The Association of British Science Writers invites students from non-selective state funded schools, aged 14-16 years, to submit an 800-word essay on any subject in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics.
In 2022 the competition is open to students in Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham and the London Borough of Newham. This is a travelling award so will be open to other areas in subsequent years.
This competition is designed to get young people writing and thinking about the big questions in science, technology, engineering and maths, with a focus on how science impacts on policymaking and society.
What are we looking for?
Great storytelling. We would love the essay to be an enlightening, informative and engaging read. We would also like it to include analysis, context, and perspective, helping the reader explore and understand the social, ethical, and political implications of scientific advances and the scientific process.
What should you write about?
We want to leave it up to you to write whatever is important to you; it can be anything from the importance of maths to why it matters to go to Mars. Here are some ideas on types of questions that could guide your essays:
How should we tackle scientific misinformation on social media?
Should bad science be taken down by Internet companies?
Should we all be vegan?
Can nature-based solutions really offset our carbon emissions?
And finally here are some questions for you to consider when thinking about the content of the essay:
How does the subject you choose relate to society?
Who are the winners and losers of scientific advance in this area?
what role should the public play in policymaking in this area?
1st prize: £1000 + mentorship + 1 year ABSW membership
2nd & 3rd prize: £250 + 1 year ABSW membership
The prize money will go to the winning entrants, to help support their personal development. The winner and runner-ups and their entire class will be invited to the Award Ceremony held at the Royal Institution at the end of June 2022. A contribution to travelling costs for the winner will be available.
In addition the winning student will have a one-hour session with an experienced journalist/editor or writer to discuss what a career in science writing entails and how best to continue honing their writing.
The winning essay will be published on the BBC news site with a mention of their school. Two runners-up will be published on the ABSW website, with a link to their essays from the winning article on the BBC news site.
The award is funded by Alex and Jeff O’Brien. With generous support by the BBC and the Royal Institution.