Ignite Talks Gain confidence in public speaking and strengthen your presentation skills

What is an Ignite Talk?

Ignite is an innovative and fast-paced style used to deliver a concise presentation. During an Ignite Talk, presenters use 20 image-centric slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds, to discuss their work. The result is an engaging, five-minute presentation.

Powerful Ignite Talks:

  • Start with strong introductions that pique the audience’s interest.
  • Explain why the topic is interesting.
  • Lay out what the audience will learn during the presentation.
  • Summarize the main points that were covered and what the audience learned.
  • End with a powerful call to action to further promote your research.

Why should you give an Ignite Talk?

One of the most important skills you will learn during your research experience is how to present your work to an audience. You know that your research is important, but no one will know what you are doing if you can’t confidently talk about it. Presentation skills are not an innate ability, instead they must be learned and practiced. Because Ignite Talks have a simple, uniform structure, they allow you to concentrate on honing your presentation skills.

“The process of getting ready for [my Ignite Talk] revealed a lot about myself to me, such as how I grasp information, areas of my public speaking I have to improve and more.” -Olaseni Adeniji, Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) internship program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Learning to give an Ignite Talk will help you:

  • Practice public speaking.
  • Talk about your work in an engaging way.
  • Develop an "elevator pitch."
  • Network with STEM professionals.
  • Become an expert at promoting yourself.
  • Prepare for job interviews.

The short duration of Ignite Talks allows for an additional benefit to participants and sponsors: they fit well into a fun, lightly competitive Ignite Off competition. ORISE participants may have the opportunity to represent their hosting facility while presenting their research in a national competition.

How to create an Ignite talk

To keep to the point and on track, it is recommended to have just a few (3-5) key points in your Ignite talk. Each slide in your presentation should serve those main points, with strong, relevant supporting details. You should strive to make the transition from point to point seamless and easy to follow. Your slides should be picture-centric, with a minimum amount of text: your slides serve as a background to your script, but you should be the center of attention. Controlling your script, facial expressions, body language, and vocal tone is highly important!

Current ORISE participants have access to Ignite Talk professional development training via ORISE Learn. Here’s a sneak peek of the training:

Related presentation styles you may be interested in:


2020 Ignite-Off Competition Winner

Kristyn Johnson, NETL

ORISE | Ignite Talks 2020 Winner | Kristyn Johnson from ORAU on Vimeo.


  • Enakshi Saha | ANL – Bayesian Latent-Variable Modeling of COVID-19 Infection Rate
  • Abdullah Kuziez | ANL – Accelerators for Carbon Ion Therapy
  • Tanner Stelmach | NETL – Chemical Looping Gasification (CLG)
  • Trevor McQueen | ORNL – Capturing Molecular Actions via Vitrification
  • Jacob Sumner | ORNL – Protein Shape Reconstruction with Neutron Scattering and Computational Tools

View finalists’ and other Ignite Off presentations

2019 ORNL vs. ANL Ignite Off Competition Winners

Kaylee Cunningham, ORNL

ORISE | Ignite Talks 2019 Winner | Kaylee Cunningham from ORAU on Vimeo.


  • Benjamin Aronson | ANL – The Future of Metal Manufacturing
  • Taylor Dennis | ORNL – The Search for Mirror Neutrons
  • Carol Lin | ANL – Investigation of the Tribological Effects on the Surface Interaction of Wind Turbine Bearings
  • Tayler Sundermann | ORNL – Robotic Laser Titanium Wire Big Area Additive Manufacturing
  • Nadia Zaragoza | ANL – Materials Science and Nuclear Fuels

View finalists’ and other Ignite Off presentations

2018 ANL-ORNL Ignite Competition Finalists

Sam Hollifield, ORNL

2018 Ignite-Off Competition - Sam Hollifield from ORAU on Vimeo.


  • Pranav Gandham | ORNL – Lithium Ion Batter Cathodes
  • Sam Hollifield | ORNL – Heavy Duty Cybersecurity
  • Julie Nguyen | ANL – What is Tribology?

View finalists’ and other Ignite Off presentations