Highlander Research Blitz

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

Competition Guidelines

April 3rd, 2024, OURS and the College of Graduate Studies will host the first annual Highlander Research Blitz Competition for students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs through Radford University (main campus, RUC, RHEC, SVHEC).

Contestants will have three minutes to describe their original mentored research or creative inquiry. Aided by a single image or graphic on a 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 by February 19, 2024.

·         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 competition on April 3, 2024 in Kyle Hall from 5 to 7 pm.


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 for an 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 these common set of rules:

·         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 Highlander Research Blitz title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking).

·         Application videos must meet the following criteria:

·         Filmed horizontally;

·         Filmed on a plain background;

·         Filmed from a static position;

·         Filmed from one camera angle;

·         Contain a Highlander Research Blitz title slide;

·         Contain a Highlander Research Blitz PowerPoint slide 

·         OURS recommends filming in zoom or using a conference room on campus to display the visual and filming with a cell phone or equivalent device. 

·         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 in Kyle Hall 320 on April 3, 2024 starting at 5 pm. All participants will present for no longer than 3 minutes to qualify for judging consideration.


A panel of alumni, university supporters, and community members will award prizes for first, second, and third place in the undergraduate student competition, 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 winner. Voting for the People's Choice Award will be open from April 10-17, 2024.

Judging Criteria

Highlander Research Blitz speakers and their presentations will be evaluated based on the criteria below.  Please note that the decision of the judges and audience is final. 

Comprehension and content

·         Does the presentation clearly describe the objective of the work, relevancy to the audience, and essential takeaways?

·         Does the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?

·         Is the topic communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?

·         Does the presentation flow smoothly (balanced time between objective, relevancy, and takeaways)?

·         Is the slide a single image that is clear, legible, and concise?

·         Does the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation?

Engagement and communication

·         Does the presentation make the audience want to know more?

·         Does the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research or creative inquiry?

·         Does the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?

·         Does the speaker engage and connect with the viewer in ways such as direct eye contact, steady speaking pace, and confident body language?

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 webpage link, such as YouTube or Vimeo, 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 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 (OURS) 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; cgsr@radford.edu or OURS 540-831-5537; ours@radford.edu or visit us in Whitt Hall 118.


If you have questions about the undergraduate application process, please contact OURS at (540) 831-5537 or ours@radford.edu.