Festival of Doctoral Research

An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present. Your time limit...3 minutes!


Thursday 8 July 2021


At the virtual Festival, you will be expected to present your 3MT to a live online audience on the day. If your registration is successful, we will provide further information and guidance to support you with this.


We are delighted to invite you to compete in the 2021 Graduate School 3 minute thesis® competition. We have a grand total of £600 to award to PGRs who are ready and able to excite us about their research!

3 minute thesis® is an academic competition that challenges postgraduate researchers to use their very best communication skills to enthuse a non-specialist audience about their work and its significance. The catch? You have only 3 minutes and one static PowerPoint slide in which to do it.

Check out some of our 2019 entrants on our dedicated YouTube channel, including overall winner Debbie Parker Kinch, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, with her 3MT title "Bessie Parkes Belloc: the forgotten feminist pioneer".

Guidelines- what we need from you

Please submit your application to docfest@port.ac.uk by 12:00om Friday 2 July. 

This must include:

  • Your name, student number, faculty and department/school
  • Your presentation title150 word abstract
  • Your presentation slide
  • A 3 minute video of your 3MT presentation - please note that you will not be judged on the quality of the video itself so you do not need to go to great lengths when filming your presentation to enter the competition. Possible methods of recording your 3 minute thesis entry include:
    • Using the ‘Record Slide Show’ function in PowerPoint (see here for more details on how to do this).
    • Using the video camera or audio notes function on your smartphone to record your presentation (this does not need to include your PowerPoint slide, which can be sent to us as a separate file).
  • Contact email address
  • Completed consent form

Who can apply?

All current doctoral research students, including those undertaking professional doctorates, who have not graduated before 1 June 2021.

How will the competition run?


The judging panel will review each submitted 3 minute thesis presentation against the judging criteria, and shortlist a maximum of 10 University finalists. Entrants will be notified whether they have been successful a few days prior to the event.


All finalists will be invited to compete at the University 3 minute thesis final at the Festival of Doctoral research on the 8th July 2021. Each presentation will be assessed by a panel of judges who will award a prize for first, second and third place. Please note we will be filming the presentations.

Judging criteria

Judging criteria as per the University of Queensland Three Minute Thesis guidelines:

Comprehension and content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • 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?


First place - £300

Second place - £200 

Third place - £100


The panel will comprise of academics from each Faculty.

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