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RESEARCH LIVE! Rules & Regulations

A view of the CIF Atrium


Graduate students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who are registered and in good standing during the semester of the competition. Previous participants are welcome to enter again provided they enter with different material. Only one entry can be submitted per student.

The Challenge

Give an engaging presentation about your research and its impact in a manner accessible to an audience of non-experts. 


  • All Research Live! entries for the 2024 competition should be submitted in three parts:
  1. completion of the online registration form
  2. a single video recording of your presentation, uploaded to a Box folder linked in the registration form
  3. a single PowerPoint slide, uploaded to a Box folder linked in the registration form


  • Participants should submit one continuous, unedited video recording of themselves delivering their presentation that includes no more than three (3) minutes of speaking.
  • No other person should be seen or heard in the recording unless the participant has requested and received a written exception from the Graduate College.
  • Your slide should not be included or seen in the video recording, meaning you do not need to show or share your slide in the recording.
  • Recordings must be submitted in either .mp4 or .wav file types.


  • Participants should submit one PowerPoint slide (16x9 dimensions) separately. The slide does not need to be seen, shared, or included in the recording.
  • The slide may only include text and still images. No animation, video, or sound files are permitted.
  • Participants do not need to include their name or title of their presentation on the slide.
  • The slide must be prepared by the submitter.


  • Presentations have a maximum time limit of three (3) minutes, starting from when the participant begins speaking. We understand the video recording may last longer by a few seconds, but the presentation portion should not extend beyond three minutes.


  • Participants are permitted to use props in their preliminary round presentation video.
  • If invited to participate in the final round, participants must receive permission from the Graduate College for the use of any props.

Other Requirements

  • The deadline to enter is 7:59 a.m. (Central) on Monday, February 26, 2024.
  • Only one entry can be submitted per student.
  • Previous participants are welcome to enter again provided they enter with different material. 
  • Any entry that does not satisfy the rules listed in this section will be disqualified.

If you have any questions about how to submit your entry for the 2024 competition, please email

Preliminary Round Judging

The preliminary round judging panel will be comprised of people representing a range of disciplines and professional experience. Video submissions for the preliminary round will only be viewed by preliminary round judges and Graduate College staff coordinating Research Live!. Preliminary round videos are assessed on the five criteria listed below.


  • Clear presentation structure
  • Topics flow well


  • Explains the impact and/or significance of the work
  • Clear explanation of presenter's role in the research


  • Topic is explained in an understandable way, including providing sufficient background information
  • Complex terminology/jargon is explained


  • Captures and keeps the audience's attention
  • Delivers an effective performance style (eg. gestures, expressions, body language, volume, pace)


  • Visuals enhance (rather than distract from) the presentation
  • Slide is clear, legible, and concise

Final Round Judging and Awards

Participants selected as finalists will be invited to compete in the final round. Finalists will have the opportunity to revise their presentation and then film a new recording to serve as their final submission. Finalists will also receive coaching from Graduate College staff based on feedback from the preliminary round judges. More details and instructions will be provided to finalists after the completion of the preliminary round.

The final round judging panel will be comprised of a group of University High School juniors and seniors. They will determine winners for the following five prizes:

  • The Grand Prize ($500) will be awarded to the finalist whose presentation excelled in all five criteria of organization, purpose, content, delivery, and visuals.
  • The Design Award ($200) is all about the slide, given to the finalist who enhanced their talk the most through imagery, photographs, diagrams, illustrations, graphs, or other visuals.
  • The Impact Award ($200) recognizes the finalist whose presentation highlights how their research is making or aimed at making substantial positive change in the world.
  • The Storyteller Award ($200) is granted to the finalist whose performance style and delivery stole the show.   
  • The Visionary Award ($200) recognizes the finalist who is breaking new ground in their work whether through a unique approach, creative problem-solving, or charting a new direction in their field.

*Awards will be dispersed as professional development travel funds through the student's university account. Awards may be subject to tax withholding.

Research Live! Finalist Showcase

To celebrate our finalists, everyone is invited to attend the in-person Research Live! Finalist Showcase on Tuesday, April 2 at 5:00 p.m. at the Campus Instructional Facility. This event will include live screening of the finalist recordings and the official announcement of the award winners!

Immediately following the viewing of all finalist videos, members of the audience will get to vote for the winner of the People's Choice Award ($200). The event will be livestreamed for family and friends who cannot attend in-person and those watching online will be able to vote!

Check out our event details page for more information on the Finalist Showcase.