The aim of the 4Cs science communication competition is to provide postgraduate students from all disciplines across the College with the chance to develop their presentation and communication skills. The event has been designed to ensure that all those entering are supported and are given the opportunity to develop in their endeavour to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. The competition allows for Creativity, Content, Clarity and Charisma (the 4 ‘C’s), in communicating science and research. Judges will look for and mark on these qualities.

2021 Contestants

The following contestants gave their presentations on the 24th of March 2021:

  • Allison Gaines - School of Public Health               
  • Antonia Bidenharn - Bioengineering
  • Camilla Cucinotta - Immunology and Inflammation         
  • Chiara Pojani – Institute of Clinical Sciences        
  • Emily Tsang - Life Sciences          
  • Georgina Denis - School of Public Health              
  • Kenny Malpartida Cardenas - Electrical Engineering        
  • Kim Owen - Life Sciences            
  • Lloyd Zheng - Materials
  • Maria Raposo de Lima - Mechanical Engineering
  • Qiling Chen - Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction  
  • Sophie el Agami - Design Engineering
A copy of the programme for the 2021 competition, which gives further information about the contestants, judges and host, can be viewed or downloaded here.

A huge congratulations to our Presentation Competition winners this year: 

First Place
Lloyd Zheng, Department of Materials 

Second Place
Emily Tsang, Department of Life Sciences 

Third Place (joint winners)
Chiara Pojani, Institute of Clinical Science
Kim Owen, Department of Life Sciences 

People's Choice Award Winner
Camilla Cucinotta, Department of Immonology and Inflammation 

How to Apply, Eligibility and Prizes


  • Entrants must be studying for a postgraduate qualification at Imperial (MSc, MRes, PhD etc.).
  •  Entrants can present about any aspect of the research they are working on
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final
  • All entrants, both Taught Course and Doctoral, will be judged via the same criteria
  • Presentations should be aimed at a lay audience

Entry Criteria

Each presenter will have three minutes to deliver their presentation to the audience and a panel of expert judges. Creativity is encouraged and the presenters can visualise their concepts in a variety of ways, using props, poems, songs or PowerPoint slides (see criteria below). After each presentation, the judges will have two minutes to ask questions and make comments. When the time the time runs out, the next presenter will be introduced.

 Presentation Competition - Entry Criteria

  • Presentations will be delivered live via a remote platform (Teams, Zoom). Contestants may use a maximum of one PPT slide alongside their webcams. 
  • Presenters have three minutes maximum to present and competitors exceeding three minutes will be disqualified. The timer will start as soon as they begin speaking, moving, or interacting with the audience
  • Each presenter will be given two minutes following their presentation to answer any questions from the judges
  • Creativity is encouraged and the presentation can be delivered in any way the competitor chooses; props, poems, songs as well as PowerPoint slides are all allowed. Pre-recorded material e.g. video/audio recordings, are not permitted. Leaving the field of vision on the webcam is also not permitted.

*Please note that competitors can only use props they can carry onto the stage themselves (there will be no time for set up)

Shortlisted entrants will be invited to attend the Graduate School’s Science Communication Presentations Skills workshop, which is due to take place at the beinning of March (date TBC) For doctoral students, attendance at this workshop will count towards the Graduate School’s professional skills ESA requirement.

Shortlisting & Judging

A panel of expert judges will score and select the top three presentations in order to award first-third place. Voting for the People's Choice Award will open on the day of the competition. All prize winners will be announced once all of the presentations have take place.

Departmental Submissions: Please note that Departments who have held, or wish to hold internal, preliminary competitions, should submit the name of their candidate, together with the required information, by the 10 February 2021 deadline. 

Judging Criteria

A panel of three judges will determine the winners on the basis of the following judging criteria, with each being scored out of 10:  

  • Content: Quality of content is key in science communication and the scientific topic presented should be well chosen to suit a lay audience. Competitors should demonstrate the ability to explain their chosen topic clearly and concisely by avoiding excessive use of jargon or technical terms.
  • Clarity/Structure: A coherent narrative and clear structure are critical for effective science communication; as well as making sure the reader/audience/judges can follow the talk/narrative of the text, they should also be left with an understanding of the scientific concept chosen.
  • Creativity: Competitors are free to explore different rhetorical modes/modes of delivery for their presentation/article if they so wish. Judges will look favourably upon contestants who employ effective, insightful and engaging approaches.
  • Charisma/Performance: How convincing was the presentation? The audience and judges should be left inspired and enthused about science. A successful presentation will be one which makes the science exciting, entertaining and easy to listen to.


Prizes for the competition are as follows,

1st Prize


2nd Prize


3rd Prize


People's Choice Award


Please note that further details regarding how you can vote for the People's Choice Award, will be available in due course.

The 4 C's