3MT U21: Three Minute Thesis Competition

Running annually, the challenge is set to PhD students across the globe to explain their complex thesis on video in just three minutes to a non-specialist audience. The competition takes place at all Universitas21 members International - Graduate Campus is the organizer of the UZH qualification round. 

After an impressive qualifying round on 14 September 2022, the presentation of Emilio Dal Re, UZH Department of Economics, was selected and submitted to the Universitas21 3MT International Competition.

Out of all the submitted presentations, Emilio Dal Re's work was awarded the "Highly Commended Prize" by the Universitas21 3MT Competition jury!

Congratulations to the impressive presentation and to this special prize.

Click here to view all the videos submitted by U21 Universities 


The winners of the UZH 3MT Competition 2022

Jury Award - First place: Emilio Dal Re (Department of Economics)
Jury Award - Runner-up: Doris Baumann (Department of Psychology)
Audience Award - Ricardo Peres (Physics Institute)

Congratulations to all contestants for their demonstration of excellent science communication!


UZH 2022 3MT Contestants


Ricardo Peres (Physics Institute)
Never miss a light show

Julia Joswig (Department of Geography / Remote Sensing)
Global Signals in Plant Traits

Vanessa R. C. Leite (Institute of Neuroinformatics)
Cortical-inspired placement and routing: minimizing the memory resources in multi-core neuromorphic processors

Doris Baumann (Department of Psychology)
Decoding Fulfillment in Life

Daniela Sequeira (Institute of Molecular Life Sciences)
A persistence game.

Olivier Keller (Department of History)
Setting the Course for Cooperation and Connection? The United States Railway Mission in Mexico (1942-1946)

Susanne Wehrli (Department of Psychology)
There Is Nothing Certain but the Uncertain – Mechanisms of Diagnostic Uncertainty

Mathilde Le Vu (Institute of Evolutionary Medicine)
Temporal and other determinants of neonatal health in Lausanne (1905-1925)

Giovanni Volta (Physics Institute)
The dark side of the Universe

Emilio Dal Re (Department of Economics)
Coffee Rust: Unintended Consequences of Organic Agriculture

Sandipan Tewary (Department of Molecular Life Sciences)
Exploring the regulation of a patterning gene (DPP) in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies)

Chongmeng Xu (Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies)
Plants stress response: studies in nature & in gene 

UZH 2022 3MT Jury


Jasmin Kuratli
Junior researcher, Institute of Veterinary Pathology, UZH

Boris Buzek
Program manager, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Mirko Bischofberger
Film director & communication specialist, Science Studios

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 3MT in general (University of Queensland)




Jury Awards

First place: 700 CHF

Runner-up: 500 CHF

Audience Award (people's choice)

Winner: 300 CHF




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 and individually for those participating in the competition. 

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



  • 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?