The 3MT competition is a region-wide event encompassing all Australian and some international universities.
The 3MT competition provides an opportunity for you to develop confidence in public speaking and reach out to a broad audience for your research. The basic requirement for the competition is that you communicate the significance of you research in a maximum of three minutes of spoken presentation, unassisted by props or other materials, and accompanied only by a single Powerpoint slide (for the full set of requirement, see ‘Rules’ below). Prior participants often note how much participating in 3MT helped them to consolidate and clearly communicate their research ideas.
Each Australian university sends a university champion to the Asia-Pacific final. At La Trobe, we select our 3MT champion through a series of finals at School, College and University level.
The University Championship, coordinated by the Graduate Research School, is the final stage of the competition at La Trobe. The winner is awarded a prize and travel support to attend the Asia-Pacific competition in Queensland.
The College finals are coordinated at College level. The requirements for each of the College finals are slightly different because of the different College structures, but an even number of contestants from each one will progress to the University Championship.
The School heats are coordinated at School level. Given the wide range of school structures, there is some variation in how and when these are organised, but they all follow the same rules and judging criteria. Additionally, some Departments may choose to hold practice sessions or heats in the lead up to the School final. Please contact your School's Director of Graduate Research (DGR) for further information on dates and registration details.
Support and coaching
Public presentation can be daunting for some, but it is a skill that is increasingly required for graduate researchers. The RED team provides a range of supports including:
- a self-paced 3MT development module
- tailored 3MT workshops at School level
- one-to-one coaching at College level
- presentation skills workshops, advertised in the RED workshop schedule.
The 3MT is open to PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation in the competition. Graduates are not eligible.
Your Professional Doctorate (Research) must be composed of at least 2/3 research and be funded via the Research Training Scheme (for Australian students). Master's by research and Professional Doctorate (coursework) candidates are not eligible for the Asia-Pacific 3MT® competition.
Note: For the La Trobe competition, Masters by research and pre-confirmation PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who are active in their program can participate in the 3MT® competition at School level, at the discretion of each School.
Generous prizes are on offer at all levels of the 3MT competition. At College level and above, this includes research support funding of $1,000 to $5,000.
Frequently asked questions
Can I enter in this years competition if I competed last year?
Absolutely. There is no limit to the number of times you can enter: many of our past finalists for the La Trobe Championship have entered twice or even three times before winning. And while being successful in the competition is nice, the idea is that you use 3MT to advance your skills and your confidence in presenting your research to diverse audiences.
What if I'm not a confirmed candidate?
While 3MT is a fantastic skill-building activity, a way to clarify what your research is about, not to mention a great experience, we don't want it to get in the way of progress on your thesis.
If you have not yet been confirmed in candidature you can enter at the School level; however, if you win or place, you will not be able to advance to the College or University levels. But next year is looking good!
What can the prize funds be spent on?
The grants for winners and runners-up of the College and University finals are to be spent on research-support and/or research-related travel.
- A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
- No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
- No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
- Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
- Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
- Presentations are to commence from the stage.
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below.
Please note: each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.
Comprehension and 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?
- Was 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 and communication
- Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
- Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise 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?