Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs

CHOP/PENN Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT)

2022 Three Minute Thesis Hosted by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania

Three minutes to describe your research? Challenge Accepted.

3MT® develops the ability of researchers to communicate the significance and outcomes of their projects in a short space of time. 3MT® was designed to develop skills that will give researchers an important career advantage.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs (ATOP) and University of Pennsylvania’s Biomedical Postdoc Programs (BPP) Office are jointly hosting a virtual Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT).

All postdoctoral research trainees who are The University of Pennsylvania, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, The Monell Chemical Senses Center, The Swarthmore College & The Wistar Institute based are eligible to participate in this competition. Participants will submit a video adhering to the guidelines described on the event page. Each video will be evaluated by our judges according to the Three Minute Thesis Criteria. On the day of the virtual event, first and second-place winners will be announced.

Registration Reopens Soon!

Were you hoping to register for the 2022 CHOP/Penn 3MT competition?  Hold tight, we're planning to reopen registration soon.  Please check back again in December.

If you’ve already registered, you’re all set. We’ll reach out with additional information soon!

Information Session

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a competition that challenges postdocs to communicate the significance of their research projects to a general audience in just 3 minutes. On September 22, 2022, during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, we hosted our first information session. At this session, Olivia Chesniak, Academic Programs Officer at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, discussed the competition details and Mallory Lopez, Principal Linguist at Language ConnectED, gave some great presentation tips and strategies!

3MT Introduction


All postdoctoral research trainees who are active BPP postdocs (UPenn, CHOP, Monell, Swarthmore and Wistar) and PhD-level research staff are eligible to participate in this competition.


  • 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) is 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).
  • The decision of the judging panel is final

Judging Criteria

Comprehension & Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/ or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • 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?

Engagement & Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize 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?

Check out 3MT’s Virtual Competitor Guide website for lighting, sound and background tips.  The guide also includes general tips:

  • Filmed on the horizontal;
  • Filmed on a plain background;
  • Filmed from a static position;
  • Filmed from one camera angle;
  • Contain a 3MT title slide (at beginning);
  • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/ cut to)


Check out last year's top three presentations: Beth Harvey (Winner), Ettya Fremont (Runner-Up), and Vrathasha Vrathasha (Runner-Up)


The Three Minute Thesis is a professional and highly engaging international research communication competition that celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

“It is a reality that many PhD students will need to communicate their ideas and results to people who may not necessarily have expertise in their field. 3MT® develops the ability of students to communicate the significance and outcomes of their project in a short space of time.” -Professor Alastair McEwan, Dean of UQ’s Graduate School.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. 3MT is a registered trademark of The University of Queensland. The 3MTlogo may not be used without permission from UQ and use of the trademark must comply with brand guidelines.



The first 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 Research Higher Degree students competing. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Due to its adoption in numerous universities, a multi-national event was developed, and the Inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2010.

Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide.

In November 2013, the first Universitas 21 (U21) 3MT competition was held with several universities from around the world competing in a virtual competition.

2016 brought an expansion of the Trans-Tasman 3MT competition to include a South-East Asia and North-East Asia. This competition is now called the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition.

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