3 Minute Thesis Competition 2020

An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present; how about in just 3 minutes with the aid of a single slide? 

We are inviting DPhil students to do just that. The 3 Minute Thesis competition challenges doctoral candidates to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes to a non-specialist audience.

The Oxford Competition

After taking part in training (on 25 Feb), participants will take part in the the final, which this year will take place during the Researchers Career Conference on 25 March. The winner of the Oxford final will be entered into the national semi-finals, and if they are successful they will go on to the national final (last year in Birmingham) with their expenses paid to attend.

Up to 4 finalists will all be awarded a prize:

1st prize: £200
Runner-up prizes: £100
There are also prizes for winners in the national final: last year’s winner was awarded a £3,000 grant to spend on public engagement activity, sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to promote their research and to enhance their professional development.


The final takes on:

Weds 25 March | 16.15-17.00 | Manor Road Building | as part of the Researchers Career Conference.

At the final you will deliver your Three Minute Thesis to a panel of judges. 

By registering for the heat you confirm that you are available to attend the final on 25 March and are eligible.

Register here 



  • Deadline to register: 17 Feb 2020
  • Training: 25 Feb 2020
  • Final: 25 March 2020
  • July: national semi-finals (video judging)
  • Mid-Aug: National finalists announced
  • Mid September 2019: national final, location TBC


  • 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 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 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.

The competition will help you to develop your communication skills, vital to raise awareness of your work, seek support and obtain funding. You will be able to develop ways of explaining complex ideas in a way that is accessible and engaging for a non-specialist audience, raise the profile of your work, enhance your CV, and network with like-minded researchers.


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