Three Minute Thesis


All Salford postgraduate researchers are invited to take part in a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Heats of the competition will be held in the schools in the run up to SPARC 2020 and the university-wide finals will take place on the first day of the conference. There will be a prize for the overall Salford 3MT winner, and they will also be invited to participate in the UK National 3MT Competition, with a chance to win a substantial cash prize to spend on public engagement activities. 

Entrant Eligibility:

  • Doctoral candidates who have not yet had their viva at the time of the SPARC2020 final (1st July 2020)
  • Semi-final entries may be filmed during the local competition or separately
  • The same rules apply at each stage of the competition (1 slide, no props, 3 minutes maximum)
  • No individual entries to the online semi-finals are permitted - the SPARC winner will be the only Salford candidate put forward to the next stage of the national competition


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, 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.
  • 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 - sorry!).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

School Heats:

  • School of Arts & Media
    The SPARC finalist representing the School of Arts & Media is Vashti Suwa Gbolagun.
  • School of Health & Society
    The SPARC finalist representing the School of Health & Society are Sue Skidmore and Nazemin Gilanliogullari.
  • School of Environment & Life Sciences
    The SPARC finalists representing the School of Environment & Life Sciences are Neha Tomar and John Nuttall.
  • Salford Business School
    The SPARC finalists representing Salford Business School are Pasan Gunaratne and Nor Hafizah Yusup.
  • School of the Built Environment
    The SPARC finalists representing the School of the Built Environment are Magdalene Iheme and Maryam Farzin Moghaddam.
  • School of Computing, Science & Engineering
    The SPARC finalist representing the School of Computing, Science & Engineering is Philippa Demonte.

About the Three Minute Thesis

The three minute thesis format was originally developed by the University of Queensland, but competitions are now run in Graduate Schools around the world. 3MT is a ‘research pitch’ which compresses your research interests and motivation into 180 seconds, and communicates this to an audience outside of your immediate specialism. You can accompany your presentation with a single, static power point slide, but this is not compulsory. The aim is to sell your research, engage people’s interest and encourage the audience to ask you more during the discussion period. It offers presenters the chance to speak to a larger and more cross disciplinary audience than a conventional presentation.

Judging Criteria

• Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
• Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
• Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes (where applicable, i.e. for final year students)?
• Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?

• Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
• Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise their research?
• Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
• Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?

• Was the thesis topic, research significance and, where applicable, key results and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
• Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
• Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
• Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
• Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?


Download a copy of the judging criteria and scoring sheet.


There are lots of resources and videos of 3MT presentations online including: 

About the Three Minute Thesis – University of Queensland

The UK National 3MT Competition– Vitae has loads of resources and videos of previous UK finalists, and a training video on presentation skills. For some of these resources you will need to sign in with a Vitae login (this is free to set up)

The thesis whisperer: ‘How to Sell your Thesis in 3 Minutes (or less)

You can get some inspiration from last year's SPARC final, and previous Salford 3MT winners Dr Gary Kerr from Environment & Life Sciences (2016) and Sean Hill from Computing, Science & Engineering (2015). There are further clips of other fantastic 3MT presentations given by our PGR students in previous years:

Alex Mastin (Environment & Life Sciences)

Sina Joneidy (Salford Business School)

Sue Bellass (Shool of Health & Society)

Diana-Madalina Stan (Environment & Life Sciences)

Henrike Greuel (School of Health & Society)