Royal College of Science Union

The submission deadline is 18th February 2020 at midnight.

Written entries have a word limit of 1200 and video entries have a length limit of 4 minutes.

Only one submission can be made per student.

Submissions must be in the format specified by the question.


Create a video that answers the following question:

"How can we deal with climate change?": who is the we in that sentence, and why does it matter?

Gaia Vince

Gaia Vince, Guest Judge

Gaia Vince is a science writer and broadcaster. She has held senior editorial posts at Nature and New Scientist; her writing is featured in newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian and Scientific American. In 2015, she became the first woman to win the Royal Society Science Book of the Year Prize solo for her debut, Adventures In The Anthropocene: A journey the the heart of the planet we made. Her latest book, about human cultural evolution, is Transcencence. She blogs at and tweets at @WanderingGaia.


Write an essay (with a proper introduction, body and conclusion) for your argument on:

What does evidence tell us about how best to communicate climate science in order to trigger action? Apply that evidence in your answer.

Mike Shanahan

Mike Shanahan, Guest Judge

Mike Shanahan is freelance science writer, editor and communication consultant who focuses on climate change, forests and biodiversity. He has a doctorate in rainforest ecology and is the author of Ladders to Heaven, a book about how strangler figs and their kin have shaped humanity and the world about us. His journalism includes work published by The Economist, Nature, New Scientist, BBC Earth and Scientific American. He maintains a blog called Under the Banyan.


Write a feature article that looks at specific areas about the question to convey factual information in a narrative style.

Write a feature piece about what good climate means to different people, and what this means for how we respond to climate change.
This could be in the style of a sci-fi piece, or biography or anything you can think of. How does climate impact people differently and how is this linked to the science behind it?

Mun Keat Looi

Mun Keat Looi, Guest Judge

Mun Keat Looi is a science writer and features editor, and the author of two books, ‘Big Questions in Science: The quest to solve the great unknowns‘ (2013) and the Geek Guide to Life (2016). Mun-Keat was awarded the silver Rising Star Award at the 2015 British Media Awards and has written and produced news, features, podcasts, and videos for Wellcome Trust, Quartz, The Guardian, BBC Focus, Chemistry World and others.


Submit an entry in any format of your choosing to answer the question: this can be a piece of creative writing, an essay, a video, or anything you think will best illustrate your point.

The decisions that politicians are making today profoundly affect generations behind them…. Decisions not just about Climate Change, but also Nanotechnologies, genetically modified organisms, reproductive technologies and others.
What can younger people do to communicate their hopes and concerns about technologies that influence all our lives?
Your entry can be an example of how you might communicate your message about a particular technology, or could explore what younger people can do to communicate in general.

Kathy Sykes

Kathy Sykes, Guest Judge

Kathy Sykes was Professor of Science and Society at Bristol University and was on a number of government advisory bodies involved with public engagement. She was the founder of the Cheltenham Science Festival which was regarded as the leading festival of its kind, ad advisor to the Wellcome Trust on PE, a regular presenter for BBC until she stopped in 2010, and on the Societal Issued panel of the EPSRC and the Prime Minister’s advisory board on science and the public. Her PhD was in polymer physics.

Overall Winner Judge

Lord Robert Winston

Lord Robert Winston, Science Challenge Ambassador

The ambassador for the Science Challenge for 12 years, the President's Envoy for Outreach and Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London. He visits many schools in the UK each year and has published lots of science books for the younger generation, such as “Evolution Revolution” and “The Story of God”. He is Chairman of the Genesis Research Trust – a charity which raised over £13 million to establish the Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology and which now funds high quality research into women’s health and babies. He also sits on the Board of Trustees of the UK Stem Cell Foundation.