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.

It's been a hard competition to judge with some fantastic submissions from our students. Our judges have had a difficult job deciding who the winners are from our PhD and Masters students. We also have a People's Choice award so thank you to everyone who has chosen their favourite 3MT® presentation.

It's time to meet our winners:

Winner of the PhD award

Katherine Stephen, Edinburgh Napier University

Watch Katherine's 3MT® - Meta-skills Maturity in the Workplace

When creating 3MT® presentation, what was the biggest challenge? What did you enjoy the most?
The biggest challenge for me was being on camera. I did a couple of rehearsals of the script just using audio which I enjoyed, but I definitely need more confidence in presenting, even when nobody is watching! Luckily this was a great way to build that confidence. What I enjoyed most was rewriting my work in a less academic way.

What’s next in your PhD research?
I’m about to start my second year, so I have some really interesting data collection to carry out with apprentices, which I’ve had to redesign slightly to fit in with social distancing restrictions – including a game format, which I’m hoping we can do online.

What will you spend your vouchers on?
Some of them will be donated to Edinburgh Food Social's 'Good Food Apprenticeship' to buy cookbooks for their apprenticeship kitchen. The rest will go towards things for friends. It's been an unbelievably difficult year for everyone, so it’s important to me to share the nice things that happen.

Winner of the Masters award

Cara Nethery, University of Stirling

Watch Cara's 3MT® - Why is interest in science not enough? An examination of the under representation of ethnic minority female students in STEM degrees in Scotland

When creating the 3MT® presentation, what was the biggest challenge? What did you enjoy the most?
The biggest challenge was condensing my research into three minutes. When you’re constantly working with your research it can be tricky to detach and look at what aspects to focus on and best communicate. The most enjoyable part was making the 3MT into a video – it was something completely different to anything I had done before which made it an enjoyable experience.

What’s next in your PhD research?
Following on from my Masters, I will now be starting the first year of my PhD. I’m right at the beginning and I’m looking forward to conducting research in an area that I believe is so important and building upon issues highlighted within my Masters research.

What will you spend your vouchers on?
I honestly hadn’t thought that far ahead! Possibly a new coffee machine – I imagine that will come in handy for the coming PhD years!

Winner of the People's Choice Award

Gabi Lipan, University of Aberdeen

Watch Gabi's 3MT® - Mind the Gap: An investigation into the factors influencing student, academic and employer perceptions of Graduate Attributes

When creating 3MT® presentation, what was the biggest challenge? What did you enjoy the most?
Unsurprisingly, the biggest challenge was fitting a PhD into a simple, clear 3-minute presentation. I also really enjoyed this process as it reminded me of the bigger picture and why I started doing the PhD in the first place.

What’s next in your PhD research?
Once we finalise the assessment tool I talked about in the video, we want to test it in the classroom and see how it works. That’s the natural next step.

What will you spend your vouchers on?
I’m not sure yet but am seriously considering buying a hamster wheel for our cats. If I do, I’ll make sure to share pictures.