Winners announced

Thank you to all those that entered our short story contest and congratulations to the winners. The first place story was published in Tamarind Literary Magazine, as well as Vector (the British Science Fiction Association's magazine). 

You can download a pdf file of the winning entries below.

Imagining our future

Note: We are hosting a short story workshop in collaboration with the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication on 9 October, 13.00-14.00. 

The world is changing and there is little doubt that the future will be different from today, possibly profoundly.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences is holding a speculative fiction contest where we are inviting all of our staff, students and alumni to submit a story about what education in FoNS will look like in 2045.

Entries should be short stories of no more than 1500 words. Each participant is limited to one entry. The deadline for submissions is 10 November 2023.

All the entries will be judged anonymously and the winners will be announced at a showcase and reception in the new year. The best entries will also be published in an in-house magazine and distributed widely.


  • First place: £200
  • Two runner-ups: £100 each

Competition information

About the 'Future of Education' theme

The theme for this competition is “The Future of Education: 2045”. You may interpret that in any way you wish and should use your own title.

Climate change, environmental deterioration, population growth, geopolitical upheavals, artificial intelligence… The world in 2045 will likely be a dramatically different place in 20 years’ time. All of these phenomena could change the way we see ourselves and our place in society.

In the face of these possible futures, what could this mean for education and for FoNS? What do we teach and how do we teach it? What is it like being a student or a lecturer here?

We invite you to join FoNS in the year 2045. What will you be doing? How will you be learning or teaching? We do not just want to hear about futuristic technologies or subject matter, nor do we want a purely dystopian vision.

Instead, we invite you to write about what life is really like using those technologies or learning about relevant subjects in the context of a challenging world. Build us a world where we can look around and see the fabric of our faculty and university in all its detail.

Eligibility and entry requirements

  • All alumni, staff and students in FoNS are eligible to apply. Participants are limited to one entry each.
  • Participants should be unpublished, not including academic work.
  • Stories should be no more than 1500 words, and should include a short 100-word description of your inspiration.
  • All entries should be written in English.
  • Entries will be judged anonymously. Stories must not contain any identifying details.
  • You own the copyright to your writing and give us permission to publish your story internally and use ideas for strategy development. The Faculty will attribute all works and ideas.
  • The deadline for the competition is 23.59 on 10 November 2023.

Submission guidelines

  • The deadline for submission is 23.59 on 10 November 2023.
  • Please use a clear font and submit your entry in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.
  • All submissions must submitted via the online form above.
  • Shortlisted entries will be asked for an additional short biography after the judging process.
  • Only entries written by human are eligible to enter. Please do not submit any stories written using generative artificial intelligence, such as with ChatGPT.

Judging panel

The competition judging panel will be confirmed soon.

Privacy notice

This privacy notice explains how we collect, use, and protect your personal information when you provide it to us. We are committed to ensuring the privacy and security of your personal data.

Data we collect

In order to review competition entries we collect and store the following personal information from you:

  • Your full name
  • Email address: We collect your email address to communicate with you regarding the competition, including updates, results, and any related information
  • Departmental affiliation: If applicable, we may request your departmental affiliation to better understand our entrants' backgrounds.

Legal basis for processing

We process your personal data on the basis of your consent, which you provide by voluntarily entering the competition and providing us with your personal information. You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us at

Use of your information

We will only use your personal information for the following purposes:

  • Processing your competition entries and assessing your eligibility.
  • Communicating with you regarding the competition, including updates, results, and any related information.
  • Notifying competition winners and distributing prizes.
  • Publishing short stories in a magazine under a licensing agreement with the author (copyright holder).

In order to gather your personal data for the competition we use Qualtrics survey software, which is governed by an institutional licence agreement.

Data retention

We will retain your personal data for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined above. Once the competition is concluded and all necessary actions are completed, we will securely delete or anonymize your personal data.

Data security

We take appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect your personal data from unauthorized access, loss, misuse, alteration, or disclosure. We implement industry-standard security measures to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of your personal information.

Automated processing and decision making

Your data shall not be subject to any automated processing or decision making giving rise to legal consequence.

Your rights

You have the right to:

  • receive a copy of the information we hold about you in a reasonable format specified by you, including for the purpose of transferring that data to another data controller;
  • request us to erase your personal data or object to our processing of your personal data;
  • request your information be changed if you believe it was not correct at the time you provided it;
  • have your information deleted if you no longer wish to enter the competition.

If you are not satisfied with how we are processing your personal data, you can raise a concern with the Information Commissioner:

If you have any concerns with regard to the way your personal data is being processed or have a query with regard to this information, please contact our Data Protection Officer at:

Imperial College London
Data Protection Officer
Exhibition Road
Faculty Building Level 4
London SW7 2AZ