Research Communication Training Program

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs will be holding a six-session Research Communication Training Program in early Spring 2017. This training program will provide hands-on training for graduate students to learn the principles of communication and presentation, and to gain practice in using these critical skills. Participants will put into practice tools and techniques to tailor a message and connect with audiences outside of their research fields. Apply now to gain a high level of proficiency across a broad set of communication skills! Each participant will finish the program by recording a 3-minute presentation of their research that will be theirs to keep (great for your website, portfolio, and to share!), and will have the opportunity to participate in the UVA Three Minute Thesis Compeition.

The Research Communication Training Program is intended for doctoral students who have begun the research portion of their degree. It was established in conjunction with the UVA Three Minute Thesis Competition in order to support graduate students training and practice in communicating their research. Applicants to the Research Communication Training Program will not be evaluated by their intent or eligibility to enter the UVA Three Minute Thesis Competition. In reviewing applications, we are looking for fit, a mix of disciplinary backgrounds, as well as your ability and commitment to actively participate in all sessions. Priority will be given to students who are nearest to their anticipated degree completion date.

As the training program is built around creating and practicing research preseatnations, your active participation is essential. Applicants should be able to attend all meetings and to set aside time to develop and work on a short (3-minute) presentation during the 5-week program.

Eligibility: All doctoral students in a research-based degree program are eligible to participate in the Research Communication Training Program. All disciplines are welcome and encouraged to apply. Doctoral students must have completed qualifying or comprehensive exam requrements for their department or program of study by the start of the Research Communication Training Program in order to be considered.


Applications are now closed for the Spring 2017 RCTP.


Questions? Email Amy Clobes at
Please note that sessions 2-5 (detailed below) will include open seating for graduate students who are not participants of the Research Communication Training Program. If you are unable to participate in the program, these sessions will have seats available by registration until full. Registration for open seating will begin on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 at 9 am.

Program Meetings

Tuesday, January 17 from 1:30-3:30 pm
Friday, January 20 from 1:30-3:30 pm
Friday, January 27 from 1:30-3:30 pm
Friday, February 3 from 1:30-3:30 pm
Friday, February 10 from 10:00 am-12:00 pm**
Friday, February 17 from 1:30-3:30 pm

Meetings will take place at Nau Hall, Room 342 (Building 44 on Map) unless designated otherwise by instructor.
**This session will have multiple offerings including: 2/8 from 1:00-3:00 pm, 2/9 from 1:00-3:00 pm, and 2/10 from 10:00-12:00 pm. Program participants must attend only one of these days/times.

Session Outline

Session 1: Meet program participants and hit the ground running by sharing a short oral presentation of your research.

Session 2: Learn a tool that professional communications experts use to help clients organize their thoughts and to identify key points about their research. We will discuss how this tool, the Message Box, can be used to help structure a presentation, outline a proposal, or prepare for an interview. Participants will leave with a completed draft of their own Message Box.

Session 3: This session will focus on 7 different ways of connecting with and communicating research to audiences outside of your field. In this session, we will see examples of those 7 communication tools and participants will create and receive feedback on their own work using these tools.

Session 4: The first half of this session will focus on effective use of visual aids. The second half will be dedicated to practicing and receiving feedback on 3 minute presentations. Students should come with a draft of a 3 minute presentation to share, receive feedback, and refine their presentation. The practice session will be a fast-paced session where students will have a number of opportunities to practice presenting, and receive individual feedback. 

Session 5: Program participants will present their research in a Three Minute Thesis Preliminary Heat, and receive feedback from a panel of judges on their presentation. Program participants who are not interested in entering the Three Minute Thesis competition will participate in preliminary heats as an exhibition category.

Session 6: The program will end with participants video recording a 3 minute presentation of their research. Each participant will receive a copy of their recording.

Vocal and staging exercises will be incorporated throughout the sessions.