The RCSU Science Challenge
The Science Challenge is back for another year of giving young scientists the opportunity to show off their science communication skills! Join us at the launch of the competition to find out how to get in on the action!
About the Competition
The Science Challenge is RCSU’s annual science communication competition. It gives young scientists the opportunity to develop the skills to talk about science in a way that is engaging and fun to people who don’t necessarily have a science background.
The competition involves producing a short piece of science communication, in either written or video format in answer to one of four questions set by our guest judges. In previous years we’ve had themes covering topics as wide as the connection between art and science to climate change and this year will have the broadest set of questions yet! With exciting prizes and a wide range of interesting questions, perfect for showing off your skills, this is shaping up to be a very exciting competition and we’d love to see you there!
We're excited to announce that the theme of this year's competition is Destination: Unknown, and each of our four questions will give students the opportunity to investigate and spread the search for science's next steps. This year is set to have the broadest collection of questions yet, but all four will be joined by a common thread. Looking up or down; forward or back; or looking big and small could all hold the key to humanity's scientific progress, but we're excited to see where you think science is headed next.
This section of the website will be updated with details on how to enter following the launch of the competition in February.
Competition Opens: Monday 27 February 2023
Submission Deadline: Monday 17 April 2023 at 17.00
Awards Ceremony: Late June 2023
The Science Challenge consists of two categories: School Students and Imperial College Students. We're proud to announce that this year the competition will be opened to all Imperial undergraduates. We would love to receive an entry from you if you are
- A school student in your last four years of secondary education (Equivalent to UK year 10 - 13).
- Currently enrolled as an Imperial College undergraduate student.
Entries are welcome from schools in the UK and internationally. Imperial undergraduates will answer the same prompts as the school students but will be judged separately.
Note: This is an individual competition so we will not be accepting team entries this year
"Science does not exist in a vacuum and science communication allows the translating of knowledge to different fields in order for it to be applicable in our daily lives." - Science Challenge Participant 2021/22
What will I have to do?
That is a great question, we're glad you asked! The competition involves producing a short piece of fun and engaging science communication that someone without a scientific background can not only understand but enjoy!
Some of the prompts will specify a type of communication (i.e. written, video, etc..) and others will leave it up to you. An indication of what typically constitutes a 'short' piece of science communication is:
- Written entries: 1000 words max.
- Video entries: 3 minutes 30 seconds max.
It's often the case that the best (and most fun to make) pieces of science communication are ones that are outside of the box, so we hope this inspires you to get creative!
Why do we do this?
Science is part of everyone's lives in some way or another, but for many people just hearing the word is enough to spark an intense combination of anxiety, anger and nausea.
A common sentiment is that science is only for scientists to understand; not everyone needs to or even can understand it, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, science is just the window that lets us see into how all the things around us work and why they work that way. The problem is, with the way that science is presented in popular media, that window gets covered in dust and dirt for most people; making it impossible to see through. The job of science communicators is to clean that window; making what initially seemed distant and unattainable, into something interesting, exciting, approachable and fun.
We hope to inspire those who take part in the Science Challenge to explore, develop and use their scientific skills along with their passion for their corner of science to help others see what all the excitement is about.
Why should I enter?
We think there are too many great reasons to enter the Science Challenge to even begin to count, but here are some of the best ones:
- You will have the opportunity to discover where the science you've learned from textbooks sits in both science more widely and in society
- You will get the chance to develop the skills to communicate science in concise, engaging, and creative ways; a crucial skill for all careers in STEM
- Non-cash prizes vary from year to year, but in previous years have included a tour of the House of Lords and a tour of CERN in Geneva
- You will have the opportunity to discuss the areas of science you're most interested in with more freedom (and fun) than an exam question or presentation