The Three Minute Thesis Challenge (3MT) is a research communication competition originally developed by The University of Queensland in 2008. The competition expanded to a national level in 2010, with 33 universities in Australia and New Zealand competing. The University of Sydney 3MT consists of a series of heats (usually held in August), the winner of which will compete in the Australia and New Zealand competition (usually held in September).

Faculty Challenge

This is an exciting challenge which gives you just three minutes to present a compelling oration on your thesis topic and its significance. The exercise develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills, and supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.

DATE: Tuesday 14 July 2015
TIME: At the conclusion of the Faculty Research Symposium Soil to save our planet
VENUE: New Law Building

Faculty Trial Run

To get ready for the day we have organised a trial run (Heat) at ATP and students may be selected from this trial run to enter the Faculty 3MT competition at the symposium.

The Trial run will be held on Friday 29 May 2015, Room 422, Level 4, Biomedical Building C81, ATP, 11am to 1pm. You will have three minutes to explain what you are doing, how you are doing it, and why it is important.

2014 3MT winner and runner up

3MT Winner Banchgize Temesgen with A/Prof Michael Kertesz
3MT Runner up Sabina Yeasmin with A/Prof Michael Kertesz

Congratulations to the successful speakers in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment 2014 Three-minute thesis awards. The winner was Banchgize Temesgen, from the Department of Plant and Food Sciences, who gave a quickfire, informative presentation on Identification, genetic studies and molecular characterization of genes conferring resistance to rust pathogens in wheat. The runner up in the competition was Sabina Yeasmin from the Department of Environmental Sciences, with a summary of her research on Mineral-organic matter interactions in soils. Congratulations also to all the other speakers, who provided an entertaining session of interesting and well presented talks.

The Faculty 3MT Rules and Guidelines:

  1. Competitors may use only a single static PowerPoint slide.
  2. No animations, transitions, or embedded dynamic media (such as sound or video, etc) are allowable.
  3. No additional props or instruments are allowable.
  4. Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum, and competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be disqualified.
  5. You will have three minutes to explain what you are doing, how you are doing it, and why it is important – please see criteria below.

Judging Criteria

The judging panel shall normally consist of people, who may be members of academic staff, alumni and friends, or external guests. The judges score each presentation out of ten for each of the three following criteria:

  1. Communication style: was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  2. Comprehension: did the presentation help the audience understand the research? (Consider communication clarity, the quality of expression, the structure of delivery, i.e. introduction, body and conclusion).
  3. Engagement: did the oration make the judges want to know more? Scores will be tallied as a judging tool, but the winner shall be based on a panel consensus.


Competitors must be currently enrolled PhD candidates at the University of Sydney who have completed four semesters, or equivalent, of their candidature. The student may be enrolled full-time or part-time. Previous 3MT Faculty finalists are ineligible.


The competition winner will be awarded $500. The runner-up will receive $250.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

  • The 3MT must represent the original research of the competitor.
  • The authors of the 3MT will retain all rights regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition except as stated below.
  • Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.
  • All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include the Internet.
  • Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions. This means, if your research includes commercial-in-confidence or culturally sensitive material you should think very carefully about how you can present this information. We advise that you discuss you competition entry with the parties/s before entering the 3MT.
  • The University of Sydney, and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes, podcasts and/or audiotapes of the presentations or material prepared for use in presentation at the 3MT.
  • The University may use the materials in any book or other printed materials and any videotape or other medium that it may produce, provided that any profits earned from the sale of such items is used by the University solely to defray the costs of future 3 Minute Thesis Competitions.

FINALS: University Open Day

Contestants are also encouraged to compete in the University-level challenge; the winner will represent the University of Sydney at the Australia and New Zealand Competition. Please note that entry is not automatic, you must register to enter the University competition For further information follow the link below: