Three minutes and counting…

January 27th, 2014 · No Comments · Advisory, News Release, Outreach, Peers, Research, Students, graduate studies

Do graduate students “know their stuff” enough so that they can explain their research in a way that is easy for a lay audience to understand?

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition originally developed by The University of Queensland. 3MT® challenges graduate students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is open to all University of Manitoba graduate students in thesis-based programs. Each challenger will have three minutes, using only a single static slide as an illustration, to clearly explain the nature, goals and significance of his or her research.

Jay Doering, vice-provost (graduate education) and dean of graduate studies, says: “Graduate students conduct research at the cutting edge of technology and the leading edge of knowledge. The dissemination of their work is a core goal of post-secondary education. Furthermore, communicating ideas effectively is a life skill valued in both career and personal life.”

The University of Manitoba includes 3MT® as part of an overall strategy to provide career building opportunities for graduate students, promote research at the University of Manitoba and also connect with the broader university and surrounding community.

Today’s graduate students at the University of Manitoba are the source of tomorrow’s innovation. They are explorers and trailblazers who bring ideas to life and propel our economy. The portable defibrillator mounted on walls in hockey areas across Canada was likely the research topic of a graduate student in a university laboratory. The breakthrough that can potentially prevent H1N1 will likely be first presented at a graduate research seminar in medical school.

3MT® is no cakewalk. It takes years for a thesis to be researched and finalized-so boiling it all down to only three minutes to get the information across to a lay audience is quite a challenge. Challengers are evaluated by a panel of judges, with the audience voting for the People’s Choice winner at the Final Competition.

The emcee for the Final Competition will be Paul Samyn, editor, Winnipeg Free Press. Judges will be: Richard Cloutier, news director, CJOB; The Honourable Theresa Oswald, Minister of Jobs and the Economy; and Patricia Bovey, chair, University of Manitoba Board of Governors.

For the 2014 Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition at the University of Manitoba, there were 135 applicants. Of these trailblazing students, 27 of them will be selected to compete in one of three heats. Only nine participants will make it through the winnowing process to the final competition. The heats will be held on February 6, 11 and 13, 2014.

The Final Competition will be held on February 25, 2014, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Robert B. Schultz Lecture Theatre at St. John’s College, Fort Garry Campus. The public is invited to cheer on our innovative graduate students as they compete in the Final Competition. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

The top three winners from each heat will receive mini iPads, while the prizes for the Final Competition are: $5,000 for First Place, $2,000 for Second Place and $1,000 for People’s Choice.

Last year’s winner was Leah (Wong) Guenther in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, who impressed the judges and audience with her creative explanation of her master’s thesis on wear-testing of orthopaedic materials. View her winning presentation here:

Regional 3MT® championships will be held in Canada for the first time in 2014, followed by a national competition later this year.

For more information, please contact Jay Doering, graduate studies, at: 204-474-9887, email:, or visit our 3MT® website at

Join the conversation on Twitter! Follow us at @umanitoba and tag your tweets with #3MT and #umanitoba

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