Postdoc Research Slam

Present your Research and Win!

The Postdoctoral Scholar Office invites all current postdoctoral scholars to participate in the 2020 Digital Postdoc Research Slam. Practice your digital communication skills and compete for great prizes!

Each competitor will submit a three minute video and one PowerPoint slide to communicate their research in a pitch-style format. Judges will score based on communication style, comprehension, and engagement.

This year's prizes

Monetary research prizes:

  • First Place: $700 
  • Second Place: $500 
  • Third Place: $250 
  • People's Choice: $250

Contest Timeline

Call for Abstracts

September 21 - October 2, 2020

Submit a 250-300 word lay abstract about your research via the webform. Abstracts should be in the tone of a pitch-style presentation, and not too technical.

Coaching Sessions

October 19 - 22, 2020

Selected participants will book a time to practice their presentation in a 20 minute, one-on-one coaching session.

Video Submission Deadline

October 30, 2020

Videos from the selected participants must be received by the deadline at 11:59 p.m. Videos will be uploaded to UCalgary's YouTube channel for judging and People's Choice voting.

Competition Close

November 6, 2020

Voting closes and the winners will be announced.

  • All participants must be current postdoctoral scholars at the University of Calgary
  • single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration). Please note that using a slide is optional as the presentation focus is on your oration skills. Images used in the slide must be your own, or you must have permission from the owner of the photo(s) and provide proper credit(s).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, laser pointers or note cards) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum.
  • Presentations that go over 3 minutes will have marks deducted from scoring.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations must be based on research directly related to the postdoctoral scholar’s research.
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

The below considerations for video submissions are encouraged.

  • The presentation is memorized
  • The video is framed with the presenter in the centre of the screen, from about the waist up.
  • There is a minimal background (i.e. it is not overly distracting).
  • The video is filmed inside with even lighting.
  • The camera is stationary.
  • The presenter remained seated or standing in one place for the full duration of the video.

Videos must be in mp4 format to be accepted in the webform. Recording can be done on any device that presents a clear image and audio. Submissions will be reviewed for content and quality of recordings. 

In the webform, you can indicate whether you consent to having your submission posted on the YouTube channel for the People's Choice prize. If you do not grant consent, your submission will be judged only within the regular competition for first, second or third place.

Each of the three judging criteria has equal weight. Note that each criterion has an emphasis on the audience.

  1. Communication style:

    • Was the research topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
    • Did the speaker use sufficient eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and a confident stance?
    • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
    • Did the speaker spend the right amount of time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long or were they rushed?
    • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract, from their presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?
  2. Comprehension:

    • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
    • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of the research?
    • Was the significance of the presenter's research clearly outlined?
    • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?
  3. Engagement:

    • Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?
    • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or 'dumb-down' the research?
    • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
    • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
    • Did the presentation make me want to know more about the speaker's research?

Submit your application

Abstract Submission
Please copy and paste your submission into the textbox. Abstracts should be 250-300 words and written for a general audience.
I consent to have my video uploaded to YouTube for purposes of voting for the "People's Choice" award.
I can attend a coaching session the week of October 19-22, 2020.

Postdoc Research Slam Competitors

Congratulations to the 2019 Competitors and Winners!

We want to thank everyone for participating and a special congratulations to the winners of the 2019 competition.

1st place-  Brae Anne McArthur

2nd place- Eli Kinney-Lang

3rd Place- Raquel Farias Franyutti

Read more

Past Competitors

Research Slam Finalist



Liz Baker

Faculty of Social Work

Preventing Dating Violence on College Campuses

Tiffany Bell

Cumming School of Medicine

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it: Understanding brain hyperexcitability in childhood migraine

Lauren Benson

Faculty of Kinesiology

Sport Injury Prevention with Wearable Technology

Jaime Colmenares

Faculty of Science

Once upon a time, I met Isotopes

Mahdad Eghbalian

Schulich School of Engineering

A novel multiscale model of hydraulic fracturing in tight rocks

Raquel Farias Franyutti

Cumming School of Medicine

The neuro-immune axis in the lung: understanding how our nerves communicate with our immune cells to protect us from infection

Eli Kinney-Lang

Cumming School of Medicine

Imagine that! Using Brain-Computer Interfaces and Imagined Sign Language to Enable Children with Complex Communication Needs

Brae Anne McArthur

Faculty of Arts

Identifying the "Digital Tipping Point": Understanding the Relation between Screen Time and Child Development

Zahra Shakeri Hossein Abad

Cumming School of Medicine

A novel artificial intelligence system to protect children from unhealthy food and brand marketing in the digital age

Maria Stietz

Veterinary Medicine

Know your enemy

Ivana Vranjes

Haskayne School of Business

#MeToo - But don't tell anyone…

Chunyang Yu

Schulich School of Engineering

Navigation for Pedestrians and Autonomous Vehicles