne that naturally occurring rocks and ore. By designing molecules called ‘extractants’ which are specific to gold, Euan uses a solvent extraction technique to separate out gold from other metals in the WEEE, in a process that is far more efficient and environmentally friendly than mining for gold.Carole Morrison, Colin Pulham, Euan Doidge and Jason Love_CLOSE UP

Euan described his experience in taking part in the competition: “The 3MT® competition has been amazing! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the fantastic competitors throughout the various stages of the competition. It’s been a great opportunity to meet other PhD students and the people who support them, as well as learn little chunks of information on novel research across an amazingly diverse range of subjects. I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to present my research in a different and memorable way that can resonate with a wide audience and engage in the discussions that follow.

I am incredibly proud to have represented the university at the 3 Minute Thesis UK and U21 competitions, and delighted to bring the Highly Commended Award home to Edinburgh! Many thanks go to everyone from the School of Chemistry, the Institute for Academic Development, the University and beyond for all your support!”

Professor Jeremy Bradshaw, Assistant Principal Researcher Development, spoke of Euan’s achievement: “I am delighted that Euan has won this prestigious award, in what was a strong field of competitors. As an institution, we really value what benefits 3MT® brings to both the University and the individual.”

First developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, the Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT®) challenges research students to communicate the significance of their projects to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes.

Now in its fifth year, the U21 3MT® competition 2017 pitted the leading presenters from Universitas 21 (U21) member universities against one another. Each participating member held their own internal 3MT® competition to select a local winner who was then put forward for the U21 final.

Find out more here

3 Minute Thesis Competition 2017 – Winners


University competition winner: The winner of the University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis 2017 competition was Euan Doidge from the School of Chemistry with his presentation ‘WEEE are Golden: metal recovery by solvent extraction’ Euan will now go on to represent the University in the UK and Universitas 21 competitions.

Runner Up: the runner up was Issy MacGregor from the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, with her presentation ‘Meiotic Recombination: The Great Genetic Bake Off’

 ‘People’s Choice’: Euan Doidge from the School of Chemistry also won the people’s choice prize with his presentation ‘WEEE are Golden: metal recovery by solvent extraction’

 Congratulations to all the finalists.

Find out more about the competition here


Three Minute Thesis Competition 2017

Are you thinking of entering the Three Minute Thesis Competition but not sure if its for you?

The 5th annual 3 Minute Thesis Competition will take place on the 22nd June 2017. The competition requires doctoral researchers to compete to deliver the best research presentation in just 3 minutes (and one slide).

We have a range of resources and information on our website to help you prepare for the competition, as well as two ‘Competition Preparation’ workshops, running on the 15th and 27th February 2017.  You can also view previous competitions on the University’s YouTube channel.

Find out more about the competition, as well as details on how you can enter, here:


3 Minute Thesis 2016 Competition – Winners

University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis Competition 2016 – Winners

The winner of the 2016 competition is Maddie Long from the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences with her presentation ‘Language and the Brain: The Skye’s the Limit’ Maddie will now go on to represent the University in the UK and Universitas 21 competitions.

Runner Up: the runner up is Priya Hari from the Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, with her presentation ‘Senescence: The Emergency Break on Cancer’

‘People’s Choice’: the people’s choice winner is Edgar Rodríguez Sánchez from the School of Health in Social Sciences with his presentation ‘Understanding Gay Men’s Identities’

Congratulations to all the finalists on a great competition!

The finalists presentations will be available to watch via the IAD webpages shortly:



Three Minute Thesis Final 2016

The University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis Final will take place on Thursday 23rd June 2016.  Nine finalists from the three Colleges will compete for the winning prize of a £2000 travel fund for an international conference. The competition requires doctoral researchers to compete to deliver the best research presentation in just 3 minutes (and one slide). It is based on a concept developed by the University of Queensland which quickly spread across Australia and New Zealand, and has gone global.

This year’s finalists are:Print

Mary Ellen Donnelly –  School of Physics and Astronomy

Alexandru Gheorghiu  – School of Informatics

Priya Hari – Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences

Amelia Howarth –  School of Clinical Sciences

Tomke Kossen-Veenhuis – Edinburgh College of Art

Maddie Long – Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Katie Marwick – Biological and Medical Sciences

Amy Munro-Faure – School of Biological Sciences

Edgar Rodriguez Sanchez –  Health in Social Sciences

You can watch the final live from you own computer here

Find out more about the competition here

Three Minute Thesis: February Training for Tall Tales and Imposters

Guest Blog Post from Iain Davidson: Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Training Consultant

Why should you show your research work in three minutes to a live audience of complete strangers? Are you crazy? Why should you even attend a training course?

All that unfinished research, all those half written papers, all the ideas and experiments you are still working on? No, you are probably not ready.

But we you know you are, and now we want you to show us by stepping up to the stage, taking a deep breath, firing up a wonderful visual PowerPoint slide and telling us what it all means to you, and to society, in just three minutes. It’s as simple as that.

But your ‘imposter syndrome’* is your biggest challenge, not your eager audience.

