Can you explain thousands of hours of research in just three minutes?

Could you explain thousands of hours of your research – and its wider impact – in just three minutes?

That’s the challenge – and the fun – for McMaster graduate students and postdoctoral fellows competing at the University-wide Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Feb 11-13.

The 3MT provides an opportunity to hone those ever-important communication skills that can help students and postdocs transition into a career, whether it be in academia, industry, government or as an entrepreneur. The competition is also an opportunity to share their research with a broader audience.

No one knows “the power of the pitch” better than Innovation Factory. The non-profit regional innovation centre is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed through programs like the Lion’s Lair and Innovation Night.

Five reasons to perfect your pitch

Learning to breakdown complex ideas into understandable, relatable terms is a skill that every entrepreneur, researcher or innovator needs to master if they want to achieve success, according to the team at Innovation Factory.

From the Innovation Factory, here are five instances where being able to communicate – or pitch – your thesis more effectively is invaluable:

1. At conferences and networking events. You can convey why your research is important to people that may not be in your specific field.

2. During the job search. Once you’ve completed your graduate degree, employers want to understand your research quickly and in language they can easily understand. This skill will help you stand out.

3. When you defend your thesis. Being more confident when communicating your idea to a non-specialist audience will help your confidence when defending your thesis.

4. Commercializing your business. Potential stakeholders need to be able to see the path to market and see the long-term growth strategy, not just the research.

5. You can finally explain to your family and friends what it is that you actually do!


Join McMaster’s Three Minute Thesis Competition

On February 11 and 12, competitors will present complex research in an engaging, accessible, and compelling way to a panel of non-specialist judges, using only one static slide, during preliminary heats that take only one hour.

Finalists from the preliminary heats will compete on February 13 for cash prizes and an opportunity to represent McMaster at the provincial finals on April 24.
Bonny Ibhawoh, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Humanities, took the challenge and presented his own 3MT, below: