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Three Minute Thesis Competition

Aarhus University invites all its PhD students to participate in this year’s "3 Minutes Thesis" competition (3MT) 17th of March 2022. Last year’s 2021 event was held online due to Corona, but in 2022 we are pleased to invite you to participate at the AU Coimbra Group 3MT competition physically in Stakladen. More information will be made available prior to the event.

What is the 3MT?

In 3MT PhD students present their research project in three minutes for an audience of non-specialists with only one static slide – and no other resources. This challenging exercise develops presentation, research and academic communication skills and supports the development of the researcher’s capacity to explain their work effectively.

The internal winner at AU wins a 35,000 DKK travel grant and the video of the performance is submitted to the international competition held in the Coimbra Group of more than 35 European universities. 

A Coimbra Group panel will then select the top three candidates, who will be invited to present at the Coimbra Group annual conference on June 7-10 in Padova, Italy. 

The 3MT was founded at University of Queensland, Australia in 2008, and is held at over 900 universities across more than 85 countries. 

How to apply?

To be part of the AU 3MT competition please express your interest and apply here: events.au.dk/3mt2022/signup

To apply you must:

  • be enrolled at Aarhus University as a PhD student. 
  • fill in and upload the template for the description of your project and motivation to join the competition. The file name of the upload should be your first and last name. Be aware that presentations not reporting tangible results will be excluded from participation by the technical jury.
  • upload a photo of yourself - it will be used on the website if your application is approved.

Please note that the submission of your project description and motivation to join merely is an expression of interest and an application to participate in the 3MT competition. It will not automatically grant you a spot in the 3MT competition.

After the deadline for submissions 8th of February 2022, all applicants will be notified whether or not they are chosen by the committee to participate in the workshop, feedback session, practice session and competition.

Important dates - 3MT 2022

Deadline for submissions - February 8 2022, 23.30
After the deadline for submissions February 8 2022, all applicants will be notified whether or not they are chosen by the committee to participate in the workshop, feedback session, practice session and the final competition.

Workshop - February 24 2022, 13.00-16.00
Course in rhetoric, body language, voice control and specific 3MT delivery skills.

Feedback session - March 8 2022, 13.00-16.00
After the initial workshop, you will have the opportunity to run your performance in front of the workshop teacher and receive feedback before the competition.

Practice session - March 15 2022, 14.00-16.00
Two days before the final event you will have the opportunity to run your performance in front of the organisers and the other contestants. 

3MT Competition at Aarhus University – March 17 2022, 16.00-18.30
The final event will be held in Stakladen at Aarhus University with live performances. A panel of judges will evaluate the performances and select the winner. The audience will help choose the people’s choice winner. All performances will be recorded and will be made available after the event.  

2021 3MT overall winner – Claudia Nielsen

Claudia Nielsen

Claudia is a PhD at the Institute for Agroecology. She was chosen by the judges as the 3MT overall winner at Aarhus University from a field of 15 strong competitors.

Title and description:

The power of peatlands and paludiculture to mitigate climate change

Peatlands only cover about 3 % of the global land area but are due to drainage for agriculture emission hotspots, releasing 5-6 % of the total anthropogenic emissions. Rewetting and sustainable biomass cultivation on wet peatlands, called paludiculture, has shown to be a powerful tool to re-establish the peatlands’ natural carbon sink function, thereby mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands in magnitudes of up to 145 %.


Claudia won a travel grant in the amount of 35.000DKK which she plans to spend on a research-related stay, visiting other paludiculture projects in Germany. She believes that in a niche-research area such as paludiculture, trans-border collaboration is even more important, also considering that Germany has solid experience – not only with the implementation, but also with stakeholder communication and policy. She believes that her research trip will not only benefit scientific knowledge, but also boost networking and collaboration.

See Claudia’s 3MT presentation here

2021 3MT people’s choice award – Jakob Thyrsted

Jakob Thyrsted is a PhD at the Institute of Biomedicine. He was chosen as the people’s choice winner in a vote in which over 300 audience members participated. His research focuses on viruses.

Title and description:

Virus vs. Cell - The battle for control

Viruses are master manipulators as they, during infection, force our cells into doing the virus' bidding. This is an intense battle for control in which our cells desperately try to fight of the infection. The question is, who will come out on top and is there any way to aid ourselves in this battle?

Jakob won a 1.000 DKK gift certificate to the AU web shop.

See Jakob’s 3MT presentation here