The ‘imposter syndrome’ is the common belief amongst educated and thoughtful people that they are not ready to show their work and that they have still much to do to become that ideal research scientist, professor, designer or architect. Well, fine, except that day may never come because your ‘imposter’ will keep following and whispering in your ear. Until the time you turn round, face him and call him for what he is…a myth that is holding you back from being the best you can be.

Now we believe that time has come, because we need your vision now, not tomorrow.

The three minute thesis [3MT] competition is a myth busting reality check and a celebration of all your energy, enthusiasm, ideas and vision as a researcher.

In February we will be running two half-day training sessions for anyone who is considering taking on the 3MT challenge and banishing his or her myths for ever!

The two half-day training sessions will be held on Thursday the 18th and 25th February, more details here. PhD researchers from any discipline are encouraged to attend if serious about showing their work in the three-minute format. The training is lively, thought provoking, engaging and a great deal of fun. You should feel empowered to sign up for the challenge and be ready to deliver a three-minute pitch at your School finals sometime in the spring.

Past winners and participants have found taking part in this simple and creative academic sprint competition to be life changing in many different ways. Please read the wonderful blogs by our previous winners Mara, Emma and Chen Zhao for their enthusiasm and inspiration. Warning: entering the competition could change your life.

So don’t let the imposter stop you. Banish the winter blues and sign up for a life enhancing experience with very real personal, academic and career benefits.


More information on 3 Minute Thesis can be found herePrint

3 Minute Thesis Final

Tickets are now available for the University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis Final on 20th June!


If you would like to come along and support the finalists you can register for a free ticket here:

This event will also be live web streamed and details on how you can to this will be on our website nearer the time:

More information on 3 Minute Thesis can be found here:

Also see our blog post from last years People’s Choice Winner! Blog

3 Minute Thesis

Guest Blog Post from Mara Götz the ‘People’s Choice’ winner of the 2013 University of Edinburgh 3 Minute Thesis Final

Why enter the 3 Minute Thesis competition? Why add another thing to do to my already endless list of things to do as a PhD student? Haven’t I given enough papers and talks, and am I not busy enough with my research as it is?
That’s what went through my head, when I first heard about the 3 Minute Thesis competition. But I did enter nonetheless. And I am so very glad I did. Let me tell you what it was like…

Agreeing to do it was easy enough. Then I had a look at the rules and regulations. Phew, they really are serious about the three minutes… And only one slide? No movement on the slide? What am I going to show? What am I going to SAY?!

That was when I realised: 3 minutes, one thesis, one room full of people to entertain who are NOT from your field – much, MUCH harder than any conference I had ever been to. Because at a conference, you share a common frame of reference with your audience. You don’t need to go back to the basics. You can talk about what you specialise in. In the 3 Minute Thesis, you also have to outline and explain the basics of your field BEFORE you can talk about your research focus. But what can and what should you explain in just three short minutes? And then, there is still the small matter of presenting your own research…

So I started to think about my research, and about my field. And I also thought about why I am doing this research. And it really changed the way I saw my field, my own research, and my role as a PhD researcher.
Having made it through School and College heats, which were loads of fun (not to forget the wine reception afterwards!) I found myself suddenly in the University final. Even though it was the first time that the 3 Minute Thesis competition was hosted by the University of Edinburgh, everything was running super smoothly – at least from the perspective of us finalists 

I expected some very fierce competition that day from the other finalists – the competition got us all hooked, everyone was glowing and giving their absolute best, and it felt great! Standing there, speaking freely, the second counter ticking away, all eyes on you, everyone including the other finalists is just as caught up in the excitement than you are. 180 seconds pure adrenalin… The 3 Minute Thesis talk really was the best prepared and practiced talk I’ve ever given. All the preparation, the concentration, and the practice with the other finalists also made me realise a very important thing: A great talk, a convincing speech, a captivating presentation, has nothing to do with luck or sheer talent. It has very little to do with being a gifted speaker, or with being blessed with an exciting topic. A great talk is simply hard work, nothing more and nothing less. It is practice, and more practice, and then some more practice….

Writing a talk that lasted less than 180 seconds made me see my research, my field, and also my own role in a very different light. It made me question once again what makes my field, and my research, special and important enough for me to put myself through the struggle of a PhD… Not only have I found some truly refreshing new answers, but I have also learned bags of new tricks and skills for presenting and talking to audiences. Last but not least, I have also found a couple of great new friends.

The 3 Minute Thesis competition has also opened the doors for some other exciting events in my life, for example myself and another finalist were invited to give a talk for the Postgraduate Induction Day. This was great fun, and another fantastic opportunity to gain speaking experience.

I feel that the 3 Minute Thesis has helped to put me in touch with a lot of very diverse people from all walks of life, some of them in key positions in Higher Education. The competition has also given me a real boost of confidence; I am no longer hesitant to get touch with people on my own initiative. I also think it has been a very important step on what I hope will be my career path. All in all, success across the board! 
Try it, I promise you will be hooked!!!

Videos from the 2013 3MT Final are available here:
Details of the 2014 final can be found here: