Three Minute Thesis (3MT) for Postdoctoral Fellows

What is the Three Minute Thesis (3MT)?

Take the 3MT challenge! Your research. 3 minutes. 1 slide.

The University of Toronto’s 3MT competition challenges postdoctoral fellows across the three campuses to present their research to a generalist audience in three minutes or less, with the help of just one static slide.

In 2022’s virtual competition, participants moved through a round of heats, with winners advancing to the final, where they presented to an audience of their peers as well as a diverse panel of judges across the university.

2024 3MT Competition Schedule

RoundDateRegister to Watch
Preliminary Heats 1-4Date / Time TBD
Semi-Finals Date / Time TBD
FinalsDate / Time TBD
3MT Competition Schedule

Congratulations to Our 2022 3MT for Postdoctoral Fellows Winners!

The Centre for Graduate Professional Development (CGPD) and School of Graduate Studies (SGS) wishes to express a big thank you and congratulations to all the ten postdoctoral scholars and finalists this year:

  • Dr. Jonathan Edwards, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
    “Speeding Up Electricity-Driven CO2 Conversion”
  • Dr. John Gibson, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry
    “Ultraviolet Light Disinfection of COVID-19 Virus: Breaking Barriers to Innovation”
  • Dr. Antonio Herrera Martin, David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics; Department of Statistical Sciences
    “Revealing Secret Lenses in the Universe”
  • Dr. Scott JessDepartment of Chemical and Physical Sciences, UTM
    “How Old is a Hot Spring?”
  • Dr. Tho Van Le, Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering
    “Propensity Toward the Use of Self-Driving Mobility Services”
  • Dr. Jimena Leyria, Department of Biology, UTM
    “Unmasking the Reproductive Biology of Kissing Bugs: Signals Involved in Insect Population Spread”
  • Dr. Dominic Owens, Structural Genomics Consortium
    “How to Beat Cellular Protein Recycling to Beat Cancer”

You can watch the keynote address by Dr. Adeiza Isiaka (Assistant Professor, Graduate Centre for Academic Communication) here.

Listen to the 2022 3MT for Postdoctoral Fellows Winners

First place and People’s Choice Award: Dr. Catharine Mielnik, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, “Allosteric Modulators: A New Class of Drug to Target the Endocannabinoid System“
Second place: Dr. Matt Jones, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, “Necro-Performance and the Global War on Terror“
Third place: Dr. Simon KC Lui, Department of Psychology, “How the Brain Updates Information“

Why You Should Participate in the 3MT for Postdoctoral Fellows

A great opportunity to practice public speaking, profile your research, compete in a supportive environment, and connect with your peers.

Outside of the opportunity to improve your communication skills and showcase your research, winning the 3MT also comes with monetary prizes.

Rules and Eligibility

Review the 3MT Postdoctoral Fellows rules and eligibility.

Eligibility, Rules, and Judging Criteria

  • Must be a registered postdoctoral fellow during the competition (i.e., May 2022).
  • 3MT® presentations must represent either their PhD dissertation or the primary research the postdoctoral fellow has conducted during their tenure.
  • Competitors must present online (for 2022) and agree to be video-recorded and photographed. They must also allow those video-recordings and photographs to be made public.

  • A single, static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations, or “movement” of any description are allowed), and the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration and remain in view for the duration 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 in standard oratory prose (i.e., no poems, raps or songs, other than those that may be the target of research).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Competitors will be allowed a mic check prior to officially beginning their presentation.
  • After a successful mic check, the presentation is considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.

Presentations will be assessed according to the criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted.

  • Did the presenter use language and terminology that was clear and understandable?
  • Was the pace of the talk effective?
  • Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (i.e., eye contact, voice modulation, body language, etc.) effectively?
  • Did the slide enhance, rather than detract from, the talk — was it clear, legible, and concise?
  • Did the talk help you to understand the research being undertaken and its potential impact?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and purpose of their research?
  • Did the presenter clearly indicate what is fascinating or compelling about their research?
  • Did the talk follow a logical sequence?
  • Was the talk engaging?
  • Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention?

How 3MT Works

Competitors progress from the preliminary heats to the semi-finals and then to the finals. The judges will award first, second, and third place, while the audience’s favourite presentation is awarded the people’s choice.

Do you have additional questions? Please contact Kevin Chavez Laxamana, CGPD Programming Coordinator at

Training and Resources

History of 3MT

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia in 2008. The 3MT competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

The idea for the 3MT competition came about at a time when the state of Queensland was suffering severe drought. To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, and many people had a three-minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom. The then Dean of the UQ Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, put two and two together and the idea for the 3MT competition was born.

Today there are more than 600 universities and institutions in over 65 countries that host annual 3MT competitions.

Previous U of T 3MT Postdoc Winners

U of T 3MT Postdoc Finals

  • First Place and People’s Choice: Dr. Catharine Mielnik, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, “Allosteric Modulators: A New Class of Drug to Target the Endocannabinoid System”
  • Second Place: Dr. Matt Jones, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, “Necro-Performance and the Global War on Terror”
  • Third Place: Dr. Simon KC Lui, Department of Psychology, “How the Brain Updates Information”

U of T 3MT Postdoc Finals

  • First Place: Dr. Augustine Joshua Devasahayam, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, “Overcoming the Barriers to Exercise Participation in Persons with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis”
  • Second Place: Dr. Liziane Bouvier, Sunnybrook Research Institute, “My Mouth Does Not Know How to Say the Words Anymore”
  • Third Place: Dr. Xiwen Zhang, Department of Physics, “Mission: Split that Water by Sunlight”
  • People’s Choice: Dr. Morteza Rezanejad, Department of Psychology, “Medial Representations for Grouping”