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Public EngagementResearch

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is back. What’s in it for you?

26 April 2022

On 14 June 2022 we will be hosting the eighth annual Cardiff heat of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, and we’re excited to say it will be taking place face-to-face for the first time since 2019. On the day, doctoral research students from across the university will be challenged to present their research in just three minutes and using just one slide. £400 of prizes will be up for grabs, and the Cardiff winner will then go through to the national semi-finals. Taking part in the competition will help you to think about your research in a new way and present it creatively. Delivering your presentation to a live audience is also a great opportunity to gain some all-important public engagement experience. And if public speaking isn’t your thing, don’t fret – the Doctoral Academy team will be offering guidance and support as you prepare your presentation.

Here, some of our past winners and finalists share what they have learnt and gained from taking part in previous competitions, and why you should get involved, too.

If you’re up for the challenge, you can find all information and application details on the intranet now. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 18 May.

Rachael Blakey, School of Law and Politics
2021 Winner

Debora Cabral Lima, School of English, Communication and Philosophy
2021 Finalist

“The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) experience was awesome and I would advise PhD students in any stage of their research to participate.

Presenting the thesis in just three minutes is a fun challenge, and it is an opportunity to wrap your head around what you are doing and the impacts your research may have.

The feedback from the committee was spot on, and helped me understand I needed to make my methodology clearer in my chapter as well. So, it is overall an enriching experience!”

Luke Kidwell, School of Chemistry
2019 Winner

“It was not the challenge I was expecting. As my usual audience consists of other chemists, the challenge was to present in a way that was more accessible to everyone and I found that pretty difficult. The Doctoral Academy’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) workshop helped in this regard as it allowed me to recognise jargon I should avoid during the presentation.

I was very nervous. I was rehearsing for three hours prior the event and then during the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) I was constantly going over it in my head until my presentation came up. Though after delivering it, I felt an immediate sense of relief and was glad I did it.

I feel it’s helped me massively in presenting to an audience outside of chemistry – it is an important skill as it is quite easy to feel isolated within a field when not able to communicate clearly to a wider audience. I think it will help me massively in my future career. I am looking for a career outside of academia and it’s given me the confidence to go outside my comfort zone and look at careers not directly related to chemistry.”

Laura Shobiye, School of Social Sciences
2019 Finalist

“I found the Three Minute Thesis much more challenging than doing a standard length presentation of 15-20 minutes. I am naturally quite loquacious and struggle to be concise. But this is also the reason I entered the competition in the first place. I wanted practice at condensing what I have to say. Once I decided on a focus, then it became easier to do – but it still requires a fair amount of work.

I was very nervous, and I am not normally a nervous presenter. The combination of the time limit and having to do it all from memory was scary for me. I’d have been fine doing it from memory without the time limit, as I could have waffled (my fallback!). However, all the other competitors were really friendly and supportive and it was a lovely atmosphere on the day. That really helped.

From taking part, I learnt that sometimes stepping outside of my comfort zone and challenging myself is worth it. I definitely learnt how to be concise and work with very strict limits. It has made me a much more confident presenter. I entered the competition for practice and a challenge, but I also didn’t believe I was ready to orally present in other academic settings. Winning a prize helped me to realise that I have capabilities I didn’t know I had and that I am far more ready to talk about my work, in public, than I had believed. As I’m in the first year of my PhD that feels like a wonderful discovery to have, early in my journey. I have since adapted my Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) presentation and presented at an external conference where I got some great feedback, made useful contacts and learnt a lot from others. I would not have had that experience without the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition.”

Watch all previous years’ presentations on our YouTube page.

Interested in taking part in the 2022 competition? Find out more and apply now!