INL hosts the 3-Minute Thesis competition, showcasing Doctoral Research talent

April 3, 2024

Last week, INL organised its highly anticipated Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, providing an exciting showcase of doctoral research excellence. The 3MT is an initiative that celebrates the exciting research conducted by INL PhD candidates.

The 3MT aims to develop early stage researchers’ presentation and research communication skills. It provides support for PhD candidates to effectively explain their research and its significance in just three minutes, using language suitable for a non-specialist audience.

Embracing the challenge of condensing months/years of rigorous study into a mere three minutes, 24 PhD candidates from diverse research areas at INL stepped up to the INL auditorium, aiming to captivate the audience of 100+ attendees.

The three rounds were held on March 26th, 27th, and 28th. After intense deliberation, the top five candidates were nominated, with their presentations showcasing both academic rigor and compelling storytelling.

Alexandra Alves, PhD candidate in the Quantum and Linear-Optical Computation group, highlighted the significance of accessible science communication, stating, “As PhD students we often present our work to expert audiences, but more approachable science communication is lacking. So it was both challenging and fun to try to condense my research topic into 3 minutes and for a diverse crowd.”

For Adriana Carneiro, third year PhD candidate in the Medical Devices group, the 3MT presented multifaceted challenges, as she noted, “More than just a competition, the 3MT was a challenge in many different ways. Not only speaking of the limited time to summarise years of research, but also to do it in a fun, uncomplicated and engaging way.”

Marisol Dias, also in the third year of the PhD program in the Food Processing and Nutrition group, emphasised the broader impact of the competition, stating, “The 3MT pitch gave me the opportunity to explain to a general audience what I’m doing in my PhD and its importance for society. Having the capacity to ‘shrink’ everything about my thesis into 3 minutes was a very helpful exercise for sharpening my focus, improving my communication skills and explain in an easy and clear way the importance of my research.”

Reflecting on her experience, the first year PhD candidate Mafalda Neto, also from the Food Processing and Nutrition group, shared, “As a person who dreadfully fears public speaking, the 3MT competition was a very fun and gratifying experience that allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and share my research work with the entire INL community.”

Echoing this feeling, Tiago Moura, second year PhD candidate from the Water Quality research group, emphasised the camaraderie promoted by the competition, stating “The 3MT competition, above all, is a great opportunity for PhD candidates at INL to connect and share their work. It is challenging to find a way to share the context and motivation of a thesis in such a short time, but also rewarding to shake off the nerves and share science with peers of all seniorities.”

The competition showcased the remarkable talent and dedication of INL’s doctoral researchers, emphasising INL’s commitment to developing academic excellence and effective science communication. The final presentation will be held at INL’s Annual Research Symposium on April 24th.

Text by Catarina Moura, Science Communication Officer
Photography by Patrícia Barroso, Catarina Moura and Filipa Bernardo