Press release

Applications open for 2020 HIRAKU Three Minute Thesis Competition for PhD students to promote their research


Springer Nature supports the 3MT competition for the fourth consecutive year, a speech contest for PhD students in Japan which will be held online in November 2020.

Tokyo, 9 September 2020

Applications are now open for the HIRAKU 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) Competition 2020, a speech contest in which PhD students are invited to communicate their vision and highlights of their research in three minutes to a non-specialist audience. This 3MT Competition is hosted by HIRAKU, the Home for Innovative Researchers and Academic Knowledge Users (host institution: Hiroshima University). Last year, 25 PhD students from Hiroshima University and universities in western Japan, mainly in Chugoku/Shikoku regions, presented their research in front of the public. Outstanding presentations were given awards in the Japanese and English divisions across a range of research fields, including the development of a titanium membrane to control cells, voices of a Syrian refugee camp, and about the existence of wild chickens in the Philippines.

This year's first round of judging will be based on submission of a three minute video by the applicants. The deadline for submission is 17:00 on Monday, October 12, 2020, with the finalists being announced in early November. These finalists will then go onto to deliver a spoken presentation, in either Japanese or English, as part of the final stage which will be held online on Saturday, November 21, 2020. The winners for outstanding presentations will be announced at the close of this event.

We encourage PhD students, from all research disciplines, enrolled at any domestic university in Japan as of November 21, 2020, to make applications to present in this 3MT Competition*. In addition, anyone is welcome to participate for free as an audience member in the Online Live Presentation (final stage). For further details on how to make an application and to participate as an audience member**, please visit the official competition website. *Students enrolled in master programs and/or professional degree programs are not eligible to apply. **Details on how to participate as an audience are scheduled to be posted on the official competition website after October.

Antoine Bocquet, Managing Director of Springer Nature in Japan, said:

“Springer Nature has been part of the 3MT Competition since 2017 and is proud to continue to sponsor an event which has such widespread impact. Every year, I am inspired by seeing not only the high quality level of research being conducted, but also by the high motivation of early career researchers towards their research and their willingness to connect to the wider society. As part of the research community we are only too aware of the value of communication and engagement beyond our peers. Research informs and has a vital impact on the world in which we live, as the current pandemic has sharply brought into focus. To be a part of an event which enables researchers at the start of their career to really develop those cores skills focused on communication to a wider audience, is something that we continue to be very inspired by and proud to be a part of. I look forward to seeing exciting presentations at this new format of the 3MT Competition."

The HIRAKU 3MT Competition has been held annually in Higashi-Hiroshima City, Hiroshima since 2015. PhD students based in Japan, who come from a range of different countries, regions and disciplines, will present their research vision during a three-minute presentation using a single slide, which is subsequently assessed by a judging panel.

This year's 3MT Competition will accept applications from all prefectures in Japan and will be held online. The Video Judging Panel will select the finalists based on video submissions. Sponsor companies will also select outstanding videos, which will be awarded the Sponsor Award. At the Online Live Presentation held on Saturday, November 21, finalists who have passed the initial video screening will make a live presentation. Judging will be conducted by the Judging Panel, and anyone in the world can participate in the online voting as an audience member. For each of the Japanese and English divisions, the Winner and Runner-up Prizes will be selected by the Judging Panel. The People’s Choice Prize will be selected by the audience vote. Scholarships and other prizes will be provided for outstanding presentations.

Springer Nature will participate in this competition as a judge, and will provide the following prizes: 1 year free subscription of Nature Digest (the only Japanese publication in Nature Research) and a Springer eBook “English for Academic Research” to support communication in English.

For further details about the 3MT Competition and to make an application, please see here.

About the HIRAKU 3MT Competition 2020

【Eligibility】Doctorate students (from any research field) enrolled at any domestic university in Japan as of November 21, 2020 (*).
*Excluding students enrolled in master programs and/or professional degree programs.

【Application procedure】Please apply online from the competition website

【Application Deadline】17:00, Monday, October 12, 2020

【Date of the 3MT Competition 2020 Final Stage】Saturday, November 21, 2020
【Participation Fee】Free
【Audience】Open to the public (Junior-high/high school or college students are also welcome)

The HIRAKU program is promoted as part of the “Program for Developing Next Generation Researchers” of the “Building of Consortia for the Development of Human Resources in Science and Technology,” implemented by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Focusing on the “Home for Innovative Researchers and Academic Knowledge Users (HIRAKU)” as its main theme, the program is jointly operated by Hiroshima University (the Lead Partner Organization), Yamaguchi University and Tokushima University (the Co-Partner Organizations), in collaboration with public and private universities primarily located in the Chugoku and Shikoku regions, as well as a growing number of institutions/corporations in public and private sectors. The word, ‘Hiraku’ means to ‘open-up’ or ‘bloom’ in Japanese. For more information, please visit here.

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Springer Nature
Ayako Miyazaki
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