Postdoc Slam 2017

What is it?

UCSF's second annual Postdoc Slam competition — modeled on the highly successful Grad Slam — challenges postdocs to present a compelling presentation of their research in three minutes or less, using language that not only their peers but also non-specialists will understand. The intention of Postdoc Slam is not to dumb-down or trivialize research; rather, it is meant to incentivize postdocs to clarify their ideas and to help others understand their work and to appreciate its significance.

Postdoc Slam Live Event

The 2017 Postdoc Slam contest took place on Tuesday, September 19, 4 - 6 p.m., at the UCSF Mission Bay campus in Genentech Hall Auditorium. As the keystone event of Postdoc Appreciation Week, the contest was a celebration not only of the finalists and contest winner, but also of postdoc research at UCSF and of scientific enquiry. Read more about the 2017 event.


The first place winner of this year's Postdoc Slam contest received a $3,000 cash prize. The runner-up received $1,500, and the "people's choice" winner $750. Non-prize-winning finalists each received a $100 Amazon gift card.


There are two sets of judges for the contest, comprising distinguished scientists, science communicators, and communications professionals. A panel of screening judges reviewed the initial entries, which were submitted on video. These judges chose the 10 finalists who competed in the live event. A separate panel of five judges chose the winner and runner-up at the live event in September. The people's choice winner was decided by the audience at the live event.

Why enter?

First of all, being able to present your research in a concise way to a non-specialist is a crucial skill for all scientists to have. Having such a presentation "in your back pocket" will help you with eventual job interviews and will help you to network at conferences and other events. It may even help you get funding for your ideas, and it will make you a better advocate for research, science, and education.

Being a finalist or winner of the Postdoc Slam contest will also look great on your CV! The Postdoc Slam competition will be well publicized, so finalists and awardees may get media attention as well. And each finalist in the live event will receive a professionally edited video of their presentation to use as they wish.

Finally, that prize money could help you get to a conference you want to attend. It'll be yours to spend as you wish.

How to Enter

The 2017 competition is over. Look for information about Postdoc Slam 2018 next spring. See the contest rules for guidelines, eligibility, judging criteria, and other important deadlines. And check out our list of resources. Eligible postdocs who declare intent to enter by the designated deadline will be invited to submit a video of their presentation next August.


Questions may be directed to Erik Rotman, communications coordinator in the Graduate Division.

More Information

Postdoc Slam Rules
Helpful Resources for Postdoc Slam Participants

(Photos above by Susan Merrell)