Open Commissions

Past Print issues of the Oxford Scientist

We are always looking for new writers to get involved with the Oxford Scientist. Our commissioning editors from the four sections regularly post calls for writers to take up writing opportunities on specific topics for our website.

A list of available commissions can be found below. This is regularly updated, so please continue to check this page.

No prior writing experience is required—if you are keen to take a commission, we encourage you to get in touch! If you have your own idea you can also pitch to us, even if you don’t want to write it yourself.

If you would like to take one of our open commissions, please email the corresponding section editor:

Please note that you must be a member of the University of Oxford to write for the Oxford Scientist. Please email the section editor from your University of Oxford email address.

Culture Commissions

Science through the ages


We are looking for a writer to explore scientific advances in a particular period in time, such as Ancient Greece, the Renaissance, the industrial revolution, etc. What caused a boom in scientific progress during the period? What was the result for society? What did science look like back then and how does it differ from what it is like now?

Image credit: Alex Block, via Unsplash.

UFOs & Us


From ‘The War of the Worlds’ to recent UFO “revelations” in the US, society’s obsession with extraterrestrial life is enduring and ever-evolving. We’re commissioning a deep dive into our cultural fascination with aliens and UFOs: exploring their representation in media vs. scientific expectations, and pondering why the notion of otherworldly visitors resonates so profoundly with us.

Drawing inspirations from works like Carl Sagan’s ‘The Demon-Haunted World’, let’s bridge the realms of imagination and empirical reality.

Image credit: Michael Herren, via Unsplash

Opinion Commissions

The science and future of solar panels: How bacteria inspired our modern technologies

Solar panels

Photosynthesis has been occurring in micro-organisms for millions of years, and the fundamentals of this process underlie how our modern solar panels work. As the need for solar panels increases, will new technologies increasingly mimic biological processes and materials, or will they veer off in a different direction?

Image credit: Moritz Kindler, via Unsplash.

Future-proof careers

The job market for scientists and researchers is rapidly changing. It’s important to invest in careers that are future-proof. These careers will remain relevant and in-demand for years to come, regardless of advances in technology or changes in the economic landscape. What are the examples of future-proof careers in the light of technological advances?

Should one avoid careers where big changes, such as mass layoffs, have been happening including the pharmaceutical industry and big tech? What is the best strategy when it comes to career choices? Can you future-proof your career?

Image credit: Brendan Church, via Unsplash.

From Future to Past: Unexpected Applications of AI


Ancient history relies on interpreting and contextualising historical documents and artefacts. Over the centuries, many inscriptions have been damaged to the point of illegibility. Ithaca, a deep neural network for the textual restoration of ancient Greek inscriptions, can assist, and even expand a historian’s workflow. What are some potential applications and limitations of existing neural networks for historical research?

Image credit: Darryl Low, via Unsplash.

Ready, Set, Gamify!

Games are not just something trivial. The elements of game design—or gamification —are now being employed in non-gaming contexts. The implications of this vary from a positive effect on behavior and learning to negative attitudes towards the trend.

For example, when Disney decided to increase productivity by displaying gamified scoreboards over laundry facilities, that was perceived as an electronic whip, and led to an increase in injuries and a neglect of good hygiene practices. What is the future of gamification? How are gamification strategies influencing sectors from education and health to business and social media? Are these playful elements enhancing user engagement and altering our relationship with technology? Are there potential downsides to this ‘gameful’ world?

Image credit: Cláudio Luiz Castro, via Unsplash.

Medicine goes electronic

The convergence of medicine and engineering is helping patients with new ways to treat diseases. Researchers in Oxford have just received a prestigious grant from the Leducq foundation to develop bioelectronics for neurocardiology diagnosis and therapeutics. They aim to improve the diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases with neuromodulation technologies.

Although MedTech provides exciting opportunities, there are challenges to overcome including product design, delivery and making the technology maximally useful and minimally invasive. How can engineering help improve therapeutic options for patients? How can we ensure medical technology is safe and secure? What does the future hold for MedTech?

Image credit: Jesse Orrico, via Unsplash.

Features Commissions

Penguin Problems


Humans are accustomed to a human-centred view of the world. This series of articles is meant to shift that a bit, and bring a non-human perspective. For this piece, write about the problems in the life of a penguin. It could be Adelie Penguins having to find pebbles (in Antarctica) to build nests, or Emperor Penguins braving -50°C in the polar night. Feel free to innovate with voice, tone, and structure to make the piece as fun as penguins.

Image credit: Pam Ivey, via Unsplash.

Fish eye view


Humans are accustomed to a human-centred view of the world. This series of articles is meant to shift that a bit, and bring a non-human perspective. For this piece, pick a fish of your choice, and describe its life and environment – through the eyes of the fish. Bonus points for featuring human impacts on marine environments.

To get further inspired, read “Under the Sea Wind” by Rachel Carson.

Image credit: Sebastian Pena Lambarri, via Unsplash.