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RESEARCH LIVE! Rules & Regulations

Orange microphone on blue background.


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

The Presentation

Give an engaging presentation of your work and its impact in a manner suitable for a general audience. 


  • All Research Live! entries for the 2021 competition should be submitted in three parts: 1) completion of the online registration form, 2) a single video recording of their presentation, and 3) a single PowerPoint slide. Participants will upload their recording and slide separately through a Box folder that can be accessed through the online form.
  • Participants should submit one continuous, unedited video recording of themselves delivering their presentation that includes no more than 3 minutes of speaking. No other person should be seen or heard other than the speaker.
  • Recordings should be submitted in either .mp4 or .wav file types.


  • Participants should submit one PowerPoint slide (16x9 dimensions) with their video recording. The slide should not be included or seen in the video 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 minutes, starting from when the participant begins. 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.

Other Requirements

  • The deadline to enter is 5:00 pm (Central) on Friday, March 5.
  • You will upload your recording and slide in a Box folder using your Illinois login credentials. The link to the Box folder is found on the registration form.
  • 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 2021 competition, please email

Preliminary and Final Rounds

Preliminary Round
Preliminary round judges will assess presentations based on the criteria listed in the judging section below. The top participants from the preliminary round will advance to the final round. Video submissions for the preliminary round will only be viewed by preliminary round judges and Graduate College staff coordinating Research Live!

Final Round
Finalists will be required to do a new recording of their presentation for the final round and will receive specific instructions about that process after the preliminary round.

Finals Showcase Event
Finalists will get an opportunity to premiere their Research Live! videos to the public at a special showcase event hosted by the Graduate College on Monday, April 12 at 5:00 pm. This event will also include live voting for the people’s choice award and the official announcement of the competition winners!

Judges and Judging Criteria

The decisions of the judges are final. The judging panels will be comprised of people representing a range of disciplines and professional experience. Judges will evaluate each presentation for both preliminary and finals rounds based on the following criteria:


  • Clear presentation structure
  • Topics flow well


  • Captures audience interest
  • Explains the purpose of the work


  • Enough background information is provided to understand the topic
  • Clear explanation of role in the project
  • Complex terminology/jargon is explained


  • Conveys enthusiasm and passion
  • 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


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