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University of Melbourne 3 Minute Thesis Competition

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Vote for Unimelb 3MT® winner Bevan Main in the U21 Virtual 3MT® Competition

As winner of the University of Melbourne 3MT®, Bevan Main is Melbourne's entry into the international online U21 3MT® Competition. 3MT® winners from 17 universities in ten countries are competing for three prizes:

  • The Judges’ First Place Award (US$2,500 U21 travel grant)
  • The Judges’ Highly Commended Award (US$500) and
  • People's Choice Award (US$300 and an animated video of their presentation created by 99Scholars).

Watch Bevan’s video and vote now until 20 October. Good luck Bevan!

Parkinson's Disease research wins the 2014 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Bevan MainCongratulations Bevan Main from Pharmacology in Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, for taking out this year’s 3 Minute Thesis Competition Grand Final.

Bevan researches Parkinson’s Disease, looking specifically at slowing down the progression of the disease by suppressing the immune response in the brain. Mr Main says that participating in the 3MT® has provided him with the opportunity to reflect on his research and has given him the skills to convey the importance of his work to the general public.

‘Sometimes in the competitive environment that is scientific research, we can develop a narrow focus and lose sight of how it benefits the community,’ says Mr Main. ‘The 3MT has provided me with the skills to make an impact by conveying the importance of my work to the general public.’

3MT® judge, Simon Clews, Director of the Writing Centre for Scholars & Researchers said that all four judges were impressed by the way Bevan communicated so much information about what is obviously very complex research in such a clear and comprehensible fashion.

‘He left us in no doubt as to the importance of what he is doing and, in the ultimate test of his communication skills, he really made us care about the outcomes,’ says Dr Clews.

Mr. Main has been awarded a $4,500 travel scholarship, which he plans to use to attend a conference in the United States, which focuses on neuroscience and central nervous system disorder.

‘The scholarship prize will enable me to liaise with many of the top scientists in the field of neuroscience, will assist in adding to the depth of my knowledge and increase the quality of my work, benefitting not only myself but also the community that supports my studies.

Second place went to Ainka Granderson from the Faculty of Science. Ms Granderson gave an impassioned account of how local communities in Vanuatu are addressing the risks of climate change.

Third place was tied this year and was awarded to Lawrence Lau from Surgery and Jared Horvath from Psychological Sciences, both who presented extremely entertaining accounts of their research. Mr Lau researches the importance of ‘test-driving’ donor livers prior to transplantation, and Mr Horvath’s research looks at electrical brain stimulation and whether it makes us smarter. It turns out it does not.

The People's Choice Award went to Edith Holloway from Opthalmology for her presentation on managing depression in those with vision loss through problem-solving therapies.

Next on the 3MT® calendar is the Universitas21 Virtual Competition in October followed by the Trans-Tasman Competition at UWA in November. Bevan Main will represent the University of Melbourne in both events.

We'd also like to thank all ten of the Melbourne finalists for their outstanding research and performances. This competition would not be possible without you.


Cameron Ludemann from Agriculture Can greater sugar in grass reduce methane from cows?
Bevan Main from Pharmacology (1st place) Is immunity the key to effective Parkinson's therapies?
Camila Alvarez from Infrastructure Engineering Improving flood prediction in remote areas of Australia through satellite imagery.
Hanna Larsen from Animal Welfare Do free range hens vote with their feet?
Ainka Granderson from Land and Environment (2nd place)

How do we mobilize and communicate with local communities in Vanuatu to address risks from climate change?

Amy Loughman from Psychological Sciences Could crackling static in the brain be the key to forecasting problems in epilepsy?
Jared Horvath from Psychological Sciences (3rd place) Zapping your way to a better you: can we really use electricity to make us smarter?
Johanna Tan from Audiology What factors will improve outcomes for bionic ear users who speak tonal languages?
Lawrence Lau from Surgery (3rd place) Taking donor livers for a test-drive before transplantation.
Edith Holloway from Opthalmology (People's Choice Award) Managing depression within low vision services using Problem-Solving Therapy: A new model of care.

