MIT Research Slam

The MIT Research Slam is a research presentation that builds on the classic “elevator pitch” or 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Presenters explain their research to a curious, non-specialist audience in ≤3 minutes (strictly enforced) using one slide with no animation, video, or props. This format was created by University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008 and quickly spread across the globe. Now this competition is offered in more than 200 universities in more than 85 countries of the world.


CategoryWinnerRunner-UpAudience Choice

Perks of participating

  • Hundreds of dollars in prizes!
  • Hone your science communication skills in preparation workshops
  • Showcase your research to the MIT community and the broader public
  • Create a research video you can use for future conferences and portfolios
  • Winners of the 3MT category are eligible to progress to regional and other higher level 3MT competitions

Research Slam Showcase

MIT community members and the general public are invited to the 2024 Research Slam Showcase on April 17!

Meet the judges

Deborah Blum

Director, Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT

Pulitzer-prize winning American science journalist, columnist and author of six books, most recently, The Poison Squad, a 2018 New York Times Notable Book, and the subject of a 2020 PBS documentary. Blum won the Pulitzer in 1992 for a series on primate research that became her first book, The Monkey Wars. She has worked as a science columnist for The New York Times, a blogger for Wired, and has written for other publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal to Mother Jones. She currently serves on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

Denzil Streete

Senior Associate Dean and Director at MIT Office of Graduate Education

Denzil was formerly Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Chief of Staff, and Director of the Office for Graduate Diversity at the University of California, Berkeley. His passion for graduate education developed at Columbia University, where he earned his PhD in Comparative and International Education. Denzil’s scholarly and research interests include access and equity in higher education, the “Free College Movement,” and minoritized males in higher education.

Emma Yee

Scientific Editor at Cell

A chemical engineer by training, Emma’s perpetual curiosity has led her to conduct research in everything from motor proteins to proteoliposome biosensors to jet engine combustion at NASA. She completed her Ph.D. at MIT, developing rapid, more-accessible molecular methods and devices for diagnosing infectious diseases. Her favorite part of the job is talking with researchers about exciting new projects in their lab and learning about the latest trends and questions in fields across experimental biology and engineering.

Showcase schedule

4:30 PM Doors open
5:00 – 7:00 PMResearch Slam Showcase
PhD contestantsPradeep NatarajanPhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering
“What can coffee-brewing teach us about brain disease?”
Omar RutledgePhD Candidate in Brain and Cognitive Sciences
“Investigating the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on social anxiety disorder”
Bhavish DinakarPhD Candidate in Chemical Engineering
“A boost from batteries: making chemical reactions faster”
Sydney DolanPhD Candidate in Aeronautics and Astronautics
“Creating traffic signals for space”
Judges’ deliberation and audience questions
Postdoc contestantsAugusto GandiaPostdoc in the School of Architecture and Planning
“Cyber modeling—computational morphogenesis via ‘smart’ models”
Laurence WillemetPostdoc at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL)
“Remote touch for teleoperation”
Most Kaniz MoriamPostdoc in Mechanical Engineering
“Improving recyclability of cellulose-based textile wastes”
Mohammed Aatif ShahabPostdoc in Chemical Engineering
“Eye-based human engineering for enhanced industrial safety”
Judges’ deliberation and audience questions
Announcement of the winners
7:00 – 8:00 PM Reception

More information

Sponsor the Research Slam

The Research Slam welcomes support from industry partners who value science communication. Help us support our graduate students and postdocs. Use the button below to learn more about sponsorship opportunities and connect.

Research Slam archives

The MIT Research Slam is an annual competition. Check out highlights, videos, pictures, and resources from past Slams. You might even pick up a tip or trick to improve your chances of winning this year!

Meet the planning team

The MIT Research Slam is truly a collaborative effort! Organizers come from the School of Engineering Communication LabCareer Advising and Professional Development, Writing and Communication Center, and English Language Studies Program.

Frequently asked questions

All MIT (institute-wide) postdoctoral fellows and associates are eligible to participate in the Research Slam postdoc category. Currently enrolled MIT PhD candidates who have passed qualifying exams and not yet finished defending their thesis are also eligible.

The MIT Research Slam begins with the spring semester at each year. We typically host information sessions and workshops in February, collect entries mid-March, and host our Showcase competition in mid-April.

Participants must submit a pre-recorded 3 minute talk (with a single slide included in the video) and upload a single slide describing their research to a scientifically curious non-expert audience. The videos and the slide must conform to the format of Three Minute Thesis (3MT). 

To submit your entry:

  1. Fill out this submission form and upload your video file and slide separately by Monday, March 11th, 2024, 11:00 PM ET.  Remember to hit “submit” on the google form after uploading your files.
  2. The competition has two categories: 3MT (for Ph.D. students) and Research Slam (for postdoctoral scholars). The same rubric is used to judge both categories. The top 4-5 entries in each category are selected for the final showcase event.
  3. The in-person final showcase will take place on April 17th, 2024, 5-7pm, MIT Welcome Center (292 Main St). Finalists will present to a live audience and a panel of judges. The judges will be chosen from communication experts in academia, industry, and science policy. The event will be widely advertised and open to the MIT community and the general public. 

We have all the resources you need to build a great presentation! Find general resources, MIT-specific resources, and examples below.

Information Session 2024
What is the MIT Research Slam and why should you compete in it? Come find out and get excited! See Slam presentations from previous contestants and learn how to best prepare and submit your application and what resources are there to help you.

Workshop 1: Creating a Compelling 3-Minute Talk (slides)
This interactive workshop will help you develop key skills to prepare your own talk, such as distilling your central message, building it into an engaging story, and crafting a visually appealing slide.

Workshop 2: Deliver to Win – How to Present Your 3-Minute Talk Effectively (slides)
Would you like to enhance your presentation skills and learn how to deliver with impact? This hands-on workshop will help you build confidence as a presenter and will equip you with life-long tools for delivering your ideas eloquently, engagingly, and effectively.

Check out our MIT Research Slam Archives! We also have a YouTube Channel with videos of the winners from each year! Check it out and see what it takes to compete.

You can get feedback on and practice your talk through individual consultations by using MIT communication resources including The Writing and Communication Center (for all schools and departments), Communication Labs (for engineering students) and Career Advising and Professional Development (CAPD)

We’re always happy to hear from you and answer your questions. Email members of the planning team at

Key dates

Tuesday, February 6th, 3:30-5:00 PM ETResearch Slam Information Session
Wednesday, February 14th; 3:30-5:00 PM ETWorkshop 1: Creating a Compelling Three-Minute Talk
Wednesday, February 21st; 3:30-5:00 PM ETWorkshop 2: Deliver to Win: How to Present Your 3-Minute Talk Effectively
Monday, March 11, 2024, 11:00 PM ETVideo Submission Deadline
Wednesday, April 17th, 2024, 5:00-7:00 PM ET2024 MIT Research Slam Showcase at MIT Welcome Center (reception to follow)