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Coastal Connections

Coastal Connections

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About the Competition

Louisiana Sea Grant is excited to sponsor the Coastal Connections competition at various state universities. The competition is modified from the Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) approach to research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland. The exercise develops academic, presentation and research communication skills while supporting the development of students’ capacities to effectively explain their research. Graduate students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their research topic and its significance using up to two slides. Coastal Connections focuses on the ability of students to consolidate their ideas and crystalize their research discoveries.

Any currently enrolled graduate student conducting research relevant to coastal issues is eligible to participate in Coastal Connections.

Coastal Connections Application (Adobe Acrobat fillable form)


  • No more than TWO static slides are permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any type).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to a maximum of 3 minutes. Competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be disqualified.

Judging Criteria
A panel of three independent judges will make the decision on the three travel award prizes. The decision of the judging panel is final. Competitors will be evaluated on:

  • Communication style: Does the communication style draw the audience in?
  • Comprehension: Is the content of your remarks easy to understand? Did the presentation help the audience understand the research? Was the research topic and its significance to coastal issues communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
  • Engagement: Did the presentation leave the audience with new knowledge and a wish to learn more?

A webinar was held in 2014 to provide instruction on how best to prepare for the competition (formerly known as Coastal Communication Clips). The webinar was led by Dr. Bill Dennison of the University of Maryland and Amy Clipp of New Orleans. View a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation from the webinar and read the blog for a more detailed explanation of the webinar.

For examples specific to your university, click on your host site to see how students at your university have performed in the past. And since the competition is based on the Three Minute Thesis format, you can also look at examples of past presenters of this competition.

Louisiana Sea Grant will offer travel awards of $500 to the top students based on effective presentation. These travel awards are for professional meetings to which presentations abstracts have been accepted. These awards are to be used for meetings within a year from the Coastal Connections competition.