During LTU’s Research Week, the 3MT University Championship took place where LBS PhD Candidate Piyumini (Piu) Wijenayake presented her PhD topic in only three minutes. The University Championship, coordinated by the Graduate Research School (GRS), is the final stage of the competition at LTU. The winner is awarded a prize and travel support to attend the Asia-Pacific competition in Queensland.

So what is 3MT and how do you reach the university finals?

Piu presenting at LTU's 3MT University Championship
Piu presenting at LTU’s 3MT University Championship


The Three Minute Thesis competition (or 3MT) is an annual academic competition where PhD candidates explain their research topic to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. The competition was developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008 and has spread to over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide. There are strict rules:

  • 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) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

School Level

At LTU you first compete at the School level and then have to make it through the College level before you compete at the University level. This year, three PhD candidates participated at the School Level.

Chi Kwan Ng

PhD candidate in the Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing (EIM)

Chi Kwan’s thesis examines the reasons behind why individuals are and are not practicing pro-environmental behaviours. Findings show that having experienced others’ guidance and support, as well accountability toward the individual throughout the transitional process are strong elements for the successful adoption of pro-environmental behaviours. This implies mentoring, as well as the importance of mentoring and the provision of immediate support for new adopters in order to increase the successful practice of pro-environmental behaviours.

Chi Kwan presenting her PhD topic during the 3MT Competition
Chi Kwan presenting her PhD topic

Piu Wijenayake

PhD candidate in the Department of Accounting and Data Analytics (ADA)

Piu’s presentation was titled “How about an Artificial Hug?”. Her thesis investigates how artificial intelligence and social media can help create more caring organisations. Can we prevent university students from dropping out of their degree? Or help hospital patients sooner and better?

Piu presenting her PhD topic during the 3MT Competition
Piu presenting her PhD topic

Chamila Wijethissa

PhD candidate in the Department of Management, Sport and Tourism (MST)

Chamila started her PhD at the end of 2018 and her thesis focuses on board faultlines in sporting organizations in Australia. Her 3MT presentation focused on the word “faultlines” –  defined as “hypothetical dividing lines that may split members of a group into subgroups based on the combined effects of various attributes of the group members”.

Chamila presenting her PhD topic during the 3MT Competition
Chamila presenting her PhD topic

The judging panel at the School level consisted of Dr Gordon Boyce (Director of Graduate Research), Dr Ninh Nguyen (Lecturer in Marketing), Dr Esin Ozdil (Lecturer in Accounting). Piu Wijenayake came out on top with Chi Kwan as runner up.

The 3MT judging panel with the presenters
The judging panel with the presenters

College and University level

Both the winner and runner up compete at the College of ASSC Final where Piu managed to not only be runner-up but also take home the People’s Choice Award – given to the best presenter according to the audience.

Unfortunately Piu didn’t win the 3MT University Championship but that doesn’t make us less proud of her! Also a big congratulations to Nicole Shackleton of the La Trobe Law School for winning the 2019 University 3MT Championship with her presentation on gendered hate speech!