3MT: Three Minute Thesis Competition


Do you have an interesting research story to tell? Would you like to improve your storytelling skills?

Take part in the first Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition at UZH on 26 September! 

Click here to sign up for the 3MT.

About 3MT


The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic contest of skills and expertise in the arena of science communication. Participants will have three minutes to bring their research across to a general audience. It is recommended that participants take part in the 3MT Training, organized exclusively for those competing in the 3MT Competition.  

The best presentation (selected by a jury) at the 3MT Competition at the University of Zurich will go on to compete in the international Universitas 21 3MT competition as a video submission, to be judged by an international panel consisting of industry and academic professionals.   

PhD candidates participating in both the 3MT Training and the 3MT Competition will receive 1 ECTS credit as part of the Graduate Campus Transferable Skills course program ((has to be recognized by your faculty).

The 3MT Competition at UZH will take place as part of the Graduate Campus exhibition 100 Ways of Thinking in the Kunsthalle Zürich. 


Further information about U21 3MT (Universitas 21).

Further information about 3MT in general (University of Queensland).


Important dates


3MT at UZH

24 August           Registration deadline: 3MT Training 
24 August           Registration deadline: 3MT Competition
14 September     3MT Training, 9am-5pm, RAA-E-30    
26 September     3MT Competition at UZH, 2-5pm, Kunsthalle Zürich (100 Ways of Thinking)


U21 3MT

5 October           Video submission deadline (U21)
8 October           Videos online and open the People’s Choice Vote (U21)
22 October         People’s Choice Closes (U21)
30 October         Winners announced (U21)    



All PhD candidates matriculated at the University of Zurich can join the competition. Advance registration is required. Also, it is recommended that you take part in the 3MT Training, organized exclusively for those participating in the competition. 

Presentations must be based on research that is directly related to the own doctoral research. 



Jury prizes

First place: 250 CHF

Second place: 150 CHF

Third place: 100 CHF


Audience prizes (people's choice)

First place: 100 CHF

Runner-up: gift




  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description)
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted
  • No additional props (e.g. laser pointers, costumes, laboratory equipment or musical instruments) are permitted
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum. Judges may deduct marks from presentations that exceed 3 minutes.
  • Presentations are to be spoken words (e.g. no poems, raps or songs)
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when the presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.

Judging criteria


Keep in mind that you will be judged on the following:

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?
  • Were 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 trivialize or generalize 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?


For planning purposes, please sign up by 24 August 2018. Also, it is strongly recommended that you take part in the 3MT Training on 14 September 2018.

Click here to sign up for the 3MT Training and 3MT Competition.


If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a meeting to discuss your presentation, please feel free to contact us.