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5-Minute Fast Track Research Competition


1 Slide. 5 Minutes. Outstanding research! Cheer on UK undergraduate research students as they share their trailblazing research and compete for cash prizes in the 5-Minute Fast Track Competition. Who will advance to the finals?


The Office of Undergraduate Research will host its 5th annual 5-Minute Fast Track Research Presentation Competition this fall. The 5-Minute Fast Track is an academic competition that cultivates students’ presentation and research communication skills, and challenges them to describe their research within five minutes. This is a terrific opportunity for UK’s undergraduate students to learn these critical communication skills and represent the diversity of scholarly work at UK.



  • WIN (first place) will receive $750

  • PLACE (second place) will receive $500

  • SHOW (third place) will receive $250 


** NOTE: Only 20 student registrations available. Register early!

2022 5-Minute Fast Track Research Competition winners Kayli Bolton, Tanner Durst, Patrick Bidros

2022 Overall Winners

1st Place: Kayli Bolton

2nd Place: Tanner Durst

3rd Place: Patrick Bidros



  • Registration Opens: Sept. 1, 2023
  • Registration Deadline: Oct. 1, 2023
  • Mandatory Workshop for Presenters: Oct. 9, 2023
  • Preliminary Round: Oct. 18, 2023
  • Final Round: Oct. 26, 2023


  • Must have completed two full terms of faculty-mentored research in any major
  • Must be a Sophomore, Junior, or Senior


Important Dates

  • September 1, 2023  Registration Opens 

  • October 1, 2023  Registration Deadline

  • October 9, 2023 - 5-Minute Fast Track Student Presentation and Slide Workshop; 5:30 PM  Click here to register for Workshop

    • Mandatory for all students competing in the 5-Minute Fast Track 

    • Learn from 2022 5-Minute Fast Track winners and finalists about creating a powerful 5-minute lightning talk and designing an engaging and informative competition slide.  

  • October 15, 2023 - Final competition slide must be uploaded by 11:55 PM EDT

  • October 18, 2023 - 5MT Fast Track Competition - Preliminary Round  5 PM - 8 PM; Healthy Kentucky Research Building (HKRB) Atrium - live student presentations with Q&A from judges

**** TOP 10 student finalists from the Preliminary Round advance to the Final Round****

  • October 26, 2023 - 5MT Fast Track Competition - Final Championship Round; 5 PM - 8 PM; Healthy Kentucky Research Building (HKRB) Atrium.  Top 10 finalists will present live in front of a panel of judges. 


Competition Details


The competition will include a preliminary round on October 18, 2023 with the Top 10 students from the preliminary round advancing to the Final Championship Round on October 26, 2023.

Undergraduate student competitors will present their research in five minutes, using only one static slide, in front of a panel of faculty judges and audience. The goal of this competition is to improve students’ abilities to communicate their undergraduate research effectively to a general audience while creating a compelling story about their scholarly work.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023 - 5MT Fast Track Competition - Preliminary Round   5:00 - 8:00 PM; Healthy Kentucky Research Building (HKRB) Atrium - live student presentations with Q&A from judges. 

** TOP 10 student finalists from the Preliminary Round will advance to the Final Round ** Students will be notified via email after the Preliminary Round is completed. 

  • Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023 - 5MT Fast Track Competition - Final Championship Round; 5 PM - 7:30 PM; Healthy Kentucky Research Building (HKRB) Atrium.  The TOP 10 finalists will present live in front of a panel of judges.  The event will be live-streamed and recorded by UK Event Productions.  Presentations will be recorded by UK Event Production team.




  • University of Kentucky undergraduates who have completed two full terms of faculty-mentored research in any major are eligible to compete.

  • Participants must have a Sophomore, Junior, or Senior enrollment status

  • Participants MUST BE available to participate in the preliminary rounds AND the Championship Final Round



Mark your calendars now for September 1, 2023 at 12:00am (registration opens).  NOTE: There are only 20 student registrations available

Confirmations will be sent to the students who successfully register for the competition.



REGISTER FOR STUDENT WORKSHOP  *mandatory for all competitors


Online registration will require the following:

  • Topic Summary (300 words maximum) - this summary is only for registration purposes and is not considered for judging

  • Presentation Title

  • Faculty Mentor Information


Judging Criteria


  1. Only 1 single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or "movement" of any description. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  2. No additional electronic media, sound, or video files are permitted
  3. No additional props - costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment - are permitted
  4. Presentations are limited to 5 minutes maximum. Competitors exceeding 5 minutes will be disqualified.
  5. Presentations are to be spoken word - no poems, rap, or songs
  6. Presentations are to commence from the front of the WT Young Auditorium
  7. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech
  8. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final. The Top 10 presenters from the preliminary round will advance to the final championship round


  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?



  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Was the research topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate for a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?

Previous Winners

2021 5-Minute Fast Track Winners

2021 5-Minute Fast Track Winners

2020 5MT Winners

2020 5-Minute Fast Track Winners

Final Round Student Presentations.

2020 5-Minute Fast Track Finals

1st place: FRANCES SALISBURY – Biology major, junior | Research Area: Sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease | Faculty Mentor: Bruce O’Hara (Biology)

Project Title: Effect of Sleep Fragmentation on Alzheimer Mice 

2nd place: MALIK APPLETON – Pre-Pharmacy major, senior | Research Area: Neuropharmacology | Faculty Mentor: Keith Pennypacker (Center for Advanced and Translational Stroke Science)

Project Title: Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Regulates the Post Stroke Immune Cell Infiltration in Aged Male and Female Rats 

ROLLIE MILLS – Chemical Engineering major, senior | Research Area: Engineering, Water filtration| Faculty Mentor: Dibakar Bhattacharyya (Chemical Engineering)

Project Title: Novel Membrane Filtration for Removal of Emerging Water Pollutants 


2nd place: ALYSSA MERTKA

3rd place: NATALIE HAWES