3MT: Three Minute Thesis Competition

Join the next 3MT Competition on Wednesday, 14 September 2022!

About 3MT


The Universitas 21 Three Minute Thesis (U21 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.  

The best presentation (selected by a jury) at the U21 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).

Further information about U21 3MT (Universitas 21).

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

Important dates


U21 3MT Competition at UZH (2022)

01.09                Online group 3MT Training session (optional)
08.09.               Individual 3MT Training sessions (optional) 
09.09.               Individual 3MT Training sessions (optional) 
14.09.               3MT Competition at UZH
15.09.               Video submission deadline (U21)
03.10.               People’s Choice (U21) opens
10.10.               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 virtual 3MT Training, organized exclusively and individually for those participating in the competition. 

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



Jury Awards

First place: 700 CHF

Runner-up: 500 CHF


Audience Award (people's choice)

Winner: 300 CHF




  • 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?

Past winners


2021 U21 3MT

The fourth Universitas 21 (U21) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition at UZH took place on 22 April 2021.

Jury Award - First place: Florence Steiner (Department of Psychology)

Jury Award - Runner-up: Nick Sidorenko (Zurich Center for Neuroeconomics)

Audience Award - Florence Steiner


2020 U21 3MT

The third Universitas 21 (U21) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition at UZH took place on 14 September 2020.

Jury Award - 1st place: Minxia Luo (Department of Psychology)

Jury Award - 2nd place: Lorenzo Gesuita (Brain Research Institute)

Jury Award - 3rd place: Max Winkler (Department of Economics)

Audience Awards - Lorenzo Gesuita & Andrea Bublitz


2019 U21 3MT

The second Universitas 21 (U21) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition at UZH took place on 12 September 2019.

Jury Award - 1st place: Sabine Dziemian (Department of Psychology)

Jury Award - 2nd place: Yun Deng (Institute of Experimental Immunology)

Jury Award - 3rd place: Hantao Zhao (Department of Psychology)

Audience Awards - Sabine Dziemian & Hantao Zhao 


2018 U21 3MT

The first Universitas 21 (U21) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition at UZH took place on 26 September 2018 in the Kunsthalle Zürich as part of 100 Ways of Thinking.

Jury Award - 1st place: Kiran Zahra (Department of Geography)

Jury Award - 2nd place: Eva Göksel (Institute of Education)

Jury Award - 3rd place: Sophie Ramsauer (Institute of Virology)

Audience Award - 1st place: Eva Göksel (Institute of Education)

Audience Award - Runners-up: Rajiv Prabhakar (Department of Chemistry) & Kiran Zahra