I, write is a science journalism contest organised by Imperial College’s I, Science magazine. Suitable for all students in Years 10-13, we want to challenge students to think outside the box, and consider where science can be found outside of the classroom.
You can view the 2021 winner and runner-up posts here.
If you are a student all you have to do to sign up is complete the google form below and attach a weblink for an article proposal based on the prompt “science in my life”. Instructions on how to create the link via WeTransfer are provided in the form.
The submission deadline for proposals is 12pm on the 19th of April
Afterwards, the best pitches will be selected, and those students will each receive one-on-one mentoring (via ZOOM) from a current Science Communication MSc student on how to research and write their articles.
Finalists will be paired with their mentors by / before the 3rd of May
Final articles must be submitted before 12pm on the 31st of May
The articles will then be examined by a panel of judges who will select which articles will be placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The winning article will then be published in the summer issue of i,science.
Results will be announced on the 11th of June
- You say this contest is suitable for all students, what does that mean?
- I am not based in London, can I participate?
- What does “science in my life” mean?
- Is there anything I shouldn’t write about?
- My proposal: what information should be included? How long should it be? What format should it be submitted in?
- I have written an article on a similar subject before, can I submit this instead?
- What exactly will the mentors be able to do?
- So the winning article gets published, are there any other prizes on offer?
- Where can I find information on your privacy and safeguarding procedures?
- There are other questions I want to ask, who should I get in touch with and how?
(1) You say this contest is suitable for all students, what does that mean?
To us at i,science, it does not matter whether you are currently studying the GCSE’s, A-Levels, BTEC, IB or any other high school curriculum. It does not matter whether you are aspiring for a career in STEM, a career in journalism, or if you simply have a passing interest in science or want to try something new. You do not need to be the best scientist or writer. All that matters is that you have an idea and you can tell us about it. The role of the mentors is to guide and support you through the processes of researching and constructing your article.
(2) I am not based in London, can I participate?
Yes you can! Although i,science is based in London, as all of our submissions and mentoring are done online there are no geographical constrictions for submissions. Any student from any school in the UK or beyond is free to participate. However, all contest activities, including the mentor sessions, will be scheduled and based on UK timings.
(3) What does “science in my life” mean?
Excellent question. Our contest theme is based on the idea that science influences our lives in an endless variety of ways. Science does not begin and end in the classroom or in the lab. Its usefulness and wonder is not trapped within the constraints presented by syllabus statements and learning targets. Its diversity cannot be contained to the neat categories of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. It is interdisciplinary and diverse.
Science can be a bringer of discovery, innovation and progress. It can promote creativity, discussion and understanding. It can be an inclusive, empowering force that fills us with hope and wonder. Yet, science can also be used as a tool for expressing power and control, one that also fills us with fear and uncertainty. It can appear exclusive and act superior. Its institutional rules can be restrictive and frustrating.
Think about what science is to you. How does it make you feel and why does it make you feel that way? How do the products of science or science-based decision making impact you? Where is science in the places you go, the activities you do, the people you see? Science is all around us, we come across it all the time. So be bold! Be creative! Tell us about a topic or issue that is meaningful to you. Here is a useful breakdown of the many different fields of science to consider: https://www.qnrf.org/en-us/FOS. Below are a few questions to help get the ball rolling. If you are still struggling, please look through previous editions of the i,science magazine to see how our previous writers interpreted their prompts (it’s free! http://isciencemag.co.uk/category/issuu/magazine-features/)
If you are an avid botanist or gardener, could you tell us about the biology and economic impact of an invasive plant? Are there any plants we see everyday that have a little-known feature (e.g. medicinal properties)?
If you are an aspiring make-up artist, could you tell us about the chemical composition of your favourite products? Why are some ingredients banned?
What do you think of the way science is taught in schools? If you could change something, what could it be?
Something as simple as noticing how hot your spoon gets when you’re making a cup of tea? How DOES that happen?
Has your local council introduced a policy that directly impacts your community? Do you agree with it, why or why not? Why was the policy passed? What evidence or arguments were used? What will the consequences be?
