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Science Writing Competition – A chance for PhD students to shine

Science Writing Competition for PhD students


Communicating science in an accessible and engaging way is an important skill for researchers. Bio-Rad aims to encourage and help develop this skill with our annual science writing competition.

PhD/Grad students* are invited to write and submit a blog suitable for publication on Bio-Rad’s Lab Crunches website. They could write about their own research or communicate a discovery in the life sciences field. We are looking for an engaging style that will appeal to life scientists. Entries will be judged on their ability to communicate scientific findings in a concise and clear way to non-specialists, but also originality and writing style.

1st Prize:

  • Their blog will be published and promoted on the Bio-Rad Lab Crunches website
  • An invitation to receive professional mentoring in scientific writing for industry by Lab Crunches Editor, Kimberley Bryon-Dodd, PhD
  • A copy of: The Scientist’s Guide to Writing: How to Write More Easily and Effectively Throughout Your Scientific Career (Stephen B. Heard)
  • A commemorative trophy to celebrate their achievement

Blogs should be between 800 and 1,000 words, written in English and submitted by Tuesday June 1st, 2021

Full competition details including terms and conditions –  https://info.bio-rad.com/Science-Writing-Competition.html

Need inspiration? Take a look at the 2020 winning entries – first place was awarded to Alex Du Feu, Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, The University of Manchester – https://www.bio-rad-antibodies.com/blog/2020-science-writing-comp-results.html


LIVE with scientists Lightning talk competition – enter until 26 April

Passionate about what you do? Want to inspire others? Then share your research in a 3 minute clip …

LIVE with scientists are celebrating their first year anniversary and invite you to take part in a lightning talk competition. We’ve started posting clips but there is still time to enter.

Don’t worry if you get stage-fright, we will be posting recordings so you can perfect your talk beforehand without the pressure of a live presentation!

Record yourself summarising your research in only 3 minutes avoid jargon or technical language and think about how you can make an attention-grabbing story. No slides but you can use props.

Then email the recording by Monday 26th April – send to: live.with.sci.manchester@gmail.com

We will post it on our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and our audience will vote on their favourite.  The winner wins a £20 gift voucher for Science Scribbles where you can exchange this for some great science merch.

Find out more about the competition and other ways to take part in LIVE with Scientists:


PhD researchers – University of Manchester taking part in 3MT 2021 (register by 26 March)

Once again the University of Manchester will be taking part in the national Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Postgraduate Researchers from across the University are invited to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes using only one static PowerPoint slide.

In the UK, the 3MT national competition final is hosted by Vitae. Individual UK universities run their own competitions and put forward one winner per participating institution for the national finals. The University of Manchester winner will be announced on Wednesday 16th June 2021.

Why Take Part?

3MT develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development to effectively explain research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Hear from some of our previous winners:

Exclusive Training:

Entrants will be offered tips and training for delivery skills to help with your 3MT presentation, including looking at body language, emotional projection and auctioning and techniques for dealing with nerves.

Additionally the finalists will be invited to submit their videos to gain specialist personal feedback and tips for improving their presentation.


Winner – £250

Second prize – £150

Third prize – £100

*Please note prizes will be paid in the form of vouchers.


Open to all active second and final year PhD candidates (including candidates in their submission pending period or whose thesis is under examination) by the date of the 3MT first submission deadline, 14th April 2021. Read the full set of rules and the judging criteria.

How to take part:

To take part in 3MT this year, you need to follow the steps below

  1. Complete the registration form by Friday 26th of March
  2. Sign up for 3MT online training session on 24th March, details will be sent to those who have registered
  3. Create your presentation slide and film your presentation
  4. Submit your final 3MT presentation by 14th April

Full details on how to prepare and submit your presentation will be sent directly following completion of the registration form and further details can also be found online via the Research Degrees and Researcher Development Events page.


Science me a story – short stories telling contest now open

The Society of Spanish Researchers in the UK (SRUK/CERU) would like to invite you to participate in the 3rd edition of our contest Science me a story, an initiative sponsored by Lilly Foundation in collaboration with The University of Liverpool.

The aim of the contest is to promote science using stories as a tool to communicate and engage primary school children. The success obtained in term of participants and media in Spain and United Kingdom with the first and second editions encouraged us to organise it again.

We are very excited about this third edition and want you to participate creating magnificent scientific stories to inspire the curiosity about science in a new generation of young readers.

Moreover, you could win one of the three money prizes worth £150, £100 and £50. If this wouldn’t be enough the awarded stories will be published in a science communication magazine and/or other written media. You will be able to participate in the closing award ceremony that will be held in United Kingdom next Autumn.

What are you waiting for? The contest is open to everyone over 18 years old who wants to write a short scientific story for children (aged 6 to 12 years old). There are two categories, Spanish and English. Send us your manuscript by email to relatosciencia@sruk.org.uk before the 20 April 2020 to be evaluated by a jury.

Find the competition rules here:

UoM Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition 2020 – now open

The national Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition challenges doctoral candidates to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significant in just three minutes and with just one static PowerPoint slide.

3MT gives researchers the opportunity to develop their academic, presentation and research communication skills and to develop their ability to effectively explain their research to a lay audience.

In the UK, universities run their own competition and put forward one winner to the national 3MT final hosted by Vitae.

