Institute for Future


29 July 2019

Entries for the 2019 Science in Focus Competition are now open, celebrating the most surprising, beautiful and technically innovative visuals of QUT research that's impacting our world. Winners will share in a prize pool of more than $2000.

Entries close 27 September: ENTER NOW

In addition to images and video, this year QUT students and staff are invited to enter virtual reality and augmented reality displays.

Science in Focus prize pool:

  • First prize: $1200
  • Second prize: $500
  • Third prize: $250
  • People’s choice award: $250

Entering is easy

  1. Capture high-quality, visually striking images, video, virtual or augmented reality displays
  2. Submit up to three entries online (opening 19 August) details required include: title, a brief description of the importance and/or impact
  3. Finalists will be notified via email in October

Tips for entering

  • Ensure entries are as high-resolution as possible – keep in mind that finalist images are projected on The Cube
  • Colour images stand out more than black and white entries (particularly for microscopy images)
  • The image descriptions matter! Contact the IFE communications team if you would like assistance with the written component of your entry:
  • Anything unclear? Read the 2019 Science in Focus Terms and Conditions and FAQs

2019 judging panel

  • Prof Lisa Scharoun: Head of School, School of Design, QUT Creative Industries
    Multi-award winning lecturer, researcher and designer with expertise in visual communications and cross-cultural design.
  • Prof Sagadevan Mundree: Director, QUT Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities (CTCB)
    Prof Mundree leads the CTCB research team who are helping feed the world by developing more resilient and nutrious tropical crops such as bananas, chickpeas, lentils and mungbeans.
  • Dr Ross Brown: Senior Lecturer, QUT School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
    Research interests: immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR).
  • A/Prof Jennifer McLeod: Associate professor in nanotechnology, QUT Science and Engineering Faculty
    Research interests: nanoscience - the self-assembly and reactions of molecules at surfaces, and the growth and modification of graphene and other 2D materials.

Need some inspiration?

So what makes a great entry?

This is what some of the previous Science in Focus judges had to say:

Jared Donovan, Senior Lecturer Interaction Design, QUT Creative Industries

“Seek out images that tell a story about your science and provide the viewer with a new perspective or insight. Make use of the elements of composition and design – employing line, shape, colour, texture, form, contrast and space to tell your story with a clarity of purpose and economy of means.”

Kate Haggman, Communication Manager, QUT Science and Engineering Faculty 

“The images I find most striking are those that show me a piece of our world from a new perspective – images like last year's microscopic dental tape and rat bone entries. If you're going to submit microscopic images, make sure to use your time and skill to colour them well. As a science communicator, I'm looking for quality, polished works that have an interesting research backstory worthy of profiling in QUT publications.”

Dr Jamie Riches, Senior Research Officer (Electron Microscopy)

“In my view, a successful entry is one that is aesthetically beautiful and also tells a tale of the importance and impact of the research. The description of the work is very important in putting the work in context and explaining to the audience (and the judges!) why they should care about the entry. Is it that the underlying research is addressing important problems that are relevant to them, or is it rather that capturing the image has required significant technical challenges to be overcome? This is an area where some entries have fallen short in the past, and I would encourage entrants to submit an interesting and informative description that does justice to their image, and explains the value and wonder of their science to the viewer.”

Man Cheung, Artist

“Submit an entry that satisfies your creative or artistic truth. A sure thing for self-disappointment is submitting an image or video only because you think the judges ‘might’ like it.

Read the guidelines thoroughly and ensure your entry fulfils all criteria. This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many entrants don’t do this! Make sure your entry is high quality; is it high resolution enough? Are the images sharp, are they legible and do they have clarity?

Creativity is so subjective, but if you submit something that you are truly proud of and loved creating, win or lose you know you have done the best you can.”

Important dates

  • 19 August: entries open
  • 27 September: entries close
  • October: finalists notified via email
  • 18 October: finalist exhibition and award ceremony

Judging criteria

Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, technical proficiency, visual impact and informational content. Judges are particularly interested in seeing images, video and virtual/augmented reality displays that demonstrate or depict the impact of QUT research.

What can be entered?

  • Photography
  • Lighta and electron microscopy
  • Motion graphics
  • Video
  • Digital or hand-drawn illustrations
  • 3D renders
  • X-rays
  • Machine outputs and scans
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality displays
QUT Institute for Future Environments
07 3138 9500
QUT Institute for Future Environments

QUT 2019 Science in Focus Competition


Institute for Future Environments

  • Phone: 3138 9500
  • Int. phone: +61 7 3138 9500
  • Fax: +61 7 3138 4438
  • Postal address:
    Institute for Future Environments
    GPO Box 2434
    Brisbane QLD 4001