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Graduate Studies

GradFlix video competition

Join us for the GradFlix Final Showcase on YouTube, happening on March 30 at 3 p.m.

Communicating your research effectively to a broad audience is important. Join us for our first ever GradFlix competition so that you with an opportunity to do just that!

GradFlix is a video competition where graduate students have one minute to share their research story for a chance to win prizes and be featured in McMaster’s GradFlix showcase.

Participants create a video, moving slide show, or animation of no longer than 60 seconds (1 minute) in length that describes their research.

For resources to help you create your video, scroll down.

Get creative!

Videos can take many forms. Perhaps you would like to share your research in a poem. Maybe an original piece of music by you can accompany your visuals. Telling your story through animations may be something you’ve thought about. Here’s your chance to channel your inner creative self while describing your research!

Please note that videos must include:

  • movement (slide transitions, zoom, or a subject moving in a video)
  • sound (voice over, sound and/or music)

Videos may be less than 60 seconds, but may not be longer than 60 seconds.

Why should you participate?

  • You have the chance to learn a new skill.
    • Use digital narrative to explain a complex idea, and develop your “elevator pitch” while doing so. Plus, you can apply your newfound tech skills to your teaching.
  • Take this opportunity to expand your network
    • Having a video about your research will make it easier to network online. Add it to your online portfolio, perhaps your LinkedIn profile, or add a link to your resume.
  • Broaden your communication skills.
    • The competition will develop your research communication skills, while teaching you how to communicate with non-specialist audiences
  • Introduce your research to a new and broader audience.
    • Video is an accessible, easy-to-share format for telling your research story.
  • Win prizes!

PLUS you may have an opportunity to use your video to enter more competitions – for example, SSHRC’s Storytellers – OR you can use your new skills to create another video!

Expandable List

To be eligible to participate in GradFlix, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Graduate students must be registered in a master’s (Thesis or MRP) or PhD program at the time of the competition.
  • Master’s and PhD students who have defended, but have not yet convoked, are eligible to participate.
  • Videos must focus on research conducted for a thesis, MRP or dissertation in the student’s current McMaster University graduate program.
  • Participants must allow their videos to be made public.
  • 50% Communication:
    • Use of clear language and terminology; good pace.
    • Appropriate use of images to complement message.
    • Contribution to research/scholarship is clear and understandable.
    • Logical sequence of information (i.e., easy to follow).
    • Ability to explain complex ideas to a non-specialist audience.
  • 30% Creativity and visual impact
    • Creative use of (limited) time.
    • Information presented creatively.
    • Well-designed images/script.
    • Visually appealing, engaging.
  • 20% Technical quality
    • High quality sound and images.
    • Effective use of images and sound.
    • Citations/credits where required.
  1. Videos must focus on research conducted for a thesis, MRP or dissertation in the student’s current McMaster University graduate program.
  2. Video content must be original and you must be the sole author of the content. 
  3. Submissions should be the creative work of one individual. No group submissions.
  4. Videos should be no more than 60 seconds (one minute) in length; videos longer than one minute will be disqualified.
  5. Ensure that you do not violate any copyrights in your video. Copyright violation – or potential for violation – is cause for disqualification. It’s also illegal, so best to avoid.
  6. Only one submission per competitor.
  7. As always, the decision of the judges is final.

More about copyright

Copyright infringement happens if you use someone else’s creative work – music, illustration, graphics, photos, written work, etc. – without their permission.With copyright, it is best to err on the side of caution. If you aren’t sure about the copyright on a piece of music or an illustration, don’t use it.

The presentation of research in GradFlix will be publicly accessible. (i.e., in the public domain.)

The presentation of the research will not affect any pre-existing rights following the competition, except as stated below:

  • Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to sign non-disclosure statements. If your research is being/has been conducted under contract with an outside sponsor, students should discuss the related contractual terms of confidentiality and intellectual property with their supervisor before participating in this competition.
  • All videos submitted to this competition are open to the public at large, and may be posted to a public website.
  • Any data or information discussed or presented in video submissions should be considered ‘public’. If your research includes confidential or culturally sensitive material we advise that you discuss your competition entry with your supervisor(s) before entering GradFlix.

Four prizes will be awarded:

  • 1st: $1,000
  • 2nd: $500
  • 3rd : $250
  • People’s choice: $250

Top winners receive the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Communication Graduate Research (to be awarded at the Graduate Recognition Awards in Fall 2021).

Deadline to register for the competition: March 3 at 9 a.m.

  • Please note that you do not need a completed video to register for the competition.Videos are not required at this time.

Video deadline: March 15 at 9 a.m.

  • Instructions to upload videos will be sent out after the registration deadline

Preliminary judging begins on March 17

Final showcase happens on March 30 on YouTube Live


GradFlix Resources

Lyons New Media Centre

Grad Studies has partnered with the Lyons New Media Centre to bring students resources and a virtual workshop, to help you craft your video! with the creation of their videos. Lyons New Media Centre has lots of resources that graduate students can access.

Connecting with your audience: Delivering your best!

A communications workshop focused on presenting your research.

Information Box Group

LinkedIn Learning: Video-making collection Go to LinkedIn Learning

As a McMaster grad student, you have free access to LinkedIn Learning. Check out these video-making resources that may provide you with some tips.

Also, you can do your own search for more film-making tutorials – there are many available!

New to LinkedIn Learning? Visit UTS to learn more about accessing LinkedIn Learning (formerly You do not need a LinkedIn profile to access the platform.

Wondering what a GradFlix looks like? Visit University of Waterloo

Visit the University of Waterloo past GradFlix participants and review just how creative you can be!

SSHRC Storytellers Visit SSHRC Storytellers on Youtube

SSHRC’s Storytellers competition challenges postsecondary students to show Canadians, in up to three minutes or 300 words, how social sciences and humanities research is affecting our lives, our world and our future for the better.

GradFlix is an opportunity for our graduate researchers from the Humanities and Social Sciences, to get valuable hands-on experience in sharing their research in a creative and compelling way via video format.

Past SSHRC Storyteller finalist and McMaster PhD candidate Michelle Ogrodnik will be on hand at the upcoming workshop, Connecting With Your Audience, on February 18.

About GradFlix

The University of Waterloo created and launched their first GRADFlix competition in 2018. Thanks to the UoW GRADFlix team for sharing information and helping us to launch our inaugural GradFlix!