3MT: Three Minute Thesis Competition (Universitas 21)


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. In the picture above are 7 of 8 participants and 3MT Trainer, Mirko Bischofberger (right).

The next U21 3MT Competition at UZH is planned for 12 September 2019! More information will follow soon.

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.  

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).

Further information about U21 3MT (Universitas 21).

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

Important dates


3MT at UZH (2019)

25 August           Registration deadline: 3MT Training 
25 August           Registration deadline: 3MT Competition
6 September      3MT Training, 9am-5pm, RAA-E-30    
12 September     3MT Competition at UZH, 2-5pm, location TBA


U21 3MT (2019)

20 September           Video submission deadline (U21)
23 September           Videos online and open the People’s Choice Vote (U21)
7 October                 People’s Choice Closes (U21)
14 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 Awards

First place: 250 CHF

Second place: 150 CHF

Third place: 100 CHF


Audience Awards (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?


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.