Benefits of running a Three Minute Thesis competition

We asked colleagues who have run 3MT at their institution to tell us some of the perceived benefits.

Benefits to institutions

To engage the senior management of the University in something different and building the profile of our research community as a result.

To emphasise the message that good communication is key.

To help build the student community across the disciplines.

An opportunity to raise the profile of postgraduate research both within the University, and externally.

To engage our sponsors in the activity.

This competition is a great addition to our Researcher Development Programme and an excellent way to showcase the work of our PhDs.

We ran our 2014 competition as part of our PG Offer Holder day, and an evaluation survey showed that the event really made an impression on prospective students who very much enjoyed the overview of what our PGRs from across the University are working on and to hear this conveyed in such an accessible way. Furthermore, having representation at UK level is invaluable to ensure the visibility of PGR research at [the university].

Benefits to individual researchers

I spoke with many of the PhD students who entered our competition and they felt it was a great opportunity to really focus on the message of their research.

We have learned from the experiences of our semi-finalists that for the individual researcher it can be a good networking opportunity.

Gives students a fresh and new opportunity to think about communicating their research to a wide audience.

To give [participants] an occasion to hear from each other about their work and its importance.

We’ve found that students really enjoy the experience and many comment on what a useful exercise it is, especially for PhD students in the latter stages of their research, to take some time out of poring over the nitty gritty detail of their work and get back to the core, back to why they are doing it in the first place and the impact they hope it will have, which renews their energy.

Some ... comment on how it improves their confidence, their public engagement skills and their English language (if English is not their first language), whilst others just enjoy meeting and hearing what other PGRs from across the University are working on.

Here’s a quote from one of our finalists: ‘I really enjoyed competing with other exceptional presenters. It was a fantastic experience for enhancing my second-language presenting skills and my confidence.’

Benefits to others

Audience members found the presentations to be really engaging and interesting. 

The academic judges were totally impressed with the standard of the presentations and really enjoyed the style of the competition – it is worth noting that our judges said they’d like to be involved in our 2015 competition!

As the organiser of our competition I found it an incredibly rewarding series of events.  I felt very proud of our PhD students who stood up in front of an audience and delivered their 3 minute pitches – all of which were to a standard that exceed my expectations and demonstrated they were committed to achieving well.