Highlander Research Blitz Competition Guidelines


Radford undergraduate and graduate students (main campus, RUC, RHEC, SVHEC) are eligible to participate in the Highlander Research Blitz competition if they are doing at least one of the following:

  • developing original research work for a  project within a course, thesis, dissertation, or academic/professional conference
  • producing creative work for a project, thesis, performance, or installation 
  • participating in a capstone experience, such as an internship or clinical/professional practicum

Students can present on research, projects, and capstone experiences that are at any stage of development (e.g., planning and development, mid-project, or final stages). Additionally, participants must be in good academic standing with the university at the time of the competition.

Competition Rules

Students participating in the Research Blitz Competition agree to abide by a common set of rules. Presentations must abide by the following guidelines:

  • Presentations can be no longer than 3 minutes.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech. (Timing does not include the Research Blitz title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking).
  • If you use any copyrighted material in your presentation (tables, charts, images, etc.) you MUST complete and submit the Permission to Present Copyrighted Material Form. This form can also be found under the Student Forms tab on the College of Graduate Studies webpage.
  • Application videos must meet the following criteria:
  • Filmed on the horizontal;
  • Filmed on a plain background;
  • Filmed from a static position;
  • Filmed from one camera angle;
  • Contain a Research Blitz title slide;
  • Contain a Research Blitz PowerPoint slide 
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or "movement" any kind). The slide can be visible continuously or "cut to," provided that the slide is shown, in total, for no more than 1 minute. 
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) is permitted.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Competition Format

The 2024 Highlander Research Blitz Competition at Radford will be conducted as an in-person event on April 3, 2024. All participants will present for no longer than 3 minutes to qualify for up to two rounds of judging consideration.


A panel of alumni, university supporters, and community members will award prizes for First Place ($500) and Runner Up ($300),  during the event on April 3, 2024. Members of the university community will be invited to view the finalists' videos and submit their vote for the People's Choice ($300) winner. Voting for the People's Choice Award will be open from April 10-17, 2024 and the winner will be announced at the College of Graduate Studies graduation ceremony on May 4, 2024.

Judging Criteria

Research Blitz speakers and their presentations will be evaluated based on the criteria below. Judging Criteria can also be found on the rubric.  Please note that the decision of the judges and audience is final. 

Comprehension and content

  • Does the presentation provide an appropriate level of background information, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Does the presentation provide a clear framework of the research and methods?
  • Are the topic, significance, results/impact, and outcomes/insights communicated in language appropriate for a non-specialist audience?
  • Does the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, creative work, or capstone experience, including conclusions, insights, and/or outcomes?

Engagement and communication

  • Is the presentation delivered clearly and with appropriate language for a non-specialist audience
  • Does the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - is it clear, legible, and concise?
  • Does the speaker engage and connect with the viewer? Does the speaker make direct eye contact with the viewer? Does the speaker maintain a steady speaking pace and project confident body language?
  • Does the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Does the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research, creative work, or capstone experience?

Application Process

Radford and Radford University Carilion students interested in participating should complete the Research Blitz application online by February 19, 2024. 

Audition Video

A three-minute audition video is a required part of the application. Audition videos will not be shown during the competition itself and are not part of the final judging process. For this reason, they can be taken with webcams or cell phones. Audition videos must be submitted as a YouTube link as a part of the Highlander Research Blitz application form. All application materials, including the audition video, must be received by the College of Graduate Studies and Research by February 19, 2024.

Consult the Highlander Research Blitz FAQ page for additional guidance on developing and submitting an audition video.

Selection of Finalists

Applicants invited to participate in the competition as finalists will be notified by March 4, 2024. To be eligible for the First Place, Runner-Up, and People's Choice awards, finalists must present a final, polished version of their presentation on April 3, 2024.


The College of Graduate Studies and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship are committed to facilitating an inclusive event. If you are a person with a disability who anticipates needing accommodations to participate meaningfully in the competition, please contact the College of Graduate Studies at (540) 831-5752.


If you have questions about the application process, please contact the College of Graduate Studies at (540) 831-5752 or cgsr@radford.edu. 


To attend the online webinar, please use the link.  https://radford.zoom.us/j/99249501784. 

From April 10-17, 2024, the College of Graduate Studies will host open voting for the People's Choice Award in Highlander Research Blitz Competition for students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs through Radford University (main campus, RUC, RHEC, SVHEC).

In a Research Blitz Competition, contestants have three minutes to describe their original research, creative work, or capstone experience sponsored by their academic programs of study. Aided by a single PowerPoint slide, participants compete to see who can best communicate their work and its significance to a non-specialist (layperson) audience.

Competitors will submit their three-minute pre-recorded video presentation to be considered as a part of the application process. Submissions will be evaluated based on the delivery and communication of the content and not the quality of the video. Selected students will be invited to participate in the in-person, live compitition on April 3, 2024.

Students interested in participating must apply online by February 19, 2024. Consult the complete competition guidelines below before beginning the application.