Schools Competition


The OxSci Schools Science Writing Competition for Hilary Term 2021 is Now Open!

The question for this term’s competition is:

“How is creativity important in science?”.

For example, you could write about a scientific discovery that required creativity, a scientist who takes a creative approach to their work, or how creativity is important for science in general – we are really interested to hear your ideas and interpretation, but please make sure that they are relevant to the question.

The word limit for articles is 700 words and you must be a school, college or sixth form student in Year 13, 12, 11 or 10 (or equivalent) in the UK. The deadline for submitting your article is midnight on Monday 1st February. Please click on the link below to access the google form where you can submit your article.

Submit your article here: https://forms.gle/YpJ9bnd7bjJhsTCm9

Articles will be judged by our panel of experts. They will assess your article based on relevance, 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.

The winning article will receive a £50 Amazon voucher and will be published online and in our termly magazine. The runners-up will have their articles featured on our website. This is a fantastic opportunity to write about science beyond the scope of your school studies and is also a great thing to mention in university personal statements. We would strongly encourage you to enter even if you have never taken part in a science writing competition before!

We also recommend that you read our FAQs before you start writing your article. If you have any further questions about the competition, please email competition@oxsci.org.


Michaelmas Term 2020 Competition Winner

We are delighted to announce the winner and runners-up for the Michaelmas Term 2020 Schools Science Writing Competition on the theme of  ‘An inspirational scientist, alive now, whose work is helping us to advance into the future’.

We were blown away by the quality of the articles received. They were incredibly well written and researched, making judging very difficult. We only wish that we had the space to acknowledge more of them. Thank you so much to everyone who entered – we thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your articles and hope that you continue writing about science in the future!


The winner of the Michaelmas Term Competition is:

Professor Kevin Harrington’s Immunotherapy Goes Viral – Lucy Addis, Year 12, Royal School Armagh, Armagh

The runners-up are:

The Use of Deep-Sea Microbes in Modern Science – Hanah Ibrahim, Year 13, Pimlico Academy, London

Dr James Allison: Transforming Cancer Treatment and Changing Lives – Rose Fairhurst, Year 10, Sheringham High School, Norfolk

The Lifesaving Paper Centrifuge – Ruby Keith-Smith, Year 12, Bristol Grammar School

Francesca Happé and Autism – Louisa Neill, Year 11, Downe House School, Berkshire

Statistics: Telling the Truth – Hannah Glendell, Year 12, Cults Academy, Aberdeen

Citizen Scientists: Transforming the World of Data and Research – Jessie D’Urso, Year 12, Nonsuch High School for Girls, Surrey

The Coral Queen: Dr Emma Camp – June Hyun, Year 10, Harrow School, Middlesex

Rabia Salihu Sa’id: Saving the Environment Four Hours at a Time – Eleanor Baird, Year 12, Bablake School, Warwickshire


Our Judges

Dr Kerstin Timm is a Career Development Fellow at the Oxford Department of Pharmacology. Her work focuses on early detection and cardioprotection in chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity. She is also a Stipendiary Lecturer in Medicine at Somerville College and holds the position of Isobel Laing Career Development Fellow in Medical Sciences at Oriel College. Kerstin is passionate about disseminating research to the wider public and enjoys taking part in outreach events. 

Ben Jaderberg is a 3rd year DPhil student in Oxford Physics and is developing quantum algorithms and applications for the first generation of quantum computers. He has industry experience with software and has worked with the quantum computing team at IBM. He enjoys public outreach and has recently developed quantum coding workshops for University and High School students with Oxford Quantum Information Society.

Naomi Mburu is a 3rd year DPhil student in Oxford Engineering science and Rhodes Scholar whose research seeks to explore the use of liquid metal surfaces in nuclear fusion reactors to improve reactor performance. She has served on the executive board for two national organisations aimed to increase participation of people of colour in engineering, teaches a course on nuclear fusion at secondary schools in Oxford, and is currently working on a series of podcasts for the Oxford Scientist.


This competition is kindly sponsored by Oxplore: a digital outreach portal from Oxford University. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’ it aims to engage those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom. Big questions tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and draw on the latest research undertaken at Oxford. Oxplore aims to realise aspirations, promote broader thinking and stimulate intellectual curiosity.


Any questions about the current competition, please contact: competition@oxsci.org.

If your school, sixth form or college would like to subscribe to The Oxford Scientist, please contact editor@oxsci.org