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Societal Impact Pitch Competition

Tell us how your research can generate societal impact!

Open to McMaster graduate students from all Faculties, the Societal Impact Pitch Competition gives students a chance to creatively showcase how their research can help create a brighter world.

Through a 3-minute video presentation and in-person pitch competition, students will have a chance to share their research, strengthen their communication skills, build connections with fellow members of McMaster’s research community, and win prizes.

STEP ONE: Register for the competition and submit your video

Applicants must register for the competition and submit a 3-minute video presentation showcasing how their research can be mobilized to generate positive societal impact.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating your video:

  • Use layman’s terms. An important part of effective research communication is being able to convey complex ideas to a general audience. When crafting your script, ensure you are using language that a non-research audience can understand.
  • Highlight the impact of your research. Tell us about the problem or challenge that your research is tackling. How can your research be mobilized to generate positive change locally and/or globally?
  • Get creative. Presentations must be delivered in regular prose and can contain a single static PowerPoint slide. However, there’s still an opportunity to tell your research story creatively. Use your communication and design skills to develop an engaging visual and oral account of your research.

Here are some resources and inspiration to help you prepare an impactful presentation:

The registration and video submission deadline is Friday, September 20th, 2024. 

STEP TWO: Present your pitch

Up to 15 applicants will be selected to present their research in-person at the Societal Impact Pitch Competition this fall (date TBA) based on the strength of their video submissions. Three prizes will be awarded, including a $1000 grand prize for the first-place winner.

Competition Guidelines

Please read the guidelines below before you register.

Students must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Graduate students must be registered in a master’s (Thesis or MRP) or PhD program at the time of the competition.
  • Master’s and PhD students who have defended, but have not yet convoked, are eligible to participate.
  • Videos must focus on research conducted for a thesis, MRP or dissertation in the student’s current McMaster University graduate program.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide (16:9 aspect ratio) is permitted, in addition to a brief title slide containing your full name, faculty, presentation title and references (if applicable).
    • If you need to reference a picture, image or any kind of content in your slide, you can do it on the title slide or at the bottom of your slide in a small box.
  • No slide transitions, animations or movement of any description are allowed; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • The presenter and slide should be clearly visible and audio should be clear.
    • Recording your presentation may be done using a cellphone camera, computer/laptop with a built-in webcam, or video camera/camcorder.
    • Presenters may use programs like Microsoft Teams and Zoom to record their videos.
    • Presenters may display their slide on a large projector, laptop or desktop computer screen, and record their presentation in front of the screen. Please ensure the screen is large enough for the content on the slide to be legible.
    • Presenters may use any editing software at their disposal (e.g. iMovie, Adobe, etc.) to prepare their videos.
  • No additional electronic media are permitted (e.g. sound and video files).
  • No additional props are permitted (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment).
  • Videos are limited to three minutes maximum; competitors exceeding three minutes will be disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be delivered in regular prose (e.g. no poems, slam poetry, raps, songs, or spoken word presentations).
  • Videos must be submitted in .mp4 format.
    • Please title your video using the following format: FirstName_LastName.mp4
  • All video submissions must be accompanied by a transcript saved in a Word document (.docx format).
    • Please title your document using the following format: FirstName_LastName.docx
  • Submissions should be the creative work of one individual. No group submissions.
  • Select applicants will be invited to present at an in-person event in Fall 2024.


  • Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (i.e. voice modulation, body language) effectively?
  • Did the presenter use language and terminology that was clear, jargon-free, and understandable to a general audience?
  • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation? Did they elaborate for too long on one aspect, or did the presentation feel rushed?


  • Did the talk help you to understand the scholarly research being undertaken, along with the background and context to the work?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline how the research could create a brighter world through societal impact?
  • Did the presenter clearly articulate how the research will be mobilized to create impact in society – that is, did the presenter identify the key pathway(s) to impact?


  • Was the talk engaging?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?

Depending on the number of video submissions, 5-15 applicants will be selected (based on the above criteria) to deliver a presentation at the in-person pitch competition in Fall 2024.

Three prizes will be awarded at the in-person pitch competition:

  • 1st Place: $1000 and an award certificate
  • 2nd Place: $500 and an award certificate
  • 3rd Place: $250 and an award certificate

Finalists must understand that they will be expected to present their research in a public setting. The presentation of the research will not affect any pre-existing rights, except as stated below:

  • Due to the nature of the competition, judges, reviewers, staff or the audience will not be asked to sign non-disclosure statements.
  • If your research is being/has been conducted under contract with an outside sponsor, please discuss the related contractual terms of confidentiality and intellectual property with your supervisor before participating in this competition.
  • All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations, are open to the public at large; any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media, which may include the internet.
  • Any data or information discussed or presented in public sessions should be considered in the public domain.
  • If your research includes confidential or culturally sensitive material, we advise that you discuss your competition entry with your supervisor.

Information Box Group

Register now Register Online

Please register by September 20th, 2024. You can register now and submit your video later.

Submit your video Submission Folder

Once you’ve registered, please submit your video and transcript by September 20th, 2024.

Have questions? Email Us

Please contact

The Societal Impact Pitch Competition has been adapted from the 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition, founded by the University of Queensland.