Movie clap board

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is pleased to launch GRADflix: Explain your research in a short video. Win prizes. Learn a new skill!


What is GRADflix?

GRADflix is a research communication opportunity for graduate students. Participants will create a video, moving slide show, or animation of no longer than 60 seconds (one minute) in length that describes their research. 

Videos can take many forms, but must include:

  • Movement (slide transitions, zoom, or a subject moving on video)
  • Sound (voice over, sound, and/or music)

Your video may be less than 60 seconds, but may not be longer than 60 seconds.

Please note: Closed captioning is not required at the initial stage of the competition. If your video is selected and you advance to the next round of the competition, closed captaining will be required as the winning videos will be uploaded to YouTube. 

Why you should participate

  • Learn a new skill: use digital narrative to explain a complex idea, and develop your "elevator pitch" while doing so!
  • Expand your network. Having a video about your research will make it easier to network online. Add the video to your LinkedIn profile, or add a link to your resume. In addition, the GRADflix showcase event will allow you to network with other students, judges, and faculty members. 
  • Broaden your communication skills. This competition will be developing your research communication skills, while teaching you how to communicate to non-specialist audiences. 
  • Gain greater exposure for your research: video is an accessible, easy-to-share format for telling your research story. 
  • Win prizes. You'll have the chance to win a monetary prize.
  • Apply the skills you learn through this competition to your teaching! Many professors use technology in the classroom, and video is one way to integrate technology in to your teaching.
  • Enter more competitions. Depending on your field of study, your video may meet the criteria for submission to SSHRC's Storytellers competition, and NSERC's Science, Action! contest. Consider submitting your video to other competitions, too!

Training session resources

The GRADflix training session took place October 29. The training session covered best practices, scripting, technology tools, software options, other resources and communicating for a non-specialist audience. Facilitators assumed you have no prior knowledge of creating videos.

Check out the our slides from the training session on creating a great video with your smartphone  (PDF) and tools and tips for making a one-minute video (PDF). Then, don't forget to register for the competition!

Need some equipment?

Just mention "GRADflix" to staff and you will be able to borrow any of the following pieces of equipment from room MC 1088:

  • Two lapel microphones
  • One mini shotgun microphone
  • One gorillapod™ with cellphone holder
  • One powered stabilizer

Judging criteria

  • 50% Communication:
    • use of clear language and terminology; good pace  
    • appropriate use of images to complement message
    • contribution to research/scholarship is clear and understandable
    • logical sequence of information (i.e. easy to follow)
    • ability to explain complex ideas to a non-specialist audience
  • 30% Creativity and visual impact
    • creative use of (limited) time
    • information presented creatively 
    • well-designed images/script
    • visually appealing, engaging
  • 20% Technical quality 
    • high quality sound and images
    • effective use of images and sound
    • citations/credits where required


To be eligible to participate in GRADflix, students must meet the following criteria:

  • University of Waterloo graduate students must be registered in a master's (Thesis or MRP) or PhD program at the time of the GRADflix competition. 
  • Master's and PhD students who have defended, but have not yet convocated, are eligible to participate.
  • Videos must focus on research conducted for a thesis, MRP or dissertation in the student's current University of Waterloo graduate program.
  • Participants must allow their videos to be made public.


Five prizes will be awarded

  • One 1st place prize: $750
  • One 2nd place prize: $500
  • One 3rd place prize: $250 
  • One 4th place prize: $250
  • One people's choice award: $250

Important dates 


    Wondering what we're looking for in terms of style? You have lots of options! Check out some of the following examples on YouTube of grad student videos. Notice that some are animations, others are video-recorded, and some are made with PowerPoint or sketches. 

    Aging in Place - Mei Lan Fang (mixed media)

    Challenges are Fun - Vincent Lemieux (sketch)

    The Buzz about Bees - Hayley Tompkins (video-recording)

    Manufacturing of the Future - Lucas Ruiting (animation)

    Submission details 

    The deadline to submit your video is December 7th. Please send the video (saved as an MP4 or MOV file) to using SendIt.

    By submitting your video, you are agreeing that your submission is an original work created by you, and that you have all necessary rights in and to the submission.  You also agree that this submission does not infringe upon or violate any laws or any third party rights, including, but not limited to, copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret or other proprietary rights and must not constitute material that would be considered libelling, defamatory, a privacy violation, tortious or a contract breach.


    On Thursday, January 10 the first GRADflix showcase was hosted by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

    The Board and Senate room in Needles Hall was filled to capacity with an eager audience who enjoyed beverages and popcorn while viewing the fifteen top video submissions.

    The winners were announced following a question and answer period from the audience, and short deliberation from the judges.

    GRADflix 2019 winners:

    1st place: Fraser King, MSc Candidate, Faculty of Environment for his video titled "CloudStat and Arctic snow"

    2nd place: Jason Jajoie, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Arts for his video titled "Making gay identities: Queer media practices queering media technologies"

    3rd place: Siyavash Izadi, MSc Candidate, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences for his video titled "Virtuality of Motion Sickness"

    4th place: Amanda Yan Yan Lim, MES Candidate, Faculty of Environment for her video "Worms and Waste"

    People's Choice: Siyavash Izadi, MSc Candidate, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences for his video titled "Virtuality of Motion Sickness"

    Congratulations to all our competitors!

    Students on red carpet Photos of judges with winners  All competitors

    For more pictures from the event, check out our Facebook album

    2019 GRADflix results 

    2019 GRADflix results
    Name Department/School Faculty Video Title Result
    Amanda Yan Yan Lim Environment, Resources and Sustainability Environment Worms and waste 4th place winner
    Fraser King Geography and Environmental Management Environment CloudSat and Arctic snow 1st place winner
    Jason Lajoie English Language and Literature Arts Making gay identities: Queer media practices queering media technologies 2nd place winner
    Jaydeep Mistry Geography and Environmental Management Environment GitHub use for government related work Finalist
    Jenner Ngai Chemical Engineering Engineering Conjugated polymer research for renewable energy Finalist
    Kristina Ellis Pharmacy Science CAR T - The Future of Cancer Therapy? Finalist
    Mostafa Alizadeh Electrical and Computer Engineering Engineering Remote vital signs monitoring using a mm-wave FMCW radar Finalist
    Natalie Knowles Geography and Environmental Management Environment Warmer winters: Fighting an uphill downhill climate battle Finalist
    Nicholas Charron Civil and Environmental Engineering Engineering Augmenting bridge inspections with autonomous robotics Finalist
    Rachel Green French Studies Arts Unlocking meaning: Doors as a “key” to understanding Honoré de Balzac’s novels Finalist
    Rina Wehbe Computer Science Mathematics Playing with space Finalist
    Siobhan Sutherland Psychology Arts Rethinking women’s desire: The science behind low libido Finalist
    Siyavash Izadi Kinesiology Applied Health Sciences Virtuality of motion sickness 3rd place winner and people's choice winner
    Stephanie Higgins Geography and Environmental Management Environment Warmer winters, colder soils, and more phosphorus in our water Finalist
    Tina Chan Public Health and Health Systems Applied Health Sciences The game of helping others Finalist