UCD ThesisIn3 Competition

ThesisIn3 Logo

Graduate Studies are proud to announce the first annual UCD ThesisIn3 competition.


The UCD ThesisIn3 supports PhD students in their development as confident research communicators.


Doctoral students are challenged to present their research in three minutes, using only one slide, to a non-specialist audience. Entrants must distil their niche subjects and intensive research into bite-sized presentations that will inform and entertain the general public.

The winner of ThesisIn3 will go on to represent UCD in the Universitas21 Three Minute Thesis Competition, where they will compete with doctoral researchers from all over the globe. The winner will also receive a €250 One-For-All voucher to spend at a store of their choice. Two Runners-Up will serve as ambassadors for UCD Doctoral research on the Graduate Studies website, with recordings of their presentations placed there. The two Runners-Up will each receive a €100 One-For-All voucher.

Entrants are required to submit an abstract outlining their research in accessible, layman’s terms and a short bio to graduatestudies@ucd.ie by Friday 6 April 2018.

A selection of these applicants will be chosen to present on the day. Successful applicants will be notified by April 30th.

The event will take place on Wednesday 23 May 2018, from 12-2PM in the Moore Auditorium, O’Brien Centre for Science.

All members of the UCD community are welcome to attend as spectators.

For full terms and conditions, please see the dropdown menu below.

For general enquiries, please email: graduatestudies@ucd.ie.


You can follow the event at #UCDThesisin3


1.  Explain why your research needs to be done.

Why is your research important? Why does it need to be carried out now? What are the expected or potential outcomes of your work?


2.  Tell a tale about your research.

The audience will be interested in research, but generally, people love to learn about other people. In explaining to your topic, perhaps include a personal anecdote. What brought you to this topic? What motivates you? What does your Doctoral research mean to you personally?


3.  Use a metaphor.

You may be explaining complex concepts that man very little to those outside your field. To overcome this, think of a real-world example that reflects what you are trying to describe.


4.  Use humour

This event aims to inform, educate and entertain. Injecting a little humour at the right point in your talk can make your presentation memorable and further engage your audience.


5.  Create mystery.

Pique interest with the unexpected. Perhaps use an image that is immediately associated with your work, start by telling a seemingly unrelated tale. Provoke a natural curiosity in your audience.



1.  Do not patronise.

Your audience will be non-specialist, but intelligent. Stick to general, clear language that a college-educated individual would understand.


2.  Do not overload your slide.

With a single slide in a short time-frame, simplicity is key. Stick to image over text.


3.  Use jargon.

Discipline-specific terms or concepts will need to be explained, and three minutes does not allow for detailed elaboration.  


ThesisIn3 Top Tips For Your Three Minute Presentation

  1. All entrants must be currently registered full or part-time Doctoral Research students at UCD. Doctoral students of all stages are eligible to enter.
  2. Presentations are strictly limited to three minutes. Any student whose presentation exceeds three minutes duration will be immediately disqualified.
  3. Only one slide is permitted. This single slide cannot have any animation, audio/visual, movement or zoom effects. The full slide on-screen at the outset of the presentation must remain static for the duration of the talk.
  4. No extra audio or visual materials are permitted – images, recordings etc.
  5. No props are permitted – objects, costumes, instruments or equipment.
  6. Presentations are to be spoken word only – no singing, rapping or reciting etc can be included.
  7. The presentation will be deemed to have started when the student begins speaking or makes an initial gesture.
  8. There will be three prizes awarded, one winner and two runners up.
  9. The winner will be put forward as UCD’S entry to the Universitas21 Three Minute Thesis Competition, requiring the winning presentation to be filmed. By taking part in the UCD competition, all entrants will be deemed to have consented to same.
  10. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final. 


UCD ThesisIn3 Terms & Conditions - Presentations

  1.  The winner of UCD ThesisIn3 will be put forward as UCD’S entry to the Universitas21 Three Minute Thesis Competition, requiring the winning presentation to be filmed. By taking part in the UCD competition, all entrants will be deemed to have consented to same.
  2. All terms and conditions for ThesisIn3 presentations remain in place for the presentation being recorded – please see T&C document for full details.
  3. The video must be three minutes in length.
  4. The audio must be continuous over the three minutes, no breaks or edits are permitted.
  5. The video must be filmed from a static position – no zoom, cuts or camera movement in any direction is permitted.
  6. No additional media or audio is permitted in the video – only a recording of the presentation.
  7. Presentations are deemed to have commenced when the student indicates that they are beginning their presentation, whether through movement or beginning to speak.
  8. The decision of the Universitas21 adjudicating panel is final. 


UCD ThesisIn3 Terms & Conditions - Video Recording

Read about the Universitas21 Three Minute Thesis Competition here.

View last year's Universitas21 entries here.