My PGT in 3

About the Competition

Are you a PGT looking for the chance to share your exciting dissertation research with a wider audience? Does your dissertation have wide impact on well-known issues, such as politics, medicine, education, social justice, climate change? Do you want to hear about the innovative research projects of other PGT students across the university, and learn more about how your work fits with current PhD projects and academic research? Then, ‘My PGT in 3’ might be the competition for you!

‘My PGT in 3’ is a competition developed by the University Graduate School, and a chance for current PGT students at the University of Birmingham to take part in the UGS Research Festival alongside top PhD researchers and academics.

You are a PGT if you are currently studying on any of the following programmes: MA, MSc, MBA, MEd, MPH, MPA, PG Affiliate, PG Certificate, PG Dip Ed, PG Diploma, PGCE, LLM, or Maths SKE.

We’re asking PGTs to submit a 3 minute video about their dissertation research, or an equivalent project in their PGT course. We want to hear: why is your research important? What impact are you making on your field?

The format of the video should include three PowerPoint slides and three topics taking one minute each:

  • Your subject area 
  • Your research question 
  • Your dissertation research 

 More information on these themes and guidance for your video is available below, and on our Canvas training course.

 We will choose a selection of the best submissions to be shown live as part of the UGS Research Festival in front of a panel of judges, and be in the running for winning one of our fantastic prizes in recognition of their research and presentation. All entrants will receive support and feedback on their submissions, however far they get in the competition.

The competition is perfect for those of you wanting to raise your research profile in anticipation of a PhD place or application, giving skills in research communication, public engagement and impact. If you’re going into industry, the competition counts as a module on your Postgraduate Professional Development Award with the Careers Network, and demonstrates skills and experience in the communication of complex ideas, in creativity, communication and confident presentation.

Read on below for more information on eligibility, deadline dates, how to submit, and the prizes on offer.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

Key dates

Applications for 'My PGT in 3' 2021 are opening soon, with a deadline in early-mid July. We’ll be announcing the official dates on our Facebook and Twitter, and via an announcement on our ‘My PGT in 3’ Canvas Page.

‘PGT in 3’ Drop-in Q+As

You can find a summary of all key dates including support sessions on the Canvas Course.

 Rules and regulations

 To enter the ‘My PGT in 3’ competition, you must:

  • Be currently registered on Postgraduate Taught Programme: MA, MSc, MBA, MEd, MPH, MPA, PG Affiliate, PG Certificate, PG Dip Ed, PG Diploma, PGCE, LLM, or Maths SKE.
  • Agree to your presentation being used as part of the live showing at the Research Festival.
  • Ideally be available to attend the live showing in late July, but this is not essential.

The rules for your ‘PGT in 3’ presentation are as follows:

  • Your PGT in 3 presentation should be based on research that is directly related to your PGT course: your dissertation research, a special project, or research-based summative assignments. If you are unsure whether your presentation topic is eligible, please do contact us and we’ll be happy to confirm.
  • Please use the guidance document to upload your video to the Panopto section of the ‘My PGT in 3’ Canvas course.
  • You should present in a style suitable for an intelligent but non-expert audience: be careful using jargon, and make sure complex ideas and concepts can be understood!
  • ALL presentations should be NO LONGER than three minutes; competitors exceeding three minutes will be disqualified.
  • ALL presentations must follow the three topics of your subject area, your research question, and your dissertation research or study. We recommend that each topic uses around one minute of the time, but will not time these individual sections, and will not take these timings into consideration when deciding the shortlist and winners.
  •  You will be allowed three single and static PowerPoint slides to support each topic of your presentation (slide transitions or animations are NOT allowed) 
  • No additional electronic media (such as sound or video) are allowed 
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted  
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (no poems or songs) 
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final

How to enter

Self-enrol onto the ‘My PGT in 3’ Canvas course for support and guidance in making your video, then upload your finished video via Panopto.

The prizes

Our prizes are to be announced! Join our Canvas page for the full announcement, or keep an eye on our social media pages.

 Support in preparing your presentation

Self-enrol on our Canvas training course now to access full guidance on the rules and regulations and judging criteria.

We'll be offering lots of support, detailed in our Canvas page, with our first two sessions listed below:

‘My PGT in 3’ Drop-in Q+A 

Style and Content Guidance

What do we mean by the three topics?

The format of the video should include three PowerPoint slides and three topics taking one minute each:

  • Your subject area – this section should introduce the context of your research: you, your special interests in the field, any key thinkers or academics, and why your academic field is important.
  • Your research question – here you can tell us more about how you arrived at your research topic, define your terms, explain any important jargon, and tell us the question at the heart of your research. What problem or question are you hoping to answer?
  • Your dissertation research – the exciting bit! Delve into what your research is, the methods, texts or experiments you are using, any results you already have, the significance of your research and, most importantly, its impact - how it will contribute to your field and the wider world.

 What do we mean by engaging to non-specialists?

 In a nutshell: enthusiasm, clarity, real-world significance. The best presentations are full of interesting content delivered by enthusiastic and passionate speakers, who make sure the content can be easily understood and has real-world implications.

Don’t forget that the competition is called MY PGT in 3 – we want to hear about you, your interests, your research journey. Don’t be afraid to use ‘I’, or to talk about what you find interesting or special about what you’re studying. Show us your personality, and who you are!

Another way to think about it is this: imagine you are at a party, talking to a group of people about your research. Some might have backgrounds and knowledge in fields adjacent to yours or in different disciplines, some may be in STEM fields while you are in the arts, some may be from outside of a university setting altogether.  The group is intelligent, engaged, and eager to listen. How do you make your research interesting and understandable to the group? What can you assume they know, and what can you assume they don’t? What words will they understand, and what might they need a definition for? How can you break down complex, specialist concepts into something more familiar or clear?

 Is the event similar to ‘3 Minute Thesis’?

 Yes! ‘3 Minute Thesis’ is a competition run for PGRs (postgraduates studying for a PhD or MRes degree), where participants give a 3 minute speech about their research. ‘My PGT in 3’ is a similar idea for PGTs, with some added structure for you to make the most of the short amount of time given.

This means that watching 3MT videos might help you develop your presentational style, and see what an engaging, non-specialist video might look like. We have some winning examples available to watch on our Canvas page – just make sure your own video follows the three topics above!

 If you would like any further guidance on the topics, style or format of your video, please come along to one of our drop-in sessions, or email Elizabeth O’Connor,



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