Last fall, ScientificBlogging introduced our first ever University Writing Competition. We were blown away by the quality of science articles we received, and are excited to announce that we’re doing it again this spring. This time the contest is open to ALL graduate students. The official rules are below, but the big idea is that we are inviting graduate students to write about science – on any scientific topic of their choosing. It is our hope to discover those exceptional students that not only know their science, but can also effectively communicate it to the scientific community as well as to the general public.

Original articles may be submitted on any subject that exists within the six key disciplines of science featured on ScientificBlogging: Physical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Medicine, Social Sciences and Culture. In other words – just about anything. Finalists will then be chosen across all disciplines by an internal panel of ScientificBlogging staff, featured writers, and specialists in the various fields of science. The selected articles will be posted for voting, and the final winners will be determined by the results of on-line votes cast by ScientificBlogging readers.

Prizes will be awarded to the authors of the articles that receive the first, second, and third most votes respectively during the on-line voting period.

GRAND PRIZE - $1,000 Cash AND a 3-month paid writing internship at ScientificBlogging

SECOND PRIZE - $500 Cash

THIRD PRIZE - $250 Cash

Each finalist will also receive a ScientificBlogging T-shirt. Wear it around campus during the on-line voting period to encourage friends, peers, and faculty to cast a vote your way!

The competition begins February 15, 2010. All entries must be received by March 15th, and finalists will be announced on March 31, 2010. On-line voting will take place from April 1st through April 20th, and all winners will be announced on on May 1, 2010.

So what can you do even before February 15th?

1. Register to get your own column on
You will need an account in order to submit an article for the competition. It only takes a few minutes - so between now and February 15th: sign up for an account, personalize your profile, and become part of our scientific community.

2. Start planning and researching your article.
Write about what you know. Write what you’re passionate about. Write about what you’ve been excited to discover during your education, and what you’re excited to share with others. Take a little time to learn about the audience at ScientificBlogging too, as this is the audience you will want to appeal to. Feel free to take a look at some of the entries from last fall’s competition if you want to see an example of the type of articles that were submitted in the past.

3. Encourage friends, family, and faculty to vote for you.
Tell everyone you know that you’ll be participating in the competition. Friends, family, classmates, faculty - they will all be able to read and leave comments on your article once you post it, and will be able to cast votes for you if you become one of the finalists.

This competition is not just an opportunity to have your work published on a premier science site receiving over a million readers per month, but you will also have an opportunity for your writing to be reviewed by some of the most respected minds and writers in the science community.

Of course, it’s also a chance to win some cash. And for our final grand prize winner, it is an opportunity to add a science writing internship to your resume.

The official rules are below. If you have any additional questions, you may leave a comment at the end of this article, or contact Kimberly Campbell, Director of University Relations, at: kim at

Contest Rules
1. Participants must be currently enrolled as a graduate student at an accredited university.
2. Submissions must be a minimum of 500 words. There is no maximum word limit.
3. Submissions must be new original work that has not been previously published (this includes articles published in your school newspaper, on other websites or blogs, or even as part of your graduate thesis). Any references made within the work to other studies or publications must be credited and noted. However, submissions will not be considered and may be removed if they are primarily a collection of links to other articles.
4. All participants must become registered users of, and follow the submission instructions provided for the competition. You will be requested to provide a biography which will become part of your profile, and accessible from the article(s) you write.
5. All submissions must be received between February 15, 2010 12:00am PDT, and March 15, 2010 11:59pm Pacific Time.
6. Individuals may submit more than one article to the competition, but only one article per person will be eligible to be promoted to the final round; selected at the discretion of the review panel.
7. Submissions must be about science, and will be judged upon their clarity, accuracy, and relevance to the discipline of science under which they are submitted. Consideration will also be given to the contemporary nature of the topic, the overall readability of the article, as well as the writing skill of the author.
8. Finalists will be notified by email by March 31, 2010.
9. Winners will be determined by on-line voting by ScientificBlogging readers. Readers will be able to vote for multiple articles, but will be able to cast only one vote per article per day.
10. Winners will be announced on the ScientificBlogging website on May 1, 2010.
11. Cash prize winners will be paid by check by May 31, 2010.
12. Grand prize winner will be offered a 3-month paid writing internship with ScientficBlogging from June 1, 2010 to August 31, 2010. The conditions of the internship will be outlined by the standard ION Publications Internship Agreement, which the winner must agree to. Failure to perform to the requirements outlined in the Internship Agreement will result in an immediate termination of the internship, and forfeit of any remaining monetary compensation.

Submission Instructions
1. Go to the website, and select the “Register Now To Get Your Own Column!” link found at the top of the right column.
2. Create a new account. This is your column and can be customized with your own banner, column name, photos, profile page, and content. You are now a registered user of ScientificBlogging and can add friends, chat, leave comments, and write blogs and articles. Participants in the competition are requested to create a personal profile, including a biography that discusses your current school, field of study, and other scholastic accomplishments - as well as any other information you'd like to share. For more information about our user interface, you can check out our FAQ. You can create your account at any time, even before the February 15th starting date of the competition. However, to submit an article specifically for the University Science Writing Competition, you must identify your entry per the instructions below
3. Select the red “Contest” button found on the far right side of the ScientificBlogging category buttons that run across the top of each page.
4. Select the "Click here to get started on an article..." link under the Summit an Article box found in the center section of the Contest Main Page.
5. After entering your article’s title, locate the “I am a university grad student” check box under the “Article Title:” box and select it. This action identifies this article as a submission into the writing competition. This will place your completed article in the “Current Contestants” section on the contest page for reading and review during the article entry and finalist selection periods.
6. Be sure to enter a title for your article, and to select the science subject field from the drop down menu to identify the relevant discipline of science for your article. Articles must be at least 500 words long.
7. ScientificBlogging is not responsible for connectivity issues or unexpected site outages that my prevent participants from submitting articles for consideration before the deadline. We consistently maintain the site in order to have it available and operational at all times. However, it is recommended that contest submissions are not left to the last minute in case of unexpected technical difficulties with the site.
8. In order to be considered, all entries must be submitted between February 15, 2010 12:00am Pacific Time, and March 15, 2010 11:59pm Pacific Time.
9. All contest participants should sign up to receive the ScientificBlogging RSS Newsletter feed to receive updates and information regarding the competition. The newsletter feed button can be found in the lower right side of the ScientificBlogging header.
10. If you have any additional questions, please contact Kimberly Campbell at: kim at

We are excited to read what we are sure will be some fantastic articles on science from graduate students world-wide. Good luck to you all!