“What am I?”: Reflections on Centuries-old Question Wins Philosophy Graduate Student EUR 1000 3MT Prize

June 19, 2019

Vampires, exotic four-dimensional spaces and identity troubles were among the subjects covered in CEU’s 2019 Three-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) on June 18.

11 doctoral students took part in the second ever 3MT contest at CEU from the Departments of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Mathematics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Public Policy and Legal Studies.

Philosophy doctoral student Jamie Elliott won the competition with his presentation on the eternal question “Who am I?” He also provided an elaborate literature review in three minutes, winning the EUR 1000 3MT prize.

Runner-up Natalia Pervushina from the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy won EUR 500 for her presentation of her work in combating global wildlife crime, namely saving tigers from extinction. She reflected on not just her thesis but also extensive fieldwork interviewing stakeholders and helping prosecute poachers.

The People’s Choice Award of EUR 500 went to Mirko Dukovic from the Department of Legal Studies who addressed the legal challenges of human tissue printing, explaining the trials and tribulations of helping the legal framework catch up with advances in technology.

Provost Liviu Matei stressed that the 3MT competition at CEU is a celebration of the various areas of research CEU graduate students are undertaking, and that he hopes to see even more young researchers showcase their work in years to come. Matei also pointed out the manifold practical applications several participants mentioned in their talks, from security agencies in policymaking to the independence of constitutional courts. Dean of Students Chrys Margaritidis added that the event is a unique chance for all participants, as well as those in the audience, to form new connections and interdisciplinary links, learning from and engaging with each other’s academic endeavors. 


Full list of participants, 2019 CEU Three-Minute Thesis Competition:

Ádám Mézes / History: Who's Afraid of Vampires?

Nikhil Mahant / Philosophy: Identity Troubles

Ameni Mehrez / Political Science: A New Moral Divide: The Us Versus Them

Anna Varfolomeeva / Environmental Sciences and Policy: Set in Stone? Indigenous Communities and Mining in Russia

Kirill Shamiev / Public Policy: Seeking Purpose Beyond Power: Security Agencies and Policymaking

Magdalena Smieszek / Legal Studies: Evolving Europe

Jamie Elliott / Philosophy: Anscombe and 'I'

Natalia Pervushina / Environmental Sciences and Policy: Tigers in Global Wildlife Crime

Saniia Toktogazieva / Legal Studies: Why Constitutional Courts Matter

Stefan Mihajlovic / Mathematics: Exotic 4-Dimensional Spaces

Mirko Dukovic / Legal Studies: Who Owns Your Broken Heart?


The first 3MT was held at The University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 PhD students competing. Enthusiasm for the 3MT concept grew and its widespread implementation by universities has led to the development of an international competition. 3MTs are now hosted in over 200 institutions worldwide. The first institutional 3MT competition at CEU was held in June 2018. Dan Knox from the Department of History won first prize with his three-minute introduction to 6th-century social media.