3MT® challenges PhD students to explain the complexity and relevance of their research to a non-specialist audience in a concise and engaging way. Presenters have a maximum of three minutes to pitch their research and can only use one slide.

This competition has now closed. The categories that were judged were PhD students, Masters students and a People's Prize. The winners from each category have been awarded £300 in High Street vouchers. 

Meet the judges and this year's winners or watch the students' 3MT® presentations below.

SDS established its PhD programme in partnership with the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) to deepen links with the academic community and bring fresh thinking to skills policy and delivery in Scotland. 

I’m thrilled to be judging our first three-minute thesis competition.  My fellow judges, Diane Gill from our principal partner the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science, and Pauline Anderson from Strathclyde University bring a wealth of experience and insight to the judging panel.  I very much look forward to working with them.

Dr Patrick Watt, Head of Evaluation & Research, Head Judge

Cara Nethery
University of Stirling

Why is interest in science not enough? An examination of the underrepresentation of ethnic minority female students in STEM degrees in Scotland

The under representation of female students from ethnic minority backgrounds in STEM degrees is a prominent issue faced by Scottish society. Using a statistical approach this research can investigate the relationships between gender, ethnic background, and science for students in Scotland to better understand the inequality present in the STEM fields. This research recognises the importance of building capital for students, particularly science capital, for the further engagement in STEM pathways. With this understanding underpinning the examination of gender, ethnic background, and science this research can better understand the scope of this issue and why it’s present in the Scottish system.

Watch Cara's 3MT®

Fanni Tamasi 
University of Stirling

The effects of technological change on skills in Scotland

This research studies the effects of technological change on skill requirements of jobs in Scotland. Technological capabilities are rapidly evolving. However, technological feasibility does not equal implementation – due to various economic, political, social and ethical reasons. Even if new technologies are implemented, they do not necessarily replace jobs; they often create new ones or transform existing ones. The key to successfully adapt to these changes is having the right skills. However, skill requirements of jobs are also influenced by various contextual factors. Therefore, future models of technological change must incorporate contextual factors that influence the skills and technology interplay – which is the aim of this research.

Watch Fanni's 3MT®

Gabi Lipan
University of Aberdeen

Mind the Gap: An investigation into the factors influencing student, academic and employer perceptions of Graduate Attributes

Graduate attributes (GAs) have always been an implicit part of higher education. In recent decades, universities worldwide have worked towards making them explicit, in an effort to better prepare their students for the future of work. Thus resulted an abundance of lists of attributes and definitions, seemingly unique to every institution. Using qualitative content analysis, we boiled hundreds of attributes from universities across the UK into 43 GAs split into 7 categories, giving them clear descriptions. After validating and refining this model, our goal is to create a behavioural markers tool to assess those attributes which cannot be assessed through traditional means (i.e. essays and exams).

Watch Gabi's 3MT®

Katherine Stephen
Edinburgh Napier University

Meta-skills Maturity in the Workplace

When trying to assess your future career, it’s hard to predict which skills will be in demand, and how they might match up to your vision for your life. If new types of jobs, or entirely new industries, spring up three (or thirty) years into your working life, how will you be able to move into them? Metaskills – understanding your own learning and processing powers, and planning your actions accordingly – can ensure that you’re confident and ready for any changes that might happen. My research investigates these skills using ideas of self-reflection and Aristotle’s concept of ‘Nus’.

Watch Katherine's 3MT®

Paul Quigley
University of Glasgow

How do employers engage with apprenticeships in Scotland?

The UK Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 to encourage employers to increase the levels of apprentice recruitment, with mixed results thus far. In response to the economic impact of the current pandemic, the Chancellor has announced further incentive programmes to encourage apprenticeship recruitment to help get more young people into work. There is however limited understanding of what motivates employers when they engage with apprenticeships, how decisions are taken regarding apprenticeship recruitment and thus what would influence these decisions. My thesis focuses upon furthering this understanding in hope of improving overall understanding and impacting policy discussions around apprenticeships. 

Watch Paul's 3MT®

Petri Simonen
University of Glasgow

Key influences for the young people in Scotland for choosing apprenticeship pathways into the world of work

My research seeks to find out why and how young adults decide to do an apprenticeship, and what the role of key influencers is in influencing young adults. The study will consider how Scottish education policies like Developing the young workforce support young adults’ transitions into modern apprenticeships and if these policies have made the pathway more appealing for young adults. The research uses qualitative methods and realist evaluation methodology. Data in the study consists of interviews with young adults and their key influencers to understand how the young adults in the study chose to do a modern apprenticeship.

Watch Petri's 3MT®

3MT® Judges

Meet our judges

SDS Virtual 3MT Judges

3MT® Winners

Meet this year's winners

SDS Virtual 3MT Winners