International Science Writing Competition 2016 launched

Issue date: 31 March 2016

Science researchers at Bristol Bright Night

From 31 March to 24 June 2016 – aspiring science writers from across the globe are invited to write and submit a 700-word article on “The Next Big Thing in Science” to this year's 2016 UWE SCU Science Writing Competition.

Organised by the Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol in conjunction with BBC Focus Magazineand the Royal Institution, the competition is a high profile opportunity for non-professional science writers to showcase their talent.

Winners from two age categories; '17 and under' and 'Over 18' 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.

There was a phenomenal response to last year's inaugural competition, with over 100 entries received from around the world including Sri Lanka, Egypt, the US, Canada, Australia, Pakistan and across the UK.

Competition organiser, Andy Ridgway, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at UWE Bristol, said, “Last year was something of a pilot project to see how much interest there would be in a science writing competition. It proved that there is huge interest out there. The main impetus behind the competition is to give new writers an opportunity to showcase their skills.

“I'm really pleased that BBC Focus magazine is supporting the competition again and this year we have another partner, the Royal Institution, and I'm thrilled that they are on board too.”

Last year, 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.”

The panel of industry judges consists of, Andy Ridgway and Dr Emma Weitkamp, from the University's Science Communication Unit, Dan Bennett (Editor, Focus), Gail Cardew (Royal Institution), Graham Southorn (science writer and editor), David Shukman (Science Editor, BBC) and Justine Alford (News Editor of IFL Science).

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.

For full competition terms and conditions see the Science Writing Competition 2016 website

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