PhD in three minutes

‘Vlaamse PhD Cup’ (Flemish PhD Cup) takes academic research to a wide audience

A doctorate is the result of at least four years of extensive research. Over 1,600 doctorates are completed each year in Flanders and those studies easily find their way to scientific and academic publications. However, only a fraction of these reach the general public. The ‘Vlaamse PhD Cup’ challenges PhD graduates to explain the key elements of their research in an easily understandable three-minute presentation before the public and a jury. The presentation will be recorded on video. The aim of the organisation behind this challenge, Scriptie vzw, is to make scientific and academic research more accessible.

The participants are not simply thrown to the lions, they are first given intensive media and communication training,’ explains Arnaud Zonderman of Scriptie vzw, who also presents the ‘Vlaamse Scriptieprijs’ (Flemish Dissertation Award) each year. ‘Not only do we focus on presentation techniques, we also look at vernacular writing and visualisation techniques, and we provide camera and interview training. We genuinely want to encourage and teach young researchers to take their research to the outside world.’

Eva Cools, Research Manager at Vlerick Business School, is completely sold on the idea: ‘Vlerick supports the PhD Cup because this contest is perfectly attuned to our philosophy. We want to actively convert our knowledge into practice. We are, of course, an academic institute but we consider the relevance and broad impact of our research to be just as important. Our researchers are strongly encouraged to translate their findings in the most accessible terms possible; not only to the outside world but also for our programmes in the form of tools, cases, games and simulations. The PhD Cup is precisely about making that transition.’

The Flemish Minister for Economy and Innovation Philippe Muyters also supports the initiative: ‘We have many excellent researchers in Flanders and we should be proud of them! That is why it is important that their research results can easily find their way to our corporate community and the general public. And what better way to sell something than with a short, clear and enthusiastic presentation? The PhD Cup offers our PhD researchers the perfect platform for this and ensures that all this excellent research is not left on the shelf.’ 

The contest consists of various rounds. Eight young researchers will battle it out during the final round on 28 September that can be followed live on The winner will be awarded a study programme at the Vlerick Business School worth 10,000 euros. Anyone who has been awarded the title of PhD in the past two years can register to participate until the end of June via

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