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Queen Mary Academy

3 Minute Thesis

3 Minute Thesis competition 3MTAs a researcher, you will probably experience this conversation in some form or another: So, what do you work on? Perhaps with a relative you haven’t seen in years, who knows vaguely that you’ve been researching something, and that you’re going to be some kind of doctor.  Or maybe it plays out when you meet a learned colleague from a related field at a conference; a potential collaborator and you each need to communicate your work’s raison d’être (and how your interests may align) in a relatively short time, like say, three minutes. This is your opportunity to develop this skill as a PhD student!

What the 3MT® competition is

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition that was developed at the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008.  Internationally growing since 2011, there are 3MT® competitions held at over 170 universities across 17 countries worldwide.  As the name implies, PhD students have just three minutes to tell a non-specialist audience about their research and results.  They can show one static PowerPoint slide, and that’s basically it. The idea is to “crystallise” their research in such a way as to communicate its background, outline any salient hypotheses, and present major findings to anyone without trivialising or ‘dumbing’ anything down.  A tall order, surely, when you have topics as diverse and complex as the human health, emerging mobile technologies or European history.

QMUL has run the 3MT competition since 2014, with training running throughout the year and the final taking place in late May – early June.

The QMUL 3MT winner goes on to compete against other PhD students from across the UK at the Vitae 3MT® semi-final. Six students are then selected to compete at the final, which takes place in September at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference.

You can watch videos of the UK 3MT finalists on the Vitae website and the 2020 Queen Mary finalists on this page.

Prizes in previous years:

  • Queen Mary 3MT competition: Vouchers of £150 (Winner), £100 (Runner-up), £50 (People's Choice Award)
  • Vitae 3MT competition: UKRI grant of £3000 (Winner) or £1000 (People's Choice Award) to spend on a public engagement activity.

The 2020 QMUL winner receives the People's Choice Award at the national final!

QM 3MT winnerCongratulations to our 2020 winner, Vinaya Srirangam Nadhamuni from Barts Cancer Institute, who received the People's Choice Award at the national 3MT final! 

Vinaya was selected as the Queen Mary winner in June 2020 and was the very first Queen Mary PhD student to reach the Vitae 3 Minute Thesis® final, after competing against PhD contestants from 52 institutions across the UK. Vinaya won £1,000 to spend on a public engagement activity after giving a great presentation at the Vitae 3MT final on 16 September 2020.

You can watch Vinaya's entry and read an interview about her experience as a first year PhD student entering the competition, making it all the way to the national final, and winning a prize!

How to enter the 2021 QMUL 3MT® competition

If you are interested in participating in this year’s competition, please submit a title and an abstract (2000 characters max) through this online form from 20 November 2020 until 28 February 2021.

We will be in touch soon after the deadline with details on your local competition. In the meantime, do sign up for some of the training opportunities listed below. Additional guidance and resources are available on the 3MT QMplus page (click 'self-enrol').


  • 20 November 2020: Information session & applications open!
  • 27 January 2021: Practicum on condensing your research to 3 minutes - get feedback on your abstract or pitch
  • 28 February 2021: Deadline for submitting an abstract to enter the competition through this online form (2000 characters max).
  • March 2021:Training on drama skills for presentations and opportunities to refine your script
  • March-April 2021: local Faculty heats 
  • May 2021: Faculty finalists attend 3MT finalist training
  • 16 June 2021: The 2021 QMUL 3MT® FINAL!
  • July-August 2021: National 3MT® semi-final
  • September 2021: National 3MT® final

Information sessions and training on presentation and drama skills

To book on any of these courses and for a description, please visit and search by code or title. Everyone is welcome to attend.

PHD-QMA-3MT1 – Condensing your research into 3 minutes: 3MT Information Session
20 November 2020, 10:00-11:30, Zoom
(watch a video recording on QMplus)

PHD-QMA-3MT2 – Condensing your research into 3 minutes: 3MT Practicum
27 January 2021, 13:30-16:30, Zoom

PHD-QMA-3MT3 – 3MT finalist training
5 May 2021, 10:00-13:00, Zoom

RD-QMA-008 – Stagecraft and Voice for Research Presentations

  • 25 March 2021, 10:00-13:00, Zoom [for non-native English speakers]
  • 29 March 2021, 13:30-16:30, Zoom [for all]

PHD-QMA-201  Presenting your Research to an Audience
(two session course)

  • 22 October 2020 10:00-13:00, Zoom
    & 28 October 2020 (7-min presentation of your work - you will be allocated a timeslot)
  • 22 February 2021, 10:00-13:00, Zoom
    & 1 March 2021 (7-min presentation of your work - you will be allocated a timeslot)
  • 22 April 2021,  10:00-13:00, Zoom
    & 29 April 2021 (7-min presentation of your work - you will be allocated a timeslot)

Research Impact training running throughout the year. Details here.


For further information please contact Dr Fryni Panayidou.