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 and People's Choice award

Fanni Tamasi 
University of Stirling

When creating your 3MT presentation, what was the biggest challenge and what did you enjoy the most?

I made my 3MT presentation the week after my PhD internship ended with SDS. The biggest challenge I found was that I was away from my research for three months by that time, and to create the presentation, I really needed to get back to my topic quickly and drill down to the core of my thesis. It was a very useful exercise from a research point of view, but it was difficult to get back to the basics in such a short period of time.

My favourite part of creating a 3MT presentation is the creative process at the beginning when you’re looking for ideas and examples that could illustrate your topic. I enjoy playing around with the different ideas. But this year the best part of the process was showing my final video to my dad.

What have you learned from taking part in the 3MT?

I think it’s very easy to get lost in your PhD and not be able to see the wood from the trees. Doing a 3 MT video helps you to get out of that, because it forces you to step back a little and look at the full picture. You have only three minutes, so you can only talk about the essence of your research. This year I didn’t need to step back from my research, as I was away from it long enough. But the 3MT helped me to catch the golden thread of my research, which was just what I needed at the time.

What’s next in your PhD research?

The next stage of my PhD research is data collection. I’m looking forward to talking to people about technology adoption and skills development. I think that’s the most exciting part of a research project, talking to various stakeholders and seeing the relevance of your topic in the real world.

What will you spend your vouchers on?

I will spend some of my vouchers to treat my friends because they are truly brilliant. I will also get some presents for my older sister, who is fully responsible for the technical side of my video. She set up the background and the camera; and she also had to listen to me repeating my script for three hours straight – I think she earned it by just the latter.  As for me - as a typical PhD student, most of my baggage allowance was used for books and notes (instead of clothes) when I came back to Scotland recently, so I will use some of my vouchers to buy some clothes.

Watch Fanni's 3MT®

Winner of the Masters award

Marianne Wilson
Edinburgh Napier University

When creating your 3MT presentation, what was the biggest challenge and what did you enjoy the most?

The biggest challenge came from the timing – I was in the depths of writing up my dissertation when I made the video, so it was tricky going from that formal, detailed style of writing to making the video. But, that was also what I enjoyed the most – it helped remind me of the bigger picture at a time when I was pretty bogged down in the details.

What have you learned from taking part in the 3MT?

Making the 3MT video helped me realise how important preparation & redrafting are for making sure you get a message across. I also learned that including the phrase “hey google” in a speech will set off every device with earshot and you will have to do another take! 😊

What’s next in your PhD research?

I am about to transfer to Napier for the official start of my PhD, so the next few months will hopefully be spent getting to know everyone a bit better, as well as a lot of reading to get myself up to date on what has been happening on my topic.   

What will you spend your vouchers on?

I have just moved house so I was planning to “treat” myself to a new hoover with the vouchers, but my son has vetoed that and insisted we go shopping for something fun!


Watch Marianne's 3MT®