3MT competition

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ). This year's competition will be by video submission.

Research master's and doctoral students who have successfully passed the PGR9 are eligible to enter. Competitors have three minutes to present their thesis and its significance in an inspiring and captivating way.

Read more information about the 3MT Competition on the UQ website.

2021 AUT 3MT Competition

In 2021 the AUT 3MT Competition is virtual for the second time. This year, doctoral students will give their 3 minute research presentations by video submission. Finalists’ videos will be selected from the pre-heats taking place in the coming weeks, with the finals event taking place 3 September.

The judging panel consists of the following judges:

  • Associate Professor Nigel Harris, Acting Dean of the Graduate Research School
  • Ngaire Rix, Manager of Learning Success
  • Negin Ahmadi Saber Doust, Runner-Up of the 2020 Virtual AUT 3MT Competition

This event is sponsored by ICT Services and supplier partner Cyclone, AUT Sport and Fitness Centres, and AUT Shop.

AUT ShopAUT Sport & Fitness Centre

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
    • Contain a 3MT title slide;
    • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
      • For ‘cut to’ the slide can be displayed as many times as you like for a maximum of 1 minute.
      • For top right corner or right side the slide must be displayed for the entire presentation.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Please note

Competitors will not be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or re-record and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted.

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?
  • 25 June 2021
    Entries close
  • 9 to 13 August 2021
    Pre-heats (judges reviewing video submissions)
  • After 13 August 2021
    Competitors to be notified whether they have progressed to the finals
  • 3 September
    2021 Virtual AUT 3MT Competition finals event

Applications to compete in the 2021 Virtual AUT 3MT Competition have now closed.

What should I do after I enter?

  1. Review and familiarise yourself with the rules & guidelines and judging criteria for the virtual competition.
  2. Review and familiarise yourself with communications from the Graduate Research School’s Researcher Development teamoutlining important dates and competition details.
  3. View videos of past competitors, both from AUT’s 2020 competition finals, and from the Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition.
  4. Record, edit and compress (if needed)your 3MT presentation (using any available recording or mobile device, but complying with rules and guidelines).
  5. Upload your video to a Vimeo account (competitors to set up a personal Vimeo account)
  6. Provide the presentation link and headshot photo to the Graduate Research School’s Researcher Development team for consideration by the required date outlined in email communications (those who do not submit videos will be withdrawn from the competition).

Finals will take place 4pm to 5pm on Friday 3 September 2021 online. The doctoral finalists of the 2021 AUT 3MT Competition will compete in this event.

Join the online event to watch the finalists’ videos, cast your audience vote on your device, and hear the judges' decisions about who will be progressing to the National Universities Masters 3MT Competition (masters) and Asia-Pacific Competition (doctoral).

Register to attend

Register to attend (virtually) to be provided with the access link for this event.

Register to attend through LilRegie

Cast your audience vote

Have a device on-hand for the event with a QR scanner so that you can cast your audience vote. You'll use a QR scanner to access your audience vote ballot.

Previous 3MT Competitions

On 17 September AUT hosted the 2020 National Universities Masters 3MT Competition, the next level of competition for the 3MT for master’s research students. The master’s winners from universities across New Zealand had three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance. This event took place online, with presentations by video submission.

Missed watching the 2020 National Universities Masters 3MT Competition live? A recording of the event is available for a limited time.

Access the event recording


Competitors in the 2020 National Universities Masters 3MT Competition represented universities across New Zealand. This year’s competitors were:

  • Alana Thurston, Lincoln University
  • Erin Thomas, University of Auckland
  • Flynn Adcock, University of Canterbury
  • Kaitlin Button, University of Waikato
  • Marianne Carroll, Auckland University of Technology

Award Announcements


Dr Diana Siew

Diana co-chairs the CMDT and is an Associate Director of the MedTech CoRE, responsible for strategy and industry relationships.

Dr Lyn Lavery


Dr Lyn Lavery is the Director of Academic Consulting Ltd, a company with a longstanding reputation for providing support to both academic staff and postgraduate students at New Zealand universities.
Previously a lecturer at both University of Auckland and Massey University, she specialises in teaching research methods, particularly data analysis techniques and the skills needed to effectively communicate research findings. Lyn’s PhD is in the area of educational psychology, but her recent research has seen her work across a diverse range of fields including health, business, sport and exercise science, and social policy.

