Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

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.

Our Virtual 3MT® competition has now closed and our judges had a very important and difficult job of judging the winners for the PhD and Masters categories.

Find out more about our judges:


Patrick is Head of the Evaluation & Research team at SDS. Prior to joining SDS he worked for Futureskills Scotland and was previously a director of a leading Scottish economic development consultancy. He has an honours degree in mathematics and statistics, a masters in urban and regional planning, and a PhD in labour economics.

It was a pleasure to review these SDS Virtual 3MT® entries. The standard of competition was exceptional, allying strong theoretical underpinnings and robust methodologies with a clear focus on implications for policy and practice. To me, this encapsulates the value of the SDS/SGSSS partnership in delivering this PhD programme.

Dr Patrick Watt – Head of Evaluation & Research, Skills Development Scotland


Diane leads the fantastic professional team who keep SGSSS running. This involves a combination of strategy, operations management, governance and generally keeping lots of plates spinning!

Prior to joining SGSSS, her background was in Student Development, Employability, Lifelong Learning and International Education through various roles at the University of Edinburgh and the British Council. She’s passionate about supporting individuals to maximise their potential.

Two important things to know about Diane is that she doesn’t have a PhD and her educational background is not social science!

I was delighted to be a judge in the SDS 3MT and observe how participants expertly brought their research topics to life. It’s reassuring to know that at a time like this we have bright minds able to research and articulate agendas that are going to be essential for the future recovery and prosperity of Scotland.

Diane Gill - Manager, Scottish Graduate School of Social Science / Doctoral Training Partnership


Dr Pauline Anderson is a Chancellor’s Fellow at Strathclyde University Business School. Her research focuses on skills, jobs and working life. Pauline’s research has a strong public policy focus.

She was a member of the OECD Expert Advisory Group on the project Better Using Skills in the Workplace and is a Board member of the Centre for Work-Based Learning (CWBL), which aims to drive cultural change and create demand for work-based learning in Scotland.

It was a privilege to serve on the judging panel of this inaugural SDS Virtual 3MT® challenge. The standard of entries was exceptionally high, and quite inspirational. The quality of research and ability to convey complex theoretical debates in non-technical language – and in deeply engaging, innovative ways – was impressive. This competition, for me, underlines the value of the SDS/SGSSS partnership and continuing commitment to build the next generation of future academic leaders in the arena of skills in a policy/practice context.

Dr Pauline Anderson – Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Strathclyde