Schools Competition

Take part in The Oxford Scientist Schools Competition 2024!

We are excited to announce the details of the 2024 edition of The Oxford Scientist Schools Competition. Please read each section below and the FAQ carefully as there are new rules and procedures for 2024.

Update for 2024: In response to an ever-evolving landscape with generative AI tools, such as Chat GPT, we have reworked our marking procedures to maintain fairness and rigour. Please note that as of 2024, the essay must be submitted by your UK school teacher. Link to join Teacher Mailing list to be notified upon future competitions.

Students may choose from ONE of the following themes:

“Evolution: anything and everything from Survival to Free Will”


“Data and humans in the digital age”

Guidelines for Submissions

  • Eligibility: Open to students in Year 10 to Year 13 (or equivalent*) attending a UK school, college, or sixth form (School must be physically addressed in the UK)
  • Titles: Students should select one of the themes and then research and choose a specific area or topic to discuss in their essay.
  • Essay Requirements: Essays must be the student’s original work, independently written without any form of plagiarism, including the use of pre-written texts or artificial intelligence-generated content. Articles should be relevant to the chosen theme and demonstrate originality, quality of analysis, and engagement with the topic.
  • Word Limit: Maximum of 700 words. No bibliography is required.
  • Submission Process: Please coordinate with your school teacher to submit your essay. Teachers can find the submission portal here.
  • Deadline: Submissions must be received by Midnight, Wednesday 10th July, 2024.

Additional Information: Both themes will be marked equally and students are encouraged to have the freedom to explore any relevant ideas ranging from present-day ideas and developments, computation and AI to historic ideas, and philosophical concepts. We are really interested to hear your original ideas, but please make sure that they are relevant to the theme! Articles will be judged by our panel of experts. Please take note that your submissions will be assessed on relevance to the question, quality of scientific analysis, originality, writing style and grammar, interest to a general audience, and factual accuracy. You should try to write at a level that would be simple enough for someone who has an interest in science but isn’t an expert on the topic you are writing about.

Awards & Opportunities

  • Publication: Winning articles will be featured in the Oxford Scientist magazine and on our website, showcasing your work to a broad audience.
  • Feedback Session with Competition Officials: Winners and runners-up will be invited to an exclusive feedback session with competition organizers. This is a unique chance to gain insights and improve your scientific communication skills.
  • Supercurricular: This competition offers a fantastic opportunity to explore scientific topics beyond your school curriculum, and it’s a standout addition to university applications. We encourage entries from all students, regardless of previous experience in science writing.
  • Opportunities for Finalists: Articles from competitors who reach the final round may also be considered for publication by our affiliated partners, giving even non-winners a platform to share their innovative ideas.

This competition is rigorously marked by the Oxford Scientist and by senior judges. Recently, in the 2023 Competition judged by a distinguished panel of senior judges, including Nobel Prize-winning physician scientist Sir Peter Ratcliffe, Environmental Researcher Dr Anna Murgatroyd, Senior Researcher in Translational Proteomics Dr Darragh O’Brien and Postdoctoral Researcher Dr Hannah Jones. The competition is run by the Oxford Scientist team and led by Franziska Guenther and Gavin Man.

Examples of winning essays from previous competitions can be found here. We strongly recommend that you read our FAQs before you start writing your article. If you have any further questions about the competition, please email [email protected].

*(Year 14, 13, 12, 11 in Northern Ireland and S3, S4, S5, S6 in Scotland)

Join our Teacher Mailing List to be notified for future competition releases!

Our Sponsors

This competition is proudly sponsored by UK Schooling is an education company based in Brighton and Hove, UK, which specialises in UK University preparation, subject tuition and Summer Exchange courses. UK Schooling runs many courses to help students to push beyond the curriculum and get ahead of the curve in their subject and classes for top school and university admissions in the UK.

We are also sponsored by Examable, a UK based educational firm that specialises in creating revision and learning resources for students applying to Top Independent Schools and for Leading UK Universities. Checked and approved by a team of Oxford University students, designers and GCSE & A level examiners.