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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 900 universities across more than 85 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 the videos of the 2021 Queen Mary finalists here and the videos of our 2020 finalists are available on this page. The videos of the UK 3MT finalists are available on the Vitae website.

Prizes in previous years:

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

Our 2021 winner makes it to the UK final!

Congratulations to Alena Vdovchenko from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences who reached the Vitae 3 Minute Thesis® (3MT) final! Alena was selected as the Queen Mary winner in June and went on to compete against doctoral contestants from 60 institutions across the UK before being selected as one of the final six entries. This is the second year in a row that the Queen Mary 3MT winner reaches the final.

The Vitae 3MT final was live streamed on 10 September 12:15-1pm during the Connections Week 2021. You can watch Alena's fantastic pitch here!

How to enter the 2022 QMUL 3MT® competition

All you need to do to enter the competition is submit a title and a short abstract (max. 2000 characters/approx. 300 words) using this form by the end of 6 February 2022. Applications open on 24 November 2021.

Eligibility: All doctoral students, at any stage of their research, can participate in the national competition. If you are in your final year, you can participate as long as you will not have had your viva by the time of the Queen Mary final (13 June 2022).


  • 24 November 2021: Information session (watch here) & applications open!
  • 17 January 2022: Practicum on condensing your research to 3 minutes - get feedback on your abstract or pitch
  • 31 January 2022: Training on drama skills for presentations
  • 6 February 2022: Deadline for submitting an abstract to enter the competition through an online form (2000 characters max - link will be added in November)
  • Feb-March 2022: Opportunities to refine your script and receive individual feedback before submitting your video for the Faculty Heats
  • March-April 2022: local Faculty Heats 
  • 3 May 2022: Faculty finalists attend 3MT finalist training
  • 13 June 2022: The 2022 QMUL 3MT® FINAL!
  • July-August 2022: National 3MT® semi-final
  • September 2022: 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. Bookings for courses after Christmas will open in December.

PHD-QMA-3MT1 – Condensing your research into 3 minutes: 3MT Information Session 
(click title to watch the recording; select 'self-enrol' when prompted on QMplus)
24 November 2021, 13:00-14:30, Zoom

PHD-QMA-3MT2 – Condensing your research into 3 minutes: 3MT Practicum
17 January 2022, 10:00-13:00, Zoom

RD-QMA-008 – Stagecraft and Voice for Research Presentations
31 January 2022, 10:00-13:00, Zoom

PHD-QMA-3MT3 – 3MT finalist training
3 May 2022, 10:00-13:00, Zoom

PHD-QMA-201-A  Presenting your Research to an Audience (Workshop)

  • 7 October 2021 10:00-13:00, Zoom
  • 28 October 2021, 13:30-16:30, Zoom

PHD-QMA-201-A – Presenting your Research to an Audience (Practicum)
17 November 2021, 10:00-13:00, Zoom

Research Impact training running throughout the year. Details here.


For further information please contact Dr Fryni Panayidou.