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Graduate Studies

GradFlix video competition

Whether choosing a career in academia or beyond, your communication skills are key to achieving your professional goals. Our annual GradFlix competition provides an opportunity for you to use your creativity while building your communication and technical skills! 

Register your intent to compete and you will have an opportunity for one-on-one feedback! Videos are due on March 1.

GradFlix registration form

What is GradFlix?

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.

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.

Remember, you aren’t being judged on the potential impact of your research, but rather how effectively (and creatively) you communicate your research story in your GradFlix!

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 cash prizes and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Communicating Graduate Research!

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.

Communication – 50%

  • Use of clear language and terminology.
  • Logical sequence of information: Does the script/story make sense? Are the images appropriate? Do they complement the message?
  • Clear explanation of why the research is important.

Creativity – 30%

  • Information is presented creatively. For example, you could include a poem, original music, animations, or elements that have a higher technical difficulty (e.g., green screen).
  • Visually or verbally appealing and engaging.

Technical Quality – 20%

  • Quality of sound and images.
  • Accessibility of final video. For example, all videos are required to be captioned according to best practices (i.e., Do not caption directly to video, but provide script in a usable format for upload to YouTube.)
  • All images, audio, effects are cited at end of video. (not counted in the 60-second time limit.)
  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.

Cite your sources

All sources, whether your original images/video/content or those by someone else, MUST be cited in a closing slide on the video. The closing citation slide is in addition to your 60-second GradFlix.

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 2023 Graduate Recognition Awards reception in late 2023).

Deadline to register for the competition: February 13

  • 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 1

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

Preliminary judging begins on March 6

Final showcase happens week of April 3 on YouTube Live

Contact form instructions

  • All fields are required.
  • Includes text fields

PLEASE NOTE: You do NOT need to submit your video when you register.

Only registered GradFlixers will be eligible to take part in one-on-one or group feedback sessions.