The first Three Minute Thesis competition was organised at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008. Annually, approximately 350 universities around the world organise the competition.
University of Turku has taken part in the competition first in 2017. The competition provides the participants excellent practice for presenting, popularising, and summarising their own research topics. The presentations are held in English. The participants may present one PowerPoint slide without animations. No special effects are allowed in the presentation, such as videos, audio, objects, or outfits. The participants will receive 1 credit for their UTUGS science communication studies. Doctoral researchers can take this course at any point in their doctoral studies, but it is most useful to the ones at the final stage of their doctoral studies.
About the 3MT Competition
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills.
The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
The first 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 Research Higher Degree students competing. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew.
Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 170 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.
Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions at all levels. Graduates are not eligible.
- A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. 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. 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 are to commence from the stage.
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.
Comprehension & Content
- Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
- Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
- Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
- Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
- Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
- Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
Engagement & Communication
- Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
- Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise their research?
- Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
- Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
- Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
- Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?
Arno Ylitalo (Turku Doctoral Programme of Molecular Medicine) is the winner of 3MT competition 2023. In his presentation “Curing leukemia: a 'Clever’ approach” Ylitalo described his research where he seeks new treatments for leukaemia.
Watch Arno's presentation here!
Doctoral Researcher Jinglu Chen (Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research) took the second place in the competition with her presentation “Brain mechanisms for human altruism”. The judges selected Doctoral Researcher Albert Bellmunt Gil from the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research to represent the University in the international 3MT competition organised by the SANORD network. His presentation was also voted as the audience’s favourite.
The winner of 3MT competition 2022 was Mahdi Moghaddam from the Doctoral Programme in Technology, with his presentation “Solid Boosted Flow Battery: a reliable approach to stop global warming”.
Watch Mahdi’s 3MT presentation here.
Runner-Up went to Zahra Jahanshah Rad from Doctoral Programme in Exact Sciences with presentation titled "Protecting tiny apple slices in your smart phone". People's Choice winner was Anne Abio from Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research. Her presentation was titled “External causes of mortality in Seychelles”.
In the 3MT final of 2021, Felix Vaura (Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research) was chosen as the winner with his presentation "Untangling hypertension". In three minutes, Vaura told how his research is looking for ways to develop treatment for high blood pressure.
Second place went to Tuulia Malén (Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research) with her presentation "The Goal Factory". Malén spoke about her research on brain function related to life satisfaction and addiction.
The People's choice was won by Nasrin Shahedifar (Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research). Her presentation was called "Fitness to Drive Safely after Traumatic Brain Injury".
The winner of 3MT competition 2020 is Shruti Jain from the Doctoral Programme in Molecular Life Sciences. Her presentation was titled "Early detection of cancer." Jain also won the votes of the audience, as she was selected People's Choice.
Runner-Up was Pablo Peréz Chaves with his presentation titled "Mapping floristic patterns in Amazonia". Chaves was also selected to compete in the first ever Southern African – Nordic Centre (SANORD) 3MT-competition.
Photo: Sara Harju
Tiina Lehtiniemi (Doctoral Programme of Molecular Medicine) won the 3MT competition held in 2019 with her presentation titled "Quality sperm – how it’s produced and the secrets within!".
Watch Tiina's 3MT presentation
The Runner-Up was Pooneh Sotoudehnia with her presentation titled "From food waste to saving lives" and People's Choice was won by Riikka Harikkala-Laihinen with her presentation "The power of positivity".
Photo: Hanna Oksanen
Khalil Shahramian from the Institute of Dentistry won with his presentation titled "Bioactive Coatings to Improve Implant-Gum Relationships & Soft Tissue Attachment Issues". Khalil also won the People's Choice at the competition held by the University of Turku. He competed with his presentation at the Annual Conference of Coimbra Group in Salamanca on 1 June 2018 and won the international 3MT competition aswell.
Watch Khalil's 3MT presentation
Runner-Up was Pablo Pérez Chaves (Doctoral Programme in Biology, Geography and Geology) with his presentation titled "Mapping Amazonia Using Machine Learning and Satellite Imagery".
Watch Pablo's 3MT presentation
Photos: Hanna Oksanen
Tarek Omran (Finnish Doctoral Programme in Oral Sciences) won the 3MT competition arranged in the University of Turku in 2017. His presentation was titled "Optimizing dental composite structures: A bio-memetic approach to dental mechanics".
Watch Tarek's 3MT presentation
The Runner-Up was Saana Myllyntausta (Doctoral Programme of Clinical Investigation) with the presentation titled "Retirement - a window of opportunity for better sleep?". The audience voted Kalypso Filippou (Doctoral Programme on Educational Policy, Lifelong Learning and Comparative Education Research) as the winner of the People's Choice with her presentation titled "A thesis on theses!".
Watch Saana's 3MT presentation
Watch Kalypso's 3MT presentation
Photo: Hanna Oksanen