The University of Manchester Final will take place on Wednesday 20 May, 2-3.30pm in University Place, Lecture Theatre B. Registrations will open upon conclusion of the heats.


  • First place: £500 Amazon voucher
  • Runner up: £100 Amazon voucher
  • Audience favourtie: £100 voucher


3MT is open to all active second and final year PhD candidates, including candidates whose thesis is under submission, by the date of their first 3MT presentation in the heats. You must be able to attend at least one of the scheduled heats and, if successful, the University final on Wednesday 20 May.


To register to take part in this year’s 3MT competition, please apply for your Faculty heats via the appropriate link below:


  • All those who register to take part in the Faculty heats are invited to attend a 3MT training session on Tuesday 10 March 2020, 1-4pm.
  • Book to attend 3MT heat training.


  • How to Talk About Your Thesis in 3 Minutes – The Thesis Whisperer: This presentation by the Dr. Inger Mewburn (aka the Thesis Whisperer), provides some useful insights and practical exercises to get thinking about you can present your own thesis to others in just 3 minutes. We particularly like this top tip “Is there a story that you can use to talk about your research? Better still – can this story make us feel emotionally involved? Sometimes good stories are behind why we are doing the research in the first place.”
  • 3MT Student Handbook, The University of Queensland: This helpful guide (*) gives you low down on background to the competition, the rules, shared experiences from postgraduate researchers who have previously taken part in 3MT as well as top tips for writing, creating and practicing your presentation. We particularly like this top tip for slide design: “Less is more – Text and complicated graphics can distract your audience – you don’t want them to read your slide rather than listen to your 3MT.”
  • Making the Most of your Three Minutes – Simon Clews, University of Melbourne: This practical guide will help you think about the development of your 3MT presentation in two key phases – pre-production and performance. We particularly like this top tip “Every good performance – even the most spontaneous looking ones – is the result of a great deal of careful preparation and an enormous amount of rehearsal. You’ve only got three minutes …. so make every second count.”

FameLab UK – Applications close midnight, Friday 28 February 2020

Are you interested in… Improving your communication skills, talking about your research with a public audience, joining a global network of science communicators and an all expenses paid trip to Cheltenham Science Festival? Hundreds of science communicators across the UK go head to head every year to become the FameLab UK champion. So why not enter…


Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Read the eligibility criteria to check you can apply
  2. Look at which regional training and heat you would like to attend
  3. Apply to take part! You will then be contacted by the regional organiser to confirm your attendance
  4. Prepare a 3-minute talk on your research
  5. Either: Attend the training session and heat at your chosen UK location. If you are selected as one of the top few participants, you will need to prepare a second talk and attend your regional final. Or, send a video of your 3-minute talk to famelab@cheltenhamfestivals.com. If you are selected as one of the top few participants, you will need to prepare and send us a second talk for the video final.

Apply here now

Applications close at midnight on Friday 28 February 2020.

Prizes – If you win your regional final, you will be invited to:

  • A weekend masterclass with a professional science communicator 30 & 31 May 2020
  • Participate in the FameLab UK final at Cheltenham Science Festival 1 June 2020
  • An all-expenses paid trip to Cheltenham Science Festival 2-7 June 2020 where you can meet FameLab participants from all over the world, engage with audiences and other science communicators, and immerse yourself in the vibrant festival programme
  • Receive up to £2000 prize money

If you win the UK final, you will be invited to represent the UK at the International FameLab Semi-Finals, and possibly the International FameLab Final at Cheltenham Science Festival 4 June 2020!

Please contact famelab@cheltenhamfestivals.com if you have any questions.

Join us for the UoM Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Final (22 May 2019)


Get your FREE TICKETS to the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition – Final
Wednesday 22 May, 14:00 – 15:45, University Place Lecture Theatre A

Your Invitation
Please join us for the University of Manchester Final. Staff and students from across the University as well as the wider public are invited to attend this FREE event.

What is 3MT?
The Three Minute Thesis ®(3MT) competition challenges doctoral candidates to present a compelling spoken presentation of their research topic and its significance. In just 3 minutes 10 finalists will attempt to make their thesis topic clear, compelling and entertaining!

This year’s final will be judged by Prof Sheena Cruickshank (Professor in Public Enagement), Antonio Benitez (Senior Research Engagement Manager – Cancer Research UK) and Prof Vikas Shah MBE (Manchester Alliance Business School). We also have the award winning science communicator Katie Steckles to compere and entertain.

A £500 first prize winner and £100 runner up winner but YOU get to vote for your favourite and award the £100 audience prize. Everyone is welcome. Bring your work-mates, bring your friends, bring your family!

Get your FREE TICKETS now.

BBSRC Impact Writing Competition 2019

Are you aware of inspiring research, supported by BBSRC, making a real, tangible difference to people’s lives?

The BBSRC Impact Writing Competition is an opportunity for PhD students and early-career researchers to produce an impact case study to showcase the tangible impact of research that depends on BBSRC investments in research, training and capability.

Case studies do not necessarily need to be based on your own project; it can be about any BBSRC-funded research/impact you are aware of, providing you can write about it accurately and in an engaging manner.

Deadline: 18 March 2019, 17:00

Find out more here: https://bbsrc.ukri.org/news/people-skills-training/2019/190125-n-the-bbsrc-impact-writing-competition-2019/