The clock is ticking – you’ve only got three minutes to tell an audience about your research.
Are you up for the challenge? What if I told you there was $6,000 in prize money up for grabs?
Throw your hat in the ring and sign up for UBCO’s seventh annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition!
What is 3MT?
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a global academic competition started by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia in 2008. Since then, the competition has spread throughout universities across the globe.
The competition showcases students’ innovative research while helping students develop effective presentation and communication skills. Research-based master’s and doctoral students are challenged to present their research in a mere 180 seconds using just one static slide.
The judges look for clear language, a well-structured presentation that engages the audience, and a slide that is designed to support the speaker’s points.
In years past, students participated in a live qualifying heat hosted by their Faculty before advancing to the live final. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, this year’s event will be fully virtual.
How do I participate?
All UBC Okanagan graduate students in a thesis-based program are eligible to compete in 3MT at UBC Okanagan.
Students compete against others from their Faculty in qualifying heats. The winners from each faculty then advance to the UBC Okanagan final event. The winners of the UBC Okanagan final qualifies to then move on to the Western Regional competition.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, this year’s event will be virtual.
Prepare your elevator pitch: Whether it’s for a job interview, or explaining to your relatives at the dinner table, being able to concisely explain your research will help you throughout your studies and into your future career.
Develop important skills: 3MT provides you with the opportunity to develop effective presentation and communication skills.
Win prize money: $6,000 dollars in prize money is up for grabs with first place taking home $3,000, $2,000 for the runner-up, and $1,000 for People’s Choice.
Gain exposure in the community: The 3MT Final is an opportunity for you to showcase your research to a broad public audience, gain exposure, and build connections with the community.
Portiaa McGonigal, Biology, 2020 Winner
In doing 3MT, I gained a better appreciation for how I should portray my project even to a group of experts in the same field. Competing against other students with vastly different projects than mine was intimidating at first, but going through with it and being successful allowed me to prove to myself that I am capable of doing difficult things, and it gave me much more confidence coming out of the competition than I had going in. I would highly recommend students to participate in the 3MT Competition to not only push your boundaries as a student researcher and communicator but to also challenge yourself and build up your confidence in your abilities.
Cassidy Wallis, Psychology, 2019 Winner
While conducting research we often find ourselves hidden away in our own little corner of the world. But what we are all doing is so important and it needs to be shared. The 3MT gave me a platform in which I could spread the important findings of my research to the community to which it referred. While most of us hope our research will have real applicable findings, there is often a disconnect between research and practice. The 3MT allowed me to bridge that gap and has since led to other opportunities to engage my community with my research. Further, while writing my 3MT it taught me how to find the right narrative that will capture an audience’s attention. This was a valuable skill that I have utilized since then in following speeches. I recommend that everyone take advantage of this amazing opportunity to engage their community and learn/improve valuable communication skills.
Sydney Morgan, Biology, 2018 Winner
I have found the 3MT to be an extremely rewarding experience. Making our research accessible to the public is an integral part of academia, but it so often gets overlooked. In the age of social media, combatting the “fake news” with real, exciting, and scientifically-backed facts is all-important. For me, the 3MT was an exercise in stepping outside the comfort of my own narrow research field and taking a hard look at it from an outsider’s perspective: how does my research fit into the big picture, and what makes it important? These are questions that graduate students and researchers should be asking themselves every day because it keeps our goals grounded but also gives our research purpose and direction. The 3MT competition was an excellent opportunity to highlight my research but was also an opportunity for me to practice my public speaking skills and receive valuable feedback from the coaches and judges. This was my first 3MT experience, and I look forward to competing again next year.
John Sasso, Interdisciplinary Studies, 2017 Winner
In academia, we often get lost in the details of our research design and methodologies; but the process of preparing for and refining my 3MT certainly helped me to gain perspective on my PhD project. In today’s fast-paced world, simplifying complexity is a powerful tool. In the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Even at the start of my doctoral training, this exercise has been invaluable for me to learn how to better shape my message in teaching, in building collaborations, in applying for funding, and in recalibrating my study objectives. Furthermore, having had the chance to learn about the incredible research, across countless disciplines, from the other participants in the 3MT at UBCO (in a way that even I can understand!) has been so inspiring. I encourage all graduate students to commit to this process, and give the 3MT a try; in our careers, translating research into relevant and engaging communications will undoubtedly be an important skill that I am glad to have had the opportunity to develop.
UBC Okanagan 3MT Final 2021
We’re working to organize this year’s final event.
Check back in the coming weeks for more details…