3MT® Grand Final video

Missed the Grand Final? Not to worry! The 3MT® Grand Final video will be available shortly right here.

Upcoming 3MT® events

U21 Virtual 3MT® Competition Final Vote for Bevan! Voting now open until 20 October. Bevan is competing against 3MT® winners from U21 universities around the world.
Trans-Tasman Competition 3 November 2014, University of Western Australia
Go Bevan!


What is the 3MT®?

Jonathan Gotleib The 3MT® is a research communication competition. The exercise challenges PhD students to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. 3MT® develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and increases graduate researchers' capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to an intelligent, but non-specialist audience.

Benefits for participants


  • Learn to communicate your research well.
  • Build confidence and improve your public speaking skills.
  • Demystify your research in the eyes of the University community and the general public.

  • Network and make friends with other graduate researchers.

  • Begin building your public profile.

  • Communicate your research through print, radio and video media.

  • It’s a lot of fun and generates interest in what you're doing.

  • Book vouchers and other fab prizes up for grabs thoughout the competition!
  • The 3MT® also supports the University's Doctoral Attribute: "the capacity to disseminate the results of research and scholarship by oral and written communication to a variety of audiences", and meets the following criteria:

    • Internal and external promotion of the value of PhD research
    • Promotes research culture to all levels of university
    • Can be mapped onto PhD progress/skills development
  • Watch the Grand Final competitors and winning presentations from the 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 University of Melbourne 3MT® Competitions.


1st Place
  • Travelling scholarship to the value of $4,500

  • Gold medal
  • A perpetual trophy - the McPhee Cup
  • A place in the Universitas21 Virtual 3MT Final in October 2014
  • A place in the Trans-Tasman 3MT® Competition at the University of Western Australia in November 2014
2nd Place
  • Prize to the value of $1000

  • Silver medal

3rd Place
  • Prize to the value of $500

  • Bronze medal

People's Choice Award Winner
  • Apple iPad
  • Their 3MT presentation animated into a short video thanks to 99 Scholars.

99 Scholars webtile

Sally Sherwen, 1st place, University of Melbourne 3MT Competition, 2013

"The 3MT competition allowed me to focus on the big picture of my research and really articulate why such work is of significance. My communication skills have certainly come a long way as a result of the competition. All the extra training and skills you gain throughout the process are extremely valuable. Good communication skills certainly give you an edge as a researcher. The extra training and friends I met throughout the 3MT process has been a real highlight of my PhD. Being a part of the competition allowed me to share my research with so many people. As a result of the competition, I have had the opportunity to travel to present at seminars and conferences as well as presentations for the general public. This has really extended the reach of my research beyond the scientific community to a much wider audience."

Bernd Merkel, 2nd place, University of Melbourne 3MT Competition, 2013

"When preparing for the 3MT many questions came up about my research, which made me aware of the different aspects of my study. Being deep into a certain research area, like randomised clinical trials on Alzheimer's Disease, can sometimes detract from what is important and interesting for the general public. Since doing the 3MT, I have gained more confidence in talking about and presenting my research. Important key phrases have been "automated" into my brain. The 3MT has really allowed me to engage the wider public about my research. I had two very exciting interviews on ABC Radio and 3TripleR. Participating in the competition has really helped me personally, and has put my research on the map."

Dr Simon R Crouch, 3rd place, University of Melbourne 3MT Competition, 2012

Simon Crouch presenting his 3MT "An opportunity to talk about your research to a captive audience. A chance to think about it in a creative way. The ability to win prizes and meet other likeminded researchers. Why wouldn't you want to compete in the 3MT? These are just some of the reasons why I signed up for the 3MT, twice! I learnt a lot about public speaking and presenting my work in an engaging manner. The improvements I saw in all participants, across workshops, heats and the finals, were phenomenal and I made some great friends. I will always remember it as a significant part of my PhD experience at Melbourne."

Three Minute Thesis (3MT® ) is an academic competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. For additional information or queries about the 3MT®, please email