Postdoc Slam

UCSF's annual Postdoc Slam competition — modeled on the highly successful Grad Slam — challenges postdocs to give 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 competition incentivizes postdocs to clarify their ideas and to help others understand and appreciate their work.

Postdoc Slam Live Event

The 2024 Postdoc Slam contest will take place on Wednesday, September 18, 4 - 6 p.m., at the UCSF Mission Bay campus in Genentech Hall Auditorium. The event will also be live-streamed to remote viewers. As the centerpiece of UCSF's Postdoc Appreciation Week, the contest will be a celebration not only of the finalists and contest winner, but also of postdoc research at UCSF and of scientific inquiry.


The following prizes will be awarded at the event in September:

  • First Prize: $4,000 cash award
  • Second Prize: $2,000 cash award
  • Third Prize: $1,000 cash award
  • People's Choice: $750 cash award

(Winnings may be taxable.) 

Additionally, each eligible postdoc who enters the contest by submitting a video presentation that meets the guidelines and addresses the basic contest criteria, will receive a $50 Amazon gift card (to be distributed in August 2024).

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. Building this skill 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. Additionally, 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 or just to take a vacation! It'll be yours to spend any way you like. 

As an added incentive, and to recognize the effort involved in developing a talk and submitting a video, we will offer a $50 Amazon gift card to each eligible postdoc who enters the contest with a video presentation that meets the contest guidelines and criteria.

How to Enter

Step 1: Declare your intent to enter by Monday, July 15 by completing a simple online form.

Step 2: Prepare. Review the contest rules and guidelines, and the judging criteria. Check out these online resources to help you craft an accessible 3-minute talk. Watch some of the winning talks from past live competitions. Attend the optional virtual Postdoc Slam Prep Workshop on July 16, 2 - 3:30 p.m. PDT.

Step 3: Submit a video of your talk by Tuesday, July 30. 

Screening judges will select 7-10 finalists in August. See the contest rules for guidelines, eligibility, judging criteria, and other important deadlines. And check out our list of resources. Note that the contest is open to current UCSF-affiliated postdocs, including postdocs employed at the Gladstone Institutes or by HHMI.

declare intent to enter today!


There will be two sets of judges for the contest, comprising scientists and researchers, science communicators, communications professionals, and administrators. A panel of screening judges will review the initial video entries. These judges will choose the 7-10 finalists who will compete in the live event on September 18. A separate panel of final judges will choose the prize winners at the live event. The people's choice winner will be decided by audience vote at the live event.


See sidebar at right for more details! Questions may be directed to Erik Rotman, communications coordinator in the Graduate Division.