The 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) program is designed to help students develop the communication skills necessary to make a compelling oral presentation on the value and impact of their research to a non-specialist audience. As a research communication competition, the goal of 3MT is for students to articulate the significance of their research without using jargon, field-specific terminology, and other language unfamiliar to those outside their fields of study.
With years and years of academic training, 3MT presenters must meet the challenge of consolidating and crystallizing the how and why of their research into an engaging and comprehensible three minute presentation. Facing a post-graduate environment in which competition for employment continually increases and the availability of funding dollars continually decreases, a student’s ability to quickly and effectively articulate the value of their research contributions to a wide variety of non-specialist audiences is critical.
In 2008 the University of Queensland in Australia held the first official 3MT competition. There were 160 competitors in that first year, but today, with the international adoption of the 3MT program there are over 17 countries participating worldwide.
The inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT multinational event was held in 2010 and 2013 saw the first ever Universitas 21 (U21) 3MT competition, with universities from around the world participating.