3 Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition

On the first of March 2016 Bath Spa University’s inaugural 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition was held in The Barn at Corsham Court. Challenged to present the entirety of their research thus far in a three-minute segment, and with only one slide, ten competitors took to the floor.

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The competition begins…

Each gave a professional, slick presentation that did justice to their respective topics. And of those presenting, it was Barbara Harrington who won with an engaging explanation of her project “Making Movies Matter”.

Barbara Harrington will go on to represent BSU nationally

Ella Simpson picked up second place with “From Fiction to Fact: bad stories making good”, while Kate Harding received the People’s Choice award for “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? Authenticity and Epistemic Justice in Historiographic Metafiction”.

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Ella Simpson came in second

Also taking part, in no particular order, were Caroline Kuhn (“Personal Learning Environments: the future kit to envision innovation”), Simon Selby (“Illuminating the internet’s dark side: Cyberbullying”), Victoria Barry (Chasing Galahad – Alternative Notions of Heroism in Post-war British Fiction”), Leandro Maia (“The Tacit Song”), Kate Langham (“Play as a Design Tool”), Georgine Hughes (“Adding Life to Years”) and Annabel Wynne (“Night Studies”).

Kate Harding won the People’s Choice award

Barbara Harrington will now go on to represent Bath Spa University at the national level, competing against other winners from universities across the UK.

Since 2008, with its establishment at the University of Queensland, Australia, the notion of the 3MT Competiton has spread like wildfire. Now over 170 universities from more than 18 countries compete annually, a number that looks only to spread.

3MT logo
The 3 Minute Thesis Competition has run since 2008


The strength of the 3MT Competition is in the benefits that it offers both to those who spectate and those who take part. In the current, enormously competitive, research climate, it is becoming increasingly imperative that researchers learn to promote their work, as well as carry it out.

As such, presenting with such a specific set of requirements, though difficult, offers a unique opportunity to help researchers focus the message of their work. Those involved with the competition have typically found it both challenging and invigorating.

Vice Provost for Research & Enterprise John Strachan delivers his closing thoughts

Several of our competitors, following the conclusion of the event, have offered their thoughts on the process and what they gained from it. Ella Simpson found that she could,

“think of nothing else that would have made me compress the whole straggling, incoherent mess of my half formed PhD into a three minute bullet of targeted research”.

This was something that Simon Selby reiterated, adding that he had overcome an initially strong skepticism,

“When I first heard about the 3m process I had major reservations and thought it would probably just be another unwanted distraction. However, having now taken part I could not have been more wrong – I am a complete convert”.

The 3 Minute Thesis competition will now be run at BSU annually

Building on the success of this first event, the 3 Minute Thesis Competition will now be held at Corsham Court annually, with the aim of fostering a stronger sense of community among our researchers, while also providing a platform for growth and development.

If you are interested in taking part next year, then several options are available to keep track of the latest events and developments in the researcher development calendar. The social media savvy among you can follow the Research Support Office (RSO) at @BathSpaResearch, where all the latest events are posted, along with links to relevant information, and more.

There is also the option of checking the researcher development diary, found here, where further information about the researcher development series, and the wider functions of the Research Support Office can be accessed.




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