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Skills & careers

The competition

If you are an MRC-supported PhD student with an interest in communicating your science to a wider audience, then the Max Perutz Science Writing Award is for you.

The award aims to encourage and recognise outstanding written communication among MRC PhD students. Please see eligibility for more details.

Congratulations to Akira Wiberg who won our 2019 competition. Read the announcement and his winning article.

This year our prestigious judging panel is chaired by our Executive Chair of the MRC, Professor Fiona Watt. She is joined by Dr Roger Highfield, MRC Council Member and Science Director of the Science Museum Group and Andy Ridgway, journalist and senior lecturer in science communication at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

A picture of the three Max P judges

Why does my research matter?

We want you to tell us why your research matters in a way that would interest a non-scientific audience. Why is it important? Why does it interest you? Why should it interest the reader?

The winner will receive a prize of £1,500, and their article will be published on the MRC Insight blog.

All shortlisted entrants will receive an award and are invited to a science writing masterclass and awards ceremony in central London.

Judging criteria

  • Does the article convincingly answer the question 'Why does my research matter?'
  • Does the article explain the writer’s research in a way that is easy to understand?
  • Is it a compelling read?

The article must be based on the research you are doing. This could be on the whole of the project or on just one aspect, but it should not be a general review of the area.

The piece should be aimed at a non-specialist audience; written at a level that an interested member of the public could understand while conveying the significance of your research. It should be worthy of being published on the MRC Insight blog.

You can find feedback on previous entries and top tips for writing a winning entry in ‘The secrets of good science writing’.

Winning entries from previous years are also available to give you an idea of what we’re looking for.

The rules

  • The article should be no more than 800 words, including the title — anything significantly longer will be disqualified.
  • The article should be text only: no diagrams or tables should be included.
  • The article should be written in prose (as opposed to poetry or verse).
  • Articles that have already been published elsewhere cannot be submitted. 
  • The judges’ decision will be final.
  • Do not include your name or any other personal details within your document or in the filename.


Students are eligible to submit one article if they are:

How to enter

The 2019 competition has now closed.

Please note the following submission requirements:

  • Do not include your name or any other personal details within your document or in the filename
  • File type: Word document
  • File name: Use the article title as the file name
  • Word count: No more than 800 words
  • Font and formatting: Please ensure the text is 1.5 spaced Arial 10pt 

If you experience any issues when submitting your entry, or have any questions about the process, please get in touch by emailing sciencewritingprize@mrc.ukri.org.