2018 McMaster 3MT Final Heat competitors stand on stage after the competition

March 11, 2019

Spotlight is on graduate research during annual Three Minute Thesis

Graduate researchers will take to the LR Wilson Concert Hall stage this week for McMaster’s seventh annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition.

The challenge: Competitors have only three minutes and one static slide to present complex research – and its wider implications – in an engaging, compelling and accessible way. 

On March 13 and 14, graduate students working across a diversity of fields and disciplines – with topics ranging from the insect-mushroom relationship, to developing high strength rolled steel, to using sugars to improve cancer treatment – will share their research stories.

A full schedule of competitors and their presentation titles is available online

More than 90 students will compete across six preliminary heats, beginning at 9 a.m. on March 13.  The top three presenters from each heat will compete in the final on Thursday, March 14, beginning at 2 p.m. All are welcome to attend. 

Final heat winners – first through fifth place – will receive cash prizes and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Communicating Research. As well, all 3MT participants competing or attending the final are eligible to vote for the Competitor's Choice, awarded to one of the final heat presenters.

The first place winner will represent the university at the Ontario 3MT competition – hosted here at McMaster University – on April 17. Most Ontario universities compete in the provincial competition.

Also, the top eligible winner will represent McMaster in the Universitas 21 Competition in October (video competition).

Judging the 3MT

Adjudication panels – for both the preliminary and final heats – are comprised of non-specialist judges. A list of preliminary heat judges is available online.

Judges for the 3MT final are:

  • Ahmad Siam, CaNRisk program manager
  • Annette Hamm, host, CHCH Morning Live
  • Catherine Maybrey, career integration specialist, Science Career and Cooperative Education Office
  • Matthew Berry, Ontario and McMaster 3MT Champion, 2018
  • Rebecca Bourque, director of business development, Mitacs

A focus on communication skills

The Three Minute Thesis began at Australia’s University of Queensland in 2008. Now, competitions are held at universities around the world. McMaster’s first competition was organized in 2013, and since then, participant numbers have steadily increased each year.

The competition focuses on student development, providing an opportunity to expand and enhance important communication skills. As well, the 3MT is open to the public, giving students a chance to showcase their research to a wider audience across the university and the broader community.