Are you a student attending an Australian or New Zealander university? Have you been mulling over writing a science story for a while? Then this competition is an ideal opportunity to fire up Microsoft Word and get cracking. Oh, and you stand a chance to get your story published on New Scientist’s website.

The New Scientist Prize for Science Writing is giving current university students (undergrad and postgrad) enrolled in an Australian or New Zealander university the opportunity to submit previously unpublished feature articles or editorials covering all aspects of science. Space, microbes, weird animals, microbes in weird animals, microbes in weird animals which are sent to space... you get the idea. Just make sure the style fits that of New Scientist’s.

Quoting its website (note that $ signifies Australian dollar):

First prize will be $1,500, and the winning article will be published on the New Scientist website. Second prize will be $750 and third prize will be $250. The three winning entries will also be given a complementary yearly subscription to the New Scientist magazine.

The competition closes next Friday, September 21. You’ve got the weekend so don’t panic (but then again, Australians rarely panic). Submissions will be judged by your typical intimidating panel of reputable scientists, science writers and editors. This year, you will have to impress the likes of Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, author of 31 popular science books, Professor Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist for Australia, and Sumit Paul-Choudhury, news editor of, amongst others.

The New Scientist Prize for Science Writing website also has a list of criteria which the judges will use to, well, judge your submission. List reproduced here in full:

  • Newsworthiness: timely work that adds to or encourages debate on current issues
  • Depth and detail: of coverage of issues or discoveries, and the quality of science explanation involved
  • Scientific accuracy: work is factually correct
  • Impact: work makes a balanced and significant contribution to greater public understanding and appreciation of contemporary issues or developments in science
  • Creativity in communicating concepts and ideas: work engenders interest by using creative and clear communication
  • Appropriateness of content: material is pitched at the right level in terms of complexity and technical issues for the audience involved
  • Adherence to ethical standards: work adheres to the highest standard of investigative journalism—including the MEAA Code of Ethics.

To summarise:

  • Submissions may be about any aspect of science and should be in the form of short features or editorials.
  • You should be attending an Australian or New Zealander university.
  • Deadline: September 21
  • Submission instructions here.

More info:

Happy writing and all the best!