Call for Entries: 2016 Scientific Images Contest

Call for Entries: 2016 Scientific Images Contest


Contemporary science, captivating images.  

This contest--and its subsequent exhibitions--connect the public with real, contemporary research through high-quality visuals. Sharing your image is an opportunity to share advances in scientific research and their impact on society. 

Winning images will be professionally printed and displayed in museums, libraries, and galleries across Chicago and Evanston. Previous exhibition sites include the Museum of Science and Industry, Evanston Public Library, the Chicago Arts District and Navy Pier.

Winning researchers have the opportunity to share their work through short talks and workshops connected to the exhibition at various venues. Science communication training and support will be provided by Science in Society, a Northwestern research center dedicated to public engagement and science education.

The top five images will also be awarded cash prizes. Check out galleries of the previous winners here!

1. One entry per person. The contest is open to all faculty, staff, postdocs, and students (graduate and undergraduate) of Northwestern University.

2. All images must originate from a Northwestern research project. A research-based image from any scientific, medical or engineering discipline is welcome. Images may be taken using traditional photography or an image acquisition system. Computer-generated images are allowed, provided they are part of a research project (i.e. protein crystal structure or 3D reconstruction from confocal microscope images). 

3. Images must not have been fundamentally altered from their original form or combined with other images for artistic effect. The image should also have all graphical elements and scale bars removed. For example, the image on the left, though colorized, is acceptable. The image in the middle is fine but still shows scale data. The image on the right, however, representing many copied versions of the image on the left in a manner designed to simulate snowfall, is not acceptable.

Colorization should be limited to traditional techniques used to better display data. Colorization should not alter the image to present components that were not in the original image. Videos, animations, or other schematic/artistic illustrations are not being considered at this time.

3. The submitter must have been involved in the generation of the image and must obtain permission for its use in this contest from any colleagues who participated in its generation.

4. Fill in all the form fields. All submissions are required to have a title, description, and image

6. Submit electronically (in the right format) via the upload widget on the webform confirmation page, according to the image formatting and entry instructions. Images must be submitted in JPEG or PNG format, and should be high-resolution, 300 dpi or higher is best. (If you don’t know much about image sizing and resolution, here’s a handy little guide.). Images should be scaled to be 24" on their shortest side to keep all submissions to roughly the same size.

7. The DEADLINE for entries is FRIDAY JULY 8 at MIDNIGHT. No late entries will be accepted.


Images will be judged on aesthetics, originality, and composition. Judging will take place in July and August, and results will be announced in fall 2016. Judges decisions are final and no correspondence on this point will be entered into.

Northwestern University reserves the right to use any submitted image for educational and promotional purposes (with credit to the author).

Winners will work with Science in Society to develop the gallery text for the exhibitions.

The exhibition will tour several venues over the academic year. Winners will have several opportunities to present their work and be involved in science education and outreach programs connected to the exhibition.

To support this, winners will receive science communication training sessions and support from Science in Society over the academic year. We hope all winners will capitalize on this opportunity to connect to the wider community and participate in at least two science outreach events at local schools, libraries, and other public venues.

Cash prizes will be awarded to submitters of the top 12 images:

1st place - $250
2nd place - $150
3rd place - $100
4th place - $75
5th place - $50

Contest entry involves TWO steps.

STEP 1: Complete the form below: both title and description are required fields

TITLE: This can be creative or more literal, examples: "Meltdown", "Porous Crystals Powering Our Future", and "Silicon Peaks" (5-word limit).

SHORT DESCRIPTION:This should describe the image TO A NON-SCIENTIFIC, HIGH-SCHOOL-EDUCATED AUDIENCE. For example, discuss how it was generated and explain its significance or impact of this research. (150-word limit). 

STEP 2: Hit Submit and you will be routed to an upload screen. Upload a high-resolution version of your image (300 dpi or higher). Put your FULL NAME and netID in the description box. Without it, we cannot match the image to your entry form.

And that's it! You should receive a confirmation email within 48 hours of submission. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact Sara Grady at

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

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