How we award the Early Career Researcher Prize

Love science, keen to travel with it... As a young researcher, why don't you? Check out how you can maximise your chances to bag the £300 Early Career Researcher Prize that will take you to the conference of your dreams.

Sparrho Early Career Researcher Prize Candidates

PhD students and postdocs like you are passionate about their research, but can you ignite the wider public’s interest in your work? We are on a mission to democratise science, so we want to reward young scientists who are good in their field and can explain their research in the most engaging way.

Read below what we consider when choosing a winner and boost your chances to bag the £300 travel money!

The minimum requirements

It’s not rocket science (sorry, rocket scientists) and they might be familiar from our application page:

  • min. 8 pinned research articles (they do not have to be your own papers!)
  • a 2000-character summary (you can also write more if you feel like it… )
  • a completed researcher profile

Got that covered? Great, you’re already in the running for the prize!

But how do I get noticed by the Sparrho jury?

Check out the criteria below to get noticed among the many interesting submissions we receive:

1. Your topic selection. Science is here to serve humanity, but the wider public doesn’t always understand the benefits of your research. So, raise their interest by mentioning the practical applications in your title or the blurb.

You’ve gone the extra mile if your title and blurb

  • captures the imagination.
  • identifies the field and benefits of your research.

2. Are your pins relevant? OK, you’ve added your research to the pinboard, (and you have every right to be proud of it), but have you included some milestone papers that help tell your science story to the public? Did you choose papers that offer an overview of the field?

You’ve gone the extra mile if your pins

  • are related to the topic.
  • explain the benefits your research offers.
  • provide a good background to the field.

How exactly can I pin items to my pinboard? Have a look at our Pinning Tutorial

3. Summary. Oh, the big one! But fear not! Just take a moment and imagine you are explaining your work to friends or family around the dinner table.

You’ve gone the extra mile if your summary explains

  • what problem you’re trying to solve.
  • what is its impact on humanity.
  • how is your research contributing to your goal.
  • how are you going about it.

And, if you

  • keep the jargon to a minimum,
  • and use analogies, like “the mitochondria, or the power stations of cells”.

Need some more help? Check out our Summary Writing Guide

4. Selecting the winner

The Sparrho Jury creates a shortlist and awards a score of 1 to 5 to all these criteria. We add them up and bingo, we have a winner!

Small tip: don’t forget to add an eye-catching image!

Anxious? You don’t need to be! Remember, you can be a good science communicator even if you’re not a native English speaker! Get some inspiration and from some of our past winners here.

Wishing you the best of luck and looking forward to your exciting submission. Go on, apply here!

Endre Szvetnik

by Endre Szvetnik

Endre Szvetnik is Senior Editor at Sparrho. Endre works with Sparrho Heroes to curate, translate and disseminate scientific research to the wider public.