Postdoc Slam

Postdoc Research Slam

Present your Research and Win!

The Postdoctoral Scholar Office invites all current postdoctoral scholars to participate in the annual Postdoc Research Slam. Practice your 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.

The next Postdoc Research Slam will be held as a digital format, with online voting and judging taking place January 27 - February 3, 2022.

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

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.

November 9 - 24, 2021

Abstract Feedback Session

Get feedback on your written abstract for plain language and communicating research impact from professional communicators.

12 - 2 p.m. | November 16, 2021

Coaching Sessions

Up to 12 selected participants will book a time to practice their presentation in a 20 minute, one-on-one coaching session.

January 10 and 11, 9 - 11 a.m.

Online voting and judging

Final videos will be hosted online and voting will take place for the "People's Choice Award".

January 27 - February 3, 2022

  • All participants must be current postdoctoral scholars at the University of Calgary
  • This event is for individual competitors. As of 2021, no pairs or groups will be permitted
  • 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?

Tiffany P

Congratulations to our 2020 winners!

We thank everyone who tuned-in to support the exciting research undertaken by the UCalgary postdoc community in the 2nd annual Postdoc Research Slam!

Congratulations to Tiffany Prete (First Place), Leigh Gabel (Second Place), and Anne-Marieke Smid (Third Place), with a special shout-out to Bruna Araujo-David for taking home the first ever People’s Choice Award.

Read more

Past Competitors

Francina Agosti: Sensory neurons at the rescue against infection

Bruna Araujo David: Maternal serum prevents newborn death by Escherichia coli infection

Sofia Backaberg: The way you move matters - now and later

Raquel Farias Franyutti: Integrating lung function and laboratory measurements to identify COVID-19 disease categories in the intensive care unit

Simona Denise Frederiksen: Rare Diseases have Many Faces: The Road to Diagnostic Success

Leigh Gabel: Skeletons on a mission: understanding bone loss on long-duration spaceflight (2nd Place Winner)

Michèle L. Hébert: Solving the Maze: Understanding the Journey and Opening Doors for Children with Disabilities and Their Family

Steven Hersch: Fighting fire with fire to kill antibiotic resistant bacteria

Catherine Hume: Is having 'the munchies' bad for our health?

Matthew Josephson: Hot or Cold? Understanding how organisms can live in a wide range of temperatures

Tiffany Prete: Surviving Colonization in Photographs (1st Place Winner)

Anu Räisänen: Young people with old knees: We KNEE-d to prevent osteoarthritis after a knee injury

Mostafa Salari: Social Distancing in passengers seat assignment

Anne-Marieke Smid: Modern dairy farming: to graze or not to graze? (3rd Place Winner)

Renata Kruger: A bike ride to thrive in assisted living care.

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 (3rd Place Winner)

Eli Kinney-Lang, Cumming School of Medicine: Imagine that! Using Brain-Computer Interfaces and Imagined Sign Language to Enable Children with Complex Communication Needs (2nd Place Winner)

Brae Anne McArthur, Faculty of Arts: Identifying the "Digital Tipping Point": Understanding the Relation between Screen Time and Child Development (1st Place Winner)

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