Winners announced of new international science writing competition

Issue date: 30 July 2015

A pen resting on a writing pad

The Science Communication Unit (SCU) at UWE Bristol, in conjunction with BBC Focus magazine, has announced the winners of a new international science writing competition.

In its inaugural year, the competition received entries from aspiring writers around the world, who love putting pen to paper in the name of science.

Entrants were invited to submit a 700-word article on 'The Science that will transform our future' and the winners were chosen from two categories; '20 and Under', and 'Over 21'.

The four-strong panel of judges consisted of, Andy Ridgway and Dr Emma Weitkamp, from the University's Science Communication Unit, former Editor of BBC Focus magazine, Graham Southorn, and David Shukman, the BBC's Science Editor.

Andy Ridgway says, “Our aim in setting up this competition was to showcase the wealth of new science writing talent out there, and the response has been phenomenal. We've had entries from Sri Lanka, Egypt, the US, Canada, Australia, Pakistan and across the UK. We're already planning next year's event, so if you love writing about science, watch this space.”

The winner in the '20 and Under' category was 14 year old Emily Clements. Emily's essay, 'Charging Ahead with the Future', looked at the research into aluminium-ion based batteries that could replace today's ubiquitous lithium-ion batteries and transform the way we store energy.

The judges said, “Emily's story is a delight to read. It addresses an issue we are all obsessed with – keeping our mobile phones charged, and presents us with, what looks like, a feasible fix for a frustration we all face. Given Emily's age, her writing is outstanding.”

The prize in the 'Over 21' category was awarded to Emily Coyte (aged 24), for her essay, 'The Spectrum in Your Pocket'. Emily's work focused on the development of tiny spectrometers we could carry in our pockets, that could be used to detect what's inside everything, from a glass of wine to a pill we're about to take.

The judges said: “Emily's choice of topic is original and she wrote about it with credibility and authority; she made a convincing case that this is technology we should sit up and pay attention to. She does this while explaining the science beautifully. Emily is clearly a talented writer.”

For a full list of the winners, runners up, as well as work that was highly commended, please visit the competition webpage.

All the winners will have their work published on the BBC Focus and SCU websites, as well as winning a year's subscription to BBC Focus.

Winners over 18 will also have the chance to spend a week with the BBC Focus team learning how the magazine is put together, and take science writing classes at UWE Bristol.

Dr Emma Weitkamp says, 'I was delighted with the quality of the entrants. Shortlisted writers picked challenging and innovative topics, ranging from telekinesis to personalised medicine and new battery technologies. Whittling the list down to just a few winners was really hard.'

UWE Bristol's Science Communication Unit is internationally renowned for its diverse and innovative activities, designed to engage the public with science, as well training would-be science communicators via dedicated courses and training.

For more information on studying Science Communication, please visit the course homepage.

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