The annual three minute thesis competition pitches PhD and Research Masters students against each other to present their research in just three minutes.

Three minute thesis competition

Can you explain your thesis in just three minutes?

Eighteen of our talented research students did just that on 15 July at the UON Three Minute Thesis Final.


There was a range of fascinating topics presented to the judges and the crowd of academics, students, family and friends.

First prize - Katrina Hogan

PhD (Law)
Katrina's topic is Creating an Australian Framework to Nurture Conscious Capitalism.

Second prize - Kurtis Budden

PhD (Immunology & Microbiology)
The title of Kurtis' thesis is Three Minute Faeces: Our Helpful Neighbours in COPD.

Third prize - Patrick Cooper

PhD (Psychology)
Patrick's topic is Theta Oscillatory Networks Influence Individual Differences in Cognitive Control Ability.

Patrick is the highest ranked confirmed PhD candidate and will go on to represent UON at the Trans-Tasman final on October 2nd. The video of his presentation will be made available after the final.


View all our 3MT finalists at the University of Newcastle's YouTube page.

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. 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 three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

You will be judged by a panel of three non-specialists on the following criteria:

  1. Comprehension & Content:
    • 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?
    • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
    • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
    • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
    • 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?
  2. Engagement & Communication:
    • 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?
    • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
    • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?

The judges will score each competitor out of ten for each criterion.

First Prize - $1500

Second Prize - $1000

Third Prize - $500

The highest ranked student who is a confirmed PhD candidate wins the opportunity to represent UON at the National Trans-Tasman final at University of Queensland.

Each competitor in the UON final receives a voucher from the Co-op bookshop.

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