Movie clap board

Competition information

Important dates 

The dates for the 2024 GRADflix competition are as follows:

Eligibility and rules

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

  • Be a University of Waterloo graduate student who is 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 degree completed, but have not yet convocated, are eligible to participate.
  • You must be willing to allow your video to be made public and provide a photo and short biography if you are selected as a finalist. Your photo and biography will also be made public. 
  • 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 must attend the in-person showcase to be eligible to win a prize, or have a delegate who can accept the prize on your behalf. If you are a finalist and not able to attend or arrange a delegate, you must be willing to work with Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs to ensure there is someone in attendance, such as a department or faculty representative, who can accept a prize on your behalf.
  • Previous finalists who did not win first prize are eligible to compete again if the video submission is materially different, as determined by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA), from that of their previous submission. GSPA is happy to provide guidance, so please reach out to us at

Video requirements

  • Videos can take many forms, but must include: movement (slide transitions, zoom, or a subject moving on video) and sound (voice over, sound, and/or music).
  • Your video may be less than 60 seconds, but may not be longer than 60 seconds.
  • Your video must focus on research conducted for your thesis, MRP or dissertation in your current graduate program at University of Waterloo.
  • If your video is selected, you may be asked to submit a script for closed captioning purposes. If your video is selected and you advance to the next round of the competition, closed captioning will be required as the winning videos will be uploaded to YouTube. Participants may submit a video in another language other than English. If your video submission uses a language other than English, you will be asked to submit multiple scripts (one providing an English translation and one in the other language used in your video).  
  • When creating your video, keep copyright in mind. As your video will be made available online, you need to make sure that you are using third party content properly. If you want to avoid copyright complications, take a look at the resources provided by the Univeristy of Waterloo's Copyright and Licensing Librarian, Lauren Byl.
  • Abstracts, oral descriptions, slides, pictures and videos can all constitute public disclosure and affect intellectual property rights and patentability. If this may be a concern, consult with your supervisor, the Office of Research or the Intellectual Property website for further information.

  • 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.

Judging criteria

Communication (50%)

Your ability to communicate your research effectively and efficiently to a general audience through language and visuals. A strong video will demonstrate:

  • Ability to explain complex ideas to a non-specialist audience
  • Well-designed script with clear language and terminology
  • Good pacing and sequencing of information (i.e. easy to follow)
  • Audio and visuals that add information, clarify ideas, or complement the message
  • Clear explanation of contribution(s) to research/scholarship

Note: The GRADflix competition will be judged in English. For videos that include a language other than English, judges will base their assessment on the English transcript or subtitles, provided with the video.

Creativity (30%)

Your ability to present your research in a unique and thoughtful way. A strong video will demonstrate:

  • Creative use of (limited) time
  • Novel and interesting presentation of information
  • Engaging format that captures audience interest

Technical quality (20%)

Your ability to produce a video with quality visual and audio components. A strong video will demonstrate:

  • High quality sound and images
  • Integration of appealing audio/visual elements

Note: By submitting your video, you are agreeing that all sounds, images, information, etc. are cited or credited in the video, as required. See submission details for further information.

BONUS! Social Impact

GreenHouse is sponsoring an additional prize for “Most compelling social impact story”.

Tell us how your research has the potential to make a difference in the well-being of people and/or the planet. How urgent is the problem and how big is it?

The social impact prize will be judged separately from the rest of the judging criteria and will not impact your ability to win the 1st to 4th places or People’s Choice prizes.

GreenHouse is a social impact incubator that offers programs, opportunities, and a community for students to develop problem solving skills, form innovative ideas, and make new forms of sustainable impact around social or environmental change.

GreenHouse logo, which includes the word GreenHouse with the words purpose, action and impact below


Six 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
  • One social impact award: $250 (sponsored by GreenHouse)


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. 

Video Type Example

Magazine project for newcomer children by Hasan Ahmet Gokce

Rethinking women’s desire: The science behind low libido by Siobhan Sutherland

Video recording

Virtuality of motion sickness by Siyavash Izadi

Unlocking meaning: Doors as a “key” to understanding Honoré de Balzac’s novels by Rachel Green

Stop motion

#GenerationRestoration: Peatlands and greenhouse gases by Megan Schmidt

Price prediction with machine learning by Muhammad Saad

Mixed media

GitHub use for government related work by Jaydeep Mistry

Making gay identities: Queer media practices queering media technologies by Jason Lajoie