Three Minute Thesis Competition

Announcing our Inaugural 3MT® Competition at CRWAD 2024!

One of the most critical skills that all researchers need to master is effective scientific communication.  Afterall, can your research truly have impact if people don’t understand it? 

Graduate Students:

  • Are you willing to test yourself in an ultimate challenge in research communication?
  • Can you convey the essence and importance of your hard work and an 80,000 word thesis in just three minutes?
  • Do you want to join in the excitement of competing with other graduate students for up to $2,000 in prizes?

Then join the inaugural CRWAD Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition!

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed in 2008 by the University of Queensland in Australia. Today, 3MT® competitions are held annually in over 900 universities across more than 85 countries.

3MT® competitions help graduate students develop and showcase their research communication skills by challenging them to present their thesis or dissertation as a compelling story in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes, with one slide, without any props or gimmicks.  This is the ultimate challenge of “elevator talks” for graduate students!


The 3MT® competition at CRWAD 2024 will be limited to 20 presenters. Students are eligible to participate if they are registered attendees of CRWAD and are currently enrolled in a thesis, dissertation, or other culminating research program at the time of the compe11on (January 20, 2024). Graduates and students that have successfully completed their final thesis/dissertation defense are not eligible to participate. A highly competitive candidate should have a well-conceived research program, a novel and compelling story about its relevance and impact, and results available to describe. Students that have advanced beyond the initial phases of their research program will be given preference. Students are eligible to enter both the CRWAD 3MT® competition and the competition for research abstract presentations.

Awards and Prizes

It depends on how many people enter the competition – up to twenty 3MT® presentation slots will be available for CRWAD 2024. Students’ advisors (or another designated person such as a Department Chair, etc) will be asked to pay a $50 entry fee for each student which will be matched by the CRWAD Execu1ve Council to create the prize fund for the 3MT® Competition.* Additionally, CRWAD attendees will have the option to donate additional funds at the time of registration for the 3MT® competition prizes.

  • First Place: Up to $1,000 (or 50% of the prize fund)
  • Second Place: Up to $500 (or 25% of the prize fund)
  • Third Place: Up to $300 (or 15% of the prize fund)
  • People’s Choice Award: Up to $200 (or 10% of the prize fund)**


* Students or advisors can contact CRWAD at the time of entry if paying this entry fee will create a financial hardship.
** Students may win this coveted award in addition to one of the awards listed above. Vo6ng by attendees will take place live immediately after the end of the presentations.


  • The 3MT® competition at CRWAD 2024 will be limited to 20 presenters. Students that have advanced beyond the initial phases of their research program will be given preference.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations, or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed in the PowerPoint. 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. laser pointers, costumes, theatrical makeup, musical instruments,laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes aredisqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage, but it is not required to stand behind a podium.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentationthrough either movement or speech.
  • The decisions of the adjudicating panel are final.

Judging Criteria

Comprehension and Content:

  • The presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question.
  • The presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research.
  • The presentation discussed the student’s whole research program rather than a single experiment or project.
  • The presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes, and impact of the research program.

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.

Resources to help you prepare for the CRWAD 3MT® Competition:

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