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University of Melbourne 3 Minute Thesis Competition

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2014 University of Melbourne 3MT® Grand Final

After last year's stellar performances to a sell-out crowd, we're excited to again bring you compelling, thought-provoking and engaging three minute talks on topics of public interest from the finalists of the University of Melbourne's 3 Minute Thesis Competition. Please join us:

When Thursday 25 September
Time 2.30pm - 4.30pm
Venue Auditorium, Melbourne Brain Centre, Kennedy Myer Building - 30 Royal Parade, Parkville.
Tickets This is a free event but RSVP is essential. Register here to reserve your seats in the audience at the 3MT® Grand Final.
Speakers and topics Finalists will be announced shortly.

If you can't make it to the Brain Centre, but have some time to spare, why not drop by the Gryphon Gallery where we will be live streaming the Grand Final on the day. There's no need to register to attend the live stream, and you can come and go according to your busy schedule.


The heats have given us some top quality presentations. Thanks to everyone who's taken part so far. Congratulations to the people below going through to the semi-finals on Tuesday 2 and Thursday 4 September:

  • Jacqueline Heath from Dentistry with P-Ging: The bacterium destroying our gums through its toxin delivery
  • Jonathan Noonan from Opthalmology with Blood vessel function in diabetic eyes
  • Cameron Ludemann from Agriculture with Methane Medicine for Mavis
  • Bevan Main from Pharmacology with Interfering with Parkinson’s Disease progression
  • Camila Alvarez from Infrastructure with Predicting Floods in Remote Areas: Let’s use our satellites
  • Jared Horvath from Psychological Sciences with Electrical Brain Modulation: Science or Science-Fiction
  • Betty Kao from Paediatrics with Gamma-globin: a spare tire
  • Greg Donoghue from Education with How educational neuroscience can enhance children's learning & wellbeing
  • Amy Loughman from Psychological Sciences with The Silent Storm of Epilepsy
  • Hannah Larsen from Animal Welfare with Why Did the Chicken Cross the Range?
  • Johanna Tan from Audiology with Pitching Tones to the Deaf
  • Anika Granderson from Land and Environment with Islands at risk? Local perspectives on climate change and resilience in the south pacific
  • Alicia Heath from Population and Global Health with The Vitamin Detouring death in cardiovascular disease
  • Peter Kriesner from Genetics with How can we (better) spread Wolbachia, and why should you care?
  • Amanda Douglass-Parker from Optometry and Vision Sciences with What have I got doc? Eye movements in Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Edith Holloway from Ophthalmology with Regaining sight of what's important
  • Lawrence Lau from Surgery with Donor Liver Assessment: Lessons from a Used Car Salesmen
  • Santushi Amarasuriya from Population and Global Health with Undergraduate Despair: Lighting up the Dark Tunnel

Upcoming 3MT® events*


Tuesday, 2 September 2014, 10.30am - 12.30pm Gryphon Gallery, 1888 Building; and

Thursday, 4 September 2014, 2.00pm - 4.00pm Gryphon Gallery, 1888 Building

Grand Final

Thursday 25 September 2014
2.30pm to 4.30pm
Auditorium, Melbourne Brain Centre, Kennedy Myer Building, 30 Royal Parade, Parkville
Secure your place in the audience of the Grand Final

U21 Virtual 3MT® Competition Final (for Melbourne winner) October 2014
Trans-Tasman Competition (for Melbourne winner) 3 November 2014, University of Western Australia

*Please note: The University of Melbourne 3MT® Competition key dates above are subject to change. We will add further details (times, locations etc.) to the website as they become available.

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

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