Professor Juliet Gerrard


Professor Juliet Gerrard FRSNZ, FHonFRSC trained at Oxford University and moved to Aotearoa in 1993 where her career has included roles in both Crown Research Institutes and universities. Juliet’s research background is broad and interdisciplinary, with particular interests in fundamental and applied protein science. She has held an Industry and Outreach Fellowship with Callaghan Innovation, founded a start-up company, chaired the Marsden Council, and served on the Board of Directors of Plant and Food Research.

Since Juliet’s appointment in 2018 as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua ki te Pirimia, she has worked from a base of four founding principles: rigour, inclusivity, transparency, and accessibility. She has supported the science and science advisor community to provide advice to the PM, ministers, and the public on a wide range of topics, including advice on the Christchurch mosque shootings, the response to the Whakaari | White Island eruption, and the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, the Office released a major report, Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand, which created a vision for a new relationship with plastic.

Prizes and sponsorship

Prizes included:

  • Research awards
  • A Microsoft Surface Pro 5 from ICT services and Cyclone


This event was sponsored by ICT and supplier partner Cyclone.

Cyclone logo

For the first time the AUT 3MT Competition was virtual; master's and doctoral students gave their 3 minute research presentations by video submission. Finalists' videos had been selected from the pre-heats, with the finals event having taken place online on 4 September.

If you missed watching the 2020 Virtual AUT 3MT Competition live, don't worry, a recording of the event will be available for a limited time.

Access the event recording

Master's finalists

Doctoral finalists

3MT finalists

L to R: Afiq Abdul Hamid, David Gadnyx, Marianne Carroll, Negin Ahmadi Saber Doust, Alena Shannaq, Kaushalya Kumarasinghe, Megan Burfoot, Smita Keshoor


See all the AUT 3MT winners


Members of the judging panel were:

  • Associate Professor Jennie Billot, Head of Researcher Development
  • Ngaire Rix, Manager of Learning Success
  • Peter Jean-Paul, Winner of the 2019 AUT 3MT Competition

Prizes included

  • Research awards
  • A Microsoft Surface Pro 5 from ICT services and Cyclone
  • $50 of vouchers for Counter / Newsfeed / Refuel / Kaife / K101


This event was sponsored by ICT and supplier partner Cyclone and AUT Cafes.

Cyclone logo

AUT cafe logos

Finalists from the 2019 pre-heats competed in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition finals, explaining their research and its significance in a captivating and inspiring way. The finals took place on Friday 16 August, at the end of the 2019 Postgraduate Research Symposium day.

Read more information about the 2019 Postgraduate Research Symposium here.

2019 AUT 3MT Competition Finalists


  • Saba Tavakolinejad: ;On the danger of Artificial Intelligence
  • Livvy Mitchell: Home Detention: Couch surfing or job preserving?
  • Devika Gopi: Executive functioning in Stroke


  • Dwayne Woolliams: Impacting sport leadership one relationship at a time
  • Najmah Usman: "My baby deserves LOVE, not HIV"
  • William Caicedo: ISeeU: Visually Interpretable Deep Learning for Mortality Prediction Inside the ICU
  • Peter Jean-Paul: ;Investigating the value proposition of Energy Saving Devices
  • Mahesh Babu Purushothaman: Shed bias, astute work stress
  • Alena Shannaq: What makes students effective in their studies
  • Isaac Amoah: Bread with vegetables: for that feel full feeling and regulation of blood sugar

Access videos of the 2019 AUT 3MT Competition finalists' performances on the Thesislink YouTube channel.

Check out photos from the event on the Thesislink Facebook page.

3MT Finals Collage.jpg

Saba Tavakolinejad took out the 2019 AUT 3MT Master's Competition Audience Vote. And, Livvy Mitchell, with her presentation, 'Home Detention: Couch surfing or job preserving?' won the 2019 AUT 3MT Master's Competition. It is with great excitement that we announce that Livvy went on to win the 2019 Three Minute Thesis New Zealand Inter-University Master's Final, hosted by the University of Otago in Dunedin.

Alena Shannaq, with her presentation 'What makes students effective in their studies' was the Runner-Up of the 2019 AUT 3MT Doctoral Competition. The winner of the 2019 doctoral competition was Peter Jean-Paul, with his presentation, 'Investigating the value proposition of Energy Saving Devices'. Peter also took out the Audience Vote for the 2019 Doctoral Competition. Peter went on to represent AUT at the Asia-Pacific Competition in Brisbane, Australia on 4 October, 2019.

The 2019 Postgraduate Research Symposium, inclusive of the AUT 3MT Competition finals, was sponsored by:

AUT ShopAUT Sport & Fitness CentresCycloneUBIQ

AUTSACounter / Newsfeed / Refuel / Kaife / K101Piko

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