Do you enjoy working with animals? Could you tell us about a specific behaviour? Could you tell us about why some training methods are better than others for domesticated animals?
Do you enjoy watching movies? How accurately is science portrayed? How do you feel about the ethics involved in documentary making?
How do you feel science is represented in the media? In the newspapers, on TV, one the radio, online, on social media etc.
How do you feel about the gender, racial, cultural and political biases in science? How can they be changed?
Could you write us an article exploring the science involved in cooking or making food or drink products?
(4) Is there anything I shouldn’t write about?
We are asking students to write a journalistic article, not a piece or science coursework or a scientific report. We would also encourage students to try and think of a subject that is not COVID related. COVID proposals will NOT be disfavoured during the screening process, this message is simply to try and promote diversity amongst the submissions.
(5) My proposal: what information should be included? How long should it be? What format should it be submitted in?
Your proposal should at minimum include the following information:
- Your topic
- Why you are interested in your topic
- Why it would make a compelling article (i.e. why should we be interested in it, what makes it special)
The proposal may take one of four formats:
- A written text that is no longer than 350 words long. These must be submitted in PDF format.
- An audio recording that is no longer than 3 minutes.
- A video that is no longer than 3 minutes.
- A storyboard or other coherent visual representation of ideas that is no longer than a side of A4.
Each proposal will be fairly assessed based on their content. There is no ‘prefered’ format. Therefore, students should utilize the form that will best help them express their ideas.
Proposals must be uploaded onto the google form using WeTransfer. Instructions on how to do so are provided within the sign-up form (find above).
(6) I have written an article on a similar subject before, can I submit this instead?
Unfortunately no. In the interest of fairness we cannot reasonably judge the quality of ideas presented by one student who writes a 350 word proposal, and another who submits a fully written article.
However, there is nothing to stop students from submitting a proposal based on or inspired by something they have previously written. Students are more than welcome to draw ideas from work that they have done in the past, including previous articles, blog posts and coursework. Should students follow this route they must proceed with caution as articles written by the finalists will be submitted through the Turnitin software.
(7) What exactly will the mentors be able to do?
The mentors are current students of the Imperial College Science Communication MSc. Their job will be to help guide the students on how to turn their proposals into proper articles. They will guide students how to structure their argument, how to let their writing ‘flow’, where to research for their article etc. This is in addition to providing technical feedback on spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Students will meet with their mentors over ZOOM. The use of other video software is negotiable. They may have up to 5 one hour long sessions during this four week period. Students are free to contact their mentors to ask smaller, more general questions (e.g. is this a good resource to use).
(8) So the winning article gets published, are there any other prizes on offer?
There are indeed! However, their exact nature is yet to be finalised.
Prizes for the winner:
- The student’s article will be published in the physical edition of the I, Science 2021 Summer Issue.
- The student’s article will also be published in the magazine’s digital issue, as well as a feature article on the I, Science website.
- The student shall receive:
- a signed participation certificate.
- copies of the printed magazine for themselves, their family and their school.
- a science communication themed goodie bag.
Prizes for the 2nd and 3rd place runners up:
- These students will have their articles published on the features page of the I, Science website.
- Their articles will be mentioned but not included in the I,Science magazines, and directions on where to find their articles will be given.
- These students will also be given signed participation certificates.
All other finalists will receive ‘finalist’ participation certificates.
Students who submitted articles but were not selected to write their articles will receive a digital education packet.
(9) Where can I find information on your privacy and safeguarding procedures?
You can find our privacy and safeguarding information here in this downloadable file:
(10) There are other questions I want to ask, who should I get in touch with and how?
Our main points of contact are the Project Coordinator for i,write as well as the Events Manager for I, Science. Both can be reached with this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use this email if you wish to schedule a video conference with us.
However, you are also free either to contact them directly, or get in touch with the co-editors in Chief of I, Science:
Co-editor in Chief at I, Science
Co-editor in Chief at I, Science
Project Coordinator for I, Write
Sub-editor for I,Science magazine.
Events Manager for I, Science