Three Minute Thesis Live Final, May 2017

L-R: Patricia Soares, Lujain Mirza, Bahar Esfahani, Madeleine Conaghan, Qiaoyi Wang, Myrsini Athinaiou, Majed Al-Jefri

Our Three Minute Thesis (3MT) live final, one of the highlights of this year’s Festival of Postgraduate Research, brought an enthusiastic audience to Falmer to cheer on seven competitors (pictured above). Prof Tara Dean introduced the event, sharing her enthusiasm for this prestigious, global initiative and reminding us of the rules of 3MT: presenters must explain their research to a lay audience in just three minutes, using only one slide. Anyone going over the three minute limit would be disqualified.

For the first time, Brighton was participating in the national 3MT competition hosted by Vitae, open to research students who have passed transfer. Wanting to give early stage doctoral students the chance to join in the fun and practice their presentation skills, we ran our live event with two categories, pre- and post-transfer. Meet the competitors:

1. Majed Al-Jefri (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Automatic Assessment of Online Health Information Quality
2. Myrsini Athinaiou (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Risk management in the rescue of interconnected health systems
3. Qiaoyi Wang (School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Science): Modification of Antimicrobial Nanoparticles for Functional Textiles—A Potential Tool to Reduce the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance

4. Madeleine Conaghan (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Identifying and Reducing the Drivers Cognitive Burden
5. Bahar Khayamian Esfahani (School of Computing, Engineering & Maths): Prevention of skin cancer in young males through using a gender-aware HCD approach
6. Lujain Mirza (School of Media): Who are Saudi women?
7. Patricia Soares (Brighton & Sussex Medical School): What’s the role of personalised medicine in asthma and eczema?

The stage is set.

This was a truly international line up with only one of the seven presenters having English as their first language. Two 3MT training workshops had been held earlier in the year as part of our Researcher Development Programme, so some of our competitors had been refining their scripts and practising their presentation for months.

Our judging panel was six strong and comprised Prof Alison Bruce, Prof Tara Dean, Dr Mark Erickson, Prof Darren Newbury, Prof Neil Ravenscroft and Dr Susan Sandeman. In addition to the judges’ awards in the two categories, the People’s Choice Award was to be decided by a poll of votes from audience members. The standard of presentations was excellent and after a break for judges’ deliberations and audience voting, the winners were announced. Congratulations to Qiaoyi Wang who scooped the pre-transfer prize and double congratulations to Lujain Mirza who took home both the judges’ post-transfer prize and the People’s Choice Award. Lujain, who will now go on to represent the University of Brighton in the national semi-final, said:

‘After attending the workshop for the 3MT I decided not to participate, but then one of Brighton University’s organisers told us “If fear is the only thing preventing you from joining, then you should participate to get over your fears.” This was the statement that encouraged me to join. I never imagined I would win, especially since English isn’t my first language and given my fear of speaking in front of a large audience. Winning was not the only thing I gained, but I met very nice people and made new friends. I also tested my limits and conquered my fears. This was a great experience that I would recommend to everyone.’

Watch our video of the live event below, and if you’re inspired to participate next year, keep an eye open for our training workshops. Congratulations to all participants – and best of luck to Lujain as she goes forward to the next stage!

Three Minute Thesis Competition

Want to watch the live final? Book your free place now!

Registration closed for entering the Three Minute Thesis competition


An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present.

Your time limit… 3 minutes.

Call for Entries

Could you explain your doctoral research to a non-specialist audience within the time it takes to boil an egg? Would you like the chance to win £3,000 in the UK 3MT final? Then we want to hear from you!

In 2017, Brighton Doctoral College will be participating in the national Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for the very first time. Our live final on Wednesday 17th May at Falmer promises to be one of the most memorable events in our Festival of Postgraduate Research, with the winner not only taking home a £400 cash prize but going on to represent Brighton University at the national level. Participating in this internationally renowned competition offers you a unique opportunity to raise your research profile; develop your communication, presentation and public engagement skills; hone the message of your research; network – and of course, have some fun!

If the prospect of successfully presenting your research within three minutes seems daunting and just plain crazy, we’d encourage you to attend our 3MT training workshops. And if you’re an early-stage student who’s not yet eligible to enter the official competition, you can still enter the Brighton competition! We’ve had a number of early-stage students express an interest in participating, so we’ve created our own category for pre-transfer students. Find out more here and register by 3rd April. All students are welcome to attend our workshop on 23rd March, either to practise or just watch others practise.

*Post-transfer by our video submission deadline, 30th April

About the Competition

3MT is an academic competition for doctoral researchers developed by the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008. The competition challenges you to present your work in just three minutes, using only one, static powerpoint slide. The UK 3MT competition is hosted by Vitae, the global leader in supporting the professional development of researchers, and their grand final will be held in Birmingham on 11th September, 2017.

At Brighton, we’ll be offering 3MT training and practice workshops followed by a first round online heat where video submissions will be shortlisted by an internal academic judging panel. Shortlisted entrants will then go on to present at our live final during our Festival of Postgraduate Research.

Key Dates

Internal competition (hosted by Brighton Doctoral College)
Feb 8th Workshop 1: introduction to the competition, advice, resources, idea generation and presentation preparation. BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE
March 23rd Workshop 2: practice session with peer and staff feedback. BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE
April 3rd Deadline for registration for University of Brighton competition
(Easter break: Friday 31 March – Monday 24th April)
April 30th Deadline for submission of 3MT videos for University of Brighton shortlisting
May 9th Announcement of finalists (post and pre-transfer) for University of Brighton’s 3MT competition
May 17th Live Brighton final at Falmer! 1st prize (post-transfer): £400. 1st prize (pre-transfer) £125. People’s choice prize: £250
National competition (hosted by Vitae)
July 7th  Deadline for video submission of Brighton’s winning entry to Vitae
July – Aug  Online semi-final, competing against other UK universities
Mid-August Six finalists announced
September 11th Live UK final at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham at Vitae’s Researcher Development International Conference during the gala dinner. 1st prize (TBC): £3k grant. People’s Choice prize (TBC): opportunity to present at The Royal Institution.


Eligibility, rules and judging criteria

The national competition is open to doctoral students who have passed transfer* by the date of their first presentation (taken as the date of their video submission to Brighton) and who have not had their viva by the date of the Vitae national final on 11th September. Our Brighton competition is open to both pre- and post-transfer students but only the post-transfer winner will be put forward to the national semi-final.

The rules and judging criteria of 3MT are set down by the University of Queensland and while they are simple, they are also strict! Make sure you have understood what is required of you and how your submission will be assessed before you commit to the competition.

* EdD students should be within two years of thesis submission

How to Enter

  1. Sign up for our two training workshops via PhD Manager. We’d strongly encourage you to attend these sessions but if you can’t, don’t worry. You can still participate in the competition.
  2. Submit your online registration form to us by 3rd April.
  3. Upload your three minute video (unedited) to us by 30th April. See our 3MT Rules and Judging Criteria for full submission details.

If you wish to join the 3MT competition, please ensure you’re available for our live final at Falmer on 17th May 2017 and for the national final (post-transfer students only) in Birmingham on 11th September 2017. If you are selected to compete in the UK final, your expenses will be paid for by Brighton Doctoral College.

Resource Pack