Graduate Research School

Rules and judging criteria

3MT is an academic competition that challenges research students (PhD and MPhil) to explain their research project to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. There were 48 contestants in the 2014 competition hosted by UWA.

Congratulations go to the Winner: Sarah Marley from Curtin University, the runner up Rosanna Stevens, the peoples' choice winner.


  • Presentation time is limited to 3 minutes. Competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be disqualified.
  • Timing will commence when a presenter begins their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The presentation must commence from the stage.
  • The talk may be supported only by a single static powerpoint slide; i.e. slide transitions are NOT permitted
  • Additional electronic media, for example sound and video files are NOT permitted
  • Additional props for example costumes, instruments, pieces of scientific equipment are NOT permitted.
  • The judging panel's decision is final.

Judging criteria

Presentations will be judged on the basis of two criteria:

Comprehension and content

Were the thesis topic, research significance,  key results and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question 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?
  • Did the speaker avoid academic or scientific jaron, 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?