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Texas Student Research Showdown

The Texas Student Research Showdown is a video and presentation competition for undergraduate researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. In the first round, students create two-minute videos about their research, which are voted on by UT students and judged by a faculty panel. The judges’ top three videos, along with the three videos that receive the most votes, continue to a final round in which students give six-minute research presentations to a live audience and judging panel. The first-round winner will receive an iPad, and the top three second-round winners will receive $1,500, $750, and $250 in scholarships to recognize their excellence in research communication. A series of workshops offers support at every step of the process, with the final round taking place November 15, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. in Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302).

Why should I enter?

Student researchers are rarely trained to communicate effectively about their work in terms of its relevance, but throughout their careers they’ll have to be able to talk to non-experts about why their research is important. We want to help UT’s top students sell their ideas—and their stories as researchers—to this general audience.

All entrants will walk away with a two-minute video that explains their work to friends, family, grad school committees, and future employers. If your video is in the top six, you’ll take part in the Final Round live competition. A faculty panel will award scholarships for first ($1,500), second ($750), and third ($250) place, based on communication skill and the merit of the research.

Why short videos and mini-presentations?

Short videos are ideal for communicating on social media, and mini-presentations of a style similar to short TED talks are perfect for telling the narrative of your work without overwhelming the audience. These formats can supplement more traditional presentations that are aimed at specialists. If you’ve never communicated in these formats before, that’s okay—we’ll help you learn how. Attend one of our workshops on making a video and presentation. View video submissions from previous years here.

Who can enter?

The Showdown is open to any UT undergraduate involved in research or creative activity in any major—science, engineering, humanities, social sciences, fine arts, business, and every other discipline. Your work can be an independent project, or a collaboration with a professor or lab to which you have made substantive contributions.

For students wishing to enter a group project in the Showdown:

  • Confirm that everyone with a stake in the project agrees to entering the competition.
  • Multiple students can be involved in the production of the video. However, a single student should serve as the main narrator or focal point of the video (the “student research communicator”). If the video is selected as one of the finalists, that student alone will go on to give the in-person presentation.
  • Before entering the competition, all students must agree on how the award money (if any is received) will be divided. You may choose to split the money among the team members, or you may choose to give most (or all) of the money to the student research communicator.

What are the 2017 deadlines?

  • September 11: Video submissions open
  • October 10: Video submissions close
  • October 12: Online voting begins
  • October 25: Online voting ends and first-round winners announced soon after
  • November 15: Final round presentations