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Three Minute Paper

Months of work . . .

180 seconds to explain it.

Congratulations 2018 3MP Participants and Prize Winners!

Watch videos of the top 3 winners.

The Office of Research Overall Prize and
The Office of the President Audience Choice Prize:
Taylor Crawford, Psychology (Trent Durham-GTA)
"Once upon a time, a dentist got sick at a birthday party."

Alumni Affairs First Runner Up Prize:
Sabateeshan Mathavarajah, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (Gzowski)

"Uncovering the mysteries of Batten disease through an amoeba"

Centre for Teaching and Learning Second Runner Up:
Laurel Pirrie, Psychology (Champlain)
"A Desire for Consent: Teasing Apart Conflated Dimensions of Sexual Interaction"


What is 3MP?

Three Minute Paper (3MP) is an exciting competition for undergraduate students developed in collaboration by the colleges of Trent University and the Academic Skills; this initiative was sparked by the success of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition where Trent graduate students explain their highly specialized research to a general audience in a short three minutes with the support of a single PowerPoint slide.

Open to Trent students completing an honours seminar, an honours thesis, or a major project in any discipline, the 3MP competition challenges undergraduates to present their work to others, in a clear, concise, and engaging manner. Participants have three minutes to explain their research from one major assignment in an upper year course. 3MP challenges students to balance complexity and depth with clarity and concision as they explain their research question, their findings, and its relevance to the Trent community; participants can use up to three PowerPoint slides as visual aids to support their talk.


Why is it exciting?

Students develop essential communication skills in the planning, preparation, and performance of their talk. These skills are important as undergraduates move on to professional careers or graduate school, where they need to be able to describe their research, and its larger importance, in language that is accessible and engaging to a non-specialist audience.

Participation in Three Minute Paper supports essential skills for undergraduates as they engage in job interviews, networking, professional education, or graduate studies. The event provides students with opportunities to expand their resumes and portfolios.

This event showcases the wide range of undergraduate research opportunities at Trent and encourages students to learn about work beyond their own disciplines. Learn more from past participants:

Testimonial from 2016 3MP Participant, Kelly McLean:

"I participated in the 3MP competition last year, and it was very difficult to condense my honours thesis work into 3 short minutes. I currently work for the Canadian Wildlife Service and am representing my office this weekend at a climate change conference for youth. Once again I have to talk about my work in 3 short minutes! I will definitely use the skills I learned in the competition to prepare."

Eligibility & Application

  1. Participants must be currently registered in the 3rd or 4th year of a Trent undergraduate degree program. The competition is open to students from Peterborough and Durham; further, spaces are available for students from all of Trent's colleges (Champlain, Eaton, Gzowski,Otonabee, Traill).
  2. Presentations must be based on original research that is directly related to the student’s undergraduate thesis, major research project, or major research paper. Research does not need to be complete for a student to participate, but research should be in progress during the 2017-18 academic year.
  3. Presenters must agree to be photographed and video-taped and allow photos/videos to be shared publicly.
  4. All applicants must complete a written application and attend an in-person interview by February 1, 2019. Applications will be posted in January 2019.


  1. Presenters may use no more than three slides. Slides cannot include animations or transitions. No additional props or electronic media are permitted.
  2. Presenters may use notes or cue cards.
  3. Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum. Any competitor that exceeds the time limit will be disqualified.
  4. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. No songs, poems).
  5. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts his or her presentation through either movement or speech.
  6. Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  7. The decisions of the 3MP college panel and the 3MP competition judges are final.

Judging Criteria

The judging panel for the 3MP competition will be comprised of members of the Trent community.

  • Language & Communication
    • Vocabulary/Word Choice
    • Presentation Skills
    • PowerPoint slides
  • Knowledge & Understanding
    • Clear explanation of purpose, question, approach, findings (in progress)
    • Organized discussion
  • Engagement:
    • Explain significance
    • Convey enthusiasm

(Judging criteria adapted from 3MT®, University of Queensland)


2018 Prizes

The Office of Research Overall Prize - $150
Alumni Affairs 1st Runner Up Prize - $100
Centre for Teaching and Learning 2nd Runner Up Prize - $75

The President's Office Audience Choice Prize - $75

Abstracts published in the Journal of Undergraduate Studies at Trent (JUST)


Contact Us

Email 3mp@trentu.ca with your questions


3-Minute Paper Sponsors

3MP is supported by the Pan-College Fund

Thanks to Champlain College, Gzowski College, Lady Eaton College, Otonabee College, Traill College, Trent Durham, the Office of Student Affairs, & Academic Skills

Thank you to prize sponsors: The Office of Research, Alumni Affairs, Trent Centre for Teaching and Learning, and The Office of the President