Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

An 80,000 word PhD thesis would take 9 hours to present. Their time limit… 3 minutes.

Our winner

Julieta Reppetti from Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina). CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Contestants for the 3MT


Anggi Margarita Velez
Camilla Gonçalves 
Florencia Heinecke 
Belén Ibáñez Jara 
Dalmiro Gomez Ribot
Julieta Reppetti
Bianca Reis SantosSANTOS-BIANCA-3MT

Contestants who did not go to the final

Marisol Castillo-Castrejon 
Oteyola Ayodeji 
Nataly De Dios 
Natalia Ferrari 
Mariana Gomes de Oliveira Santos 


What is 3MT?

The University of Queensland (UQ), 3MT competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.


The idea for the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition came about at a time when the state of Queensland was suffering severe drought. To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, and many people had a three minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom. The then Dean of the UQ Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, put two and two together and the idea for the 3MT competition was born.

How to participate

  1. If you want to participate, submit your abstract in the abstract form, and check “Three minute thesis” in the question “Do you want to apply for.”
  2. Once we receive the submissions, a selection of the abstracts approved for the competition will be made by the jury.
  3. An email will be sent to the contestants informing the decision.

Virtual competition rules

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
    • Contain a 3MT title slide;
    • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Submissions via video format (only video link provided to Event Coordinators). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.
  • Entries submitted for final adjudication to Wildcard or University Final are to be submitted from the School/ Faculty/Institute 3MT Event Coordinator. Competitors should not submit their videos directly to 3MT.

Please note: competitors *will not* be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

Device options

Recording your presentation can be done using a camera and or handheld video recorder however most phones allow you to record through the camera function and most computers have recording ability (via camera or webcam) using inbuilt programs such as:


  • Camera App
  • Microsoft Photos – Video editing feature


  • QuickTime
  • iMovie

Online programs which you might like to consider include:

Filming at home

There are three factors to consider when selecting your location to ensure you are producing the best video possible: light, sound and background.


Dark environments impact the overall quality of your video because cameras do not perform well in dim lighting. Ensuring you are well lit guarantees the camera and therefore, your audience, can see you clearly. Look for a room in your home that has lots of natural light. If you are using light from a window, ensure you are facing towards the window so light falls on you directly.

Any additional lighting you can introduce will further improve the quality of your video. Look around your home for desk lamps, torches etc. Watch this tutorial for more information.


When filming video at home, ensure you choose a very quiet environment where you have as much control over the sound as possible. For example, choose a small room where you have the ability to close all doors and windows. Make sure any noisy electronics in the room such as fans, air conditioners, computers, phones and possibly even your fridge are temporarily turned off. These are much louder in video than you may think and are very distracting to your audience!

Be aware of any audible interruptions you don’t have control over such as aeroplanes, lawns mowers and cars. Consider filming during a quiet time of day such as early in the morning when there are likely to be less interruptions. If there are audio interruptions during your recording, do not continue. Wait it out and try again at a later point!


Aim for a clean, plain wall as your background, completely free of visual distractions from the waist up where you will be framing your shot.


Whether you’re filming on a phone, tablet or web cam, there are further factors to consider when actually setting up to film your video:


Ensure phones and tablets have enough storage available, are in aeroplane mode, fully charged and either connected to a tripod or, placed on a stable surface (think creatively – Blu Tack to wall). Your friend cannot offer to be a tripod by holding your phone or iPad for you: Your video needs to be completely stable as movement is very distracting.

Camera orientation

Ensure phones and tablets are turned onto their side so the video is filmed horizontally not vertically. This is to ensure the finished video is the correct shape and size when uploaded to Vimeo.


To ensure your eye line is correct, the tripod or surface where your recording device is placed, should be high enough so that the camera lens is in line with your eye level. Try to avoid the camera lens having to either point up or down towards you.

Framing – Two Options

  1. Set up your shot so you are in the centre of the frame, not being cut off at the top and so you can be seen from the waist up. Ensure there is equal space and just the blank wall background on either side of you.
  2. Set up your shot so you are to the left of the centre of the frame without being cut off at the top and so you can be seen from the waist up. The right side of the video frame should be just the blank wall background, as this is where your slide will be edited in.


Before you start recording, ensure your device is able to auto focus on you and isn’t focusing on anything else around you instead. Be sure to watch your recording back and ensure you remain in the focus the entire duration.


Ensure your recording device isn’t too far away from you. The microphone on the device should be as close to you as possible to achieve both the desired framing and to ensure the audio is as clear as possible.

Test recording

Complete a short recording of a portion of your talk. Ensure you are speaking at the volume you intend to use for your presentation. Review the test recording to ensure all of the above elements are complete and working.

Presentation tip

Be aware of your eye movement. Maintain eye contact with the camera lens as though they were a person in the audience watching you present live.

3MT submission

Coming soon!!

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. For more information please visit: