Schools’ Writing Competition Hilary Term 2020

We are pleased to announce the results of our Hilary Term 2020 Schools’ Science Writing Competition. We received 182 entries from school students across the UK in years 10-13, written to an incredibly high standard. The topic of the competition was ‘Should we focus on fixing our planet or move to a new one?’ The winning article, selected by our panel of judges, is Fight or Flight – the Climate Change Dilemma, by Louis Rush, Year 12, Tapton School, Yorkshire. Louis will receive a £50 Amazon voucher. Six runner-up articles were also selected by our judges, and will be published alongside the winning article on our website The full list of winner and runners-up is included below:


Fight or Flight – the Climate Change Dilemma by Louis Rush, Year 12, Tapton School, Yorkshire


Planet Earth: Old home or only home? by Sri Kousthubha Allampalli, Year 13, The Tiffin Girls’ School, Surrey

Cyanobacteria: help us or harm us? by Emily Allen, Year 12, The Cooper School, Oxfordshire

Moving to Mars: Sci-fi or Reality? by Ayeza Akhtar, Year 12, Oldham Sixth Form College, Greater Manchester

Staying on Earth or Moving to Mars: The Cosmic Debate by Elizabeth Dewes, Year 11, Kings Norton Girls’ School, West Midlands

Life on Mars: 140 million miles away, or closer than expected? by Lucy Fan, Year 10, Guildford High School, Surrey

Developing a new terraforming solution? We are only speeding up extinction… by Rosalie Ko, Year 10, Wycombe Abbey, Buckinghamshire

Reaching for the Stars by Rulan Zhang, Year 12, Wellington College, Berkshire


Dr Alison Woollard is a Professor of Biochemistry at Oxford University. Her laboratory looks at molecular mechanisms controlling cell fate determination and cell proliferation in development. She lectures both students and members of the public, most notably for the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

Dr Joanna Bagniewska leads a double life of a zoologist and a science communicator. Joanna splits her time between her roles as a Teaching Fellow in Zoology and Ecology at the University of Reading, and the Communications and Public Engagement Officer at the University of Oxford. In her spare time, she is a freelance popular science writer, presenter and communications coach.

Abigail Lister is a DPhil student in the Materials Science department at Oxford University. Her research focuses on using conductive porous materials to fabricate sensors for harmful gases present at low concentrations in the air.

Andrew Bunting is an astrophysics DPhil student at Oxford University, studying the interaction between exoplanets and their host stars, to learn more about massive, close-orbiting planets. He tutors undergraduate physics, and plays ultimate frisbee, so is concerned with plastic discs as well as protoplanetary ones.

Phoebe Ashley-Norman is a Masters student of Biochemistry at Oxford University. She is currently undertaking research into mammalian cell division but is passionate about science communication. She writes about science and the cross-curricular presentation of science for OxSci and beyond.