Do you know about the 3-minute Thesis concept? Sometimes I feel like a 3MT junkie - I use them all the time in my teaching, and invariably end up binge-watching videos of various international 3MTs because they're so interesting. 3MT presentations are useful across all levels of my teaching - I show them to all my classes, from first years all the way up to doctoral students.
So you can imagine how exciting it was today to attend the finals of the University of Turku's very own 3MT competition! Seriously, it was thrilling, not least because one of the finalists was a former student (in an academic presentation skills course, no less!), and two others were doctoral students whose grant proposals I reviewed last semester in our department's English Writing Clinic.
Now, as excited as I get about 3MT, it has at times been a hard sell to Finnish students. Since the time limit is so strict, some of the presentations (and often the winners, whose videos dominate the ones you can find online) end up being overly polished and rehearsed, and Finns seem to resist such a salesman-y approach to research. There's also the fact that the 3-minute thing is essentially a gimmick. Still, I happen to be in favor of teaching people to communicate their research effectively (so is Alan Alda!), and I believe that 3MT is an excellent starter platform for developing that skill.
All ten of the finalists did very well today, though my student didn't win. I hope the university uploads the videos to the 3MT website so I can show them to my students in future courses!
Here are a few favorite 3MTs (yes, I have favorites), in case you want to spend 3-9 minutes learning about awesome research from real scientists!
Facebook research girl - admit it, she totally nails it.
Dinosaur research guy - he loses me ever so slightly in the middle, but I think his research topic is awesome.
Domestic violence guy - I show this one often because it's not as polished as some others, and he makes some flat-out mistakes, but his research impact is still clear.
Here is the lineup from today. Tarek won, Saana got second place, and Kalypso got the audience choice award. And yes, it was all held in English - most (if not all) of the PhD programs here are in English since they cater to international students!