Illinois Physics announces science writing contest for graduate students

2/22/2023 9:37:35 AM

Siv Schwink for Illinois Physics

Graduate student researcher looking through microscopeThe Department of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announced today the launch of a new Research Highlight Science Writing Contest for graduate students. To enter, graduate students will submit an article to the Illinois Physics website’s Research Highlights. These are short articles of 800 words or fewer, written about one’s own research that has been or is about to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Research Highlight submissions will be published on the Illinois Physics website and, if eligible, will be entered for a chance to win two annual prizes. The People’s Choice Award—Best Research Highlight winner, selected by popular vote on the Illinois Physics website, will receive a dinner at a local restaurant for their entire research group. The Editors’ Choice Award—Best Research Highlight winner, selected by an editorial board, will win $500 cash.

Illinois Physics Head and Professor Matthias Grosse Perdekamp notes, “This is a great opportunity for our graduate students to refine their science writing skills and to practice publicizing their work to the broader scientific community. And to possibly win a prize! The new contest will also help the department to promote the important work being done by our graduate student researchers.”

The Research Highlights feed on the Illinois Physics website is intended for an audience with some technical understanding of the field. Highlights may be submitted by faculty, postdocs, or graduate students, but only graduate-student submissions are eligible for the contest. Additionally, to be eligible for the contest, the peer-reviewed journal article on which the Research Highlight is based can be no older than 12 months at the time the Research Highlight is submitted; and the Research Highlight author must be an author on the peer-reviewed journal article.

The contest is open to students in other UIUC graduate programs who are working on research with Illinois Physics faculty. It is also open to recent PhD graduates (within a year of graduating) who meet all other eligibility requirements. Research Highlights may be co-authored by more than one graduate student. If selected a winner, the authors would share the prize equally.

For more information on contest eligibility and guidelines, please visit To vote for your favorites once submissions are entered, please visit the Research Highlights feed on the Illinois Physics website.