2022 3MT® Competition at KU

Presentation Rules and Requirements

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Presentation Judging Criteria

Judges are educated professionals in a variety of positions in corporate, government, and non-profit industries. Judges will use a 1-7 scale (1 is worst, 7 is best) for two categories that are added together to produce a presenter’s score (14 is highest possible score). Judges’ scores for each presenter are averaged and those with the highest average in the Heats move on to the final round. The Finals will use the same evaluation scale process, and the person with the highest average receives the first place award, while the person with the second-highest average receives the second place award. Also, in the Finals, the audience will vote to determine the People’s Choice award (this person may also win the first or second place award). The two categories of presentation evaluation and their criteria are:

Comprehension and content

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question.
  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research.
  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research.

Engagement and communication

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience.
  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation.
  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention.

2022 3MT Competition at KU in the News

Graduate Students to Compete in Three Minute Thesis Competition

In less time than it takes to get through most television commercial breaks, University of Kansas graduate students will explain their cutting-edge research in a unique competition called the Three Minute Thesis, or 3MT.

Jacob Immel, the first-place winner of the 2021 competition, said condensing his research into such a short presentation was more challenging than expected. But it was something that has since proved beneficial to Immel while navigating graduate studies.

“It taught me to focus each of my projects on supporting the main theme of my dissertation,” Immel said. “I recommend every graduate student participate in the 3MT competition at KU to improve their communication skills and to find creative ways to explain complex ideas in simple terms.”

11 Graduate Students Advance to Three Minute Thesis Competition Finals

Eleven University of Kansas graduate students from four different academic units advanced to the finals of the Three Minute Thesis Competition.

“KU’s first round of the 3MT captured cutting-edge research from fields of physical, natural and social sciences; engineering; education and music," said Jennifer Roberts, vice provost for academic affairs and graduate studies. “Graduate student participants demonstrated the creativity, innovation and drive that ignites their own passion for research while effectively communicating the impact of their work to the community.

“It was both humbling and invigorating to see the amazing research KU’s graduate students are producing.”

Two Graduate Students Claim Prizes in KU’S 2022 3MT Competition

Sayuri Niyangoda, doctoral student in chemistry, won first place and $500 for her presentation, “Alzheimer’s Disease through the Eyes of a Fish.” Niyangoda also won the People’s Choice Award ($125) for her presentation. As the top finalist, Niyangoda will represent KU at the regional Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 3MT Competition, which will take place March 29-31, 2023, in Chicago, with expenses paid by the Graduate Studies office.

Kalin Baca, doctoral student in chemical engineering, earned second place ($250) for her presentation, “Recycling Refrigerants to Reduce Global Warming.” Baca’s research is currently being tested on a pilot scale and will soon be commercialized by her startup company, Iconium Engineering Company.

KU Graduate Students Compete in International 3-Minute Thesis Presentation

Founded by the University of Queensland, Australia, 3MT tasks graduate students to distill their research down to a three-minute speech, making it comprehensible for individuals with no expertise in their field. Jennifer Roberts, KU’s vice provost for academic affairs and graduate studies, said the competition provides graduate students with an opportunity to step outside their comfort zones.

Britt Crum-Cano, the economic development director for the City of Lawrence and a final round judge, was struck by the importance of the research presented in speeches. “I thought they were very good. They were very intriguing,” Crum-Cano said. “It’s encouraging to see students working on a lot of research that… could really impact the future of humanity.”