Skills & careers

The competition

If you are an MRC-funded 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.

Fourteen outstanding articles were shortlisted for the 2016 Max Perutz Science Award. Read the announcement here: 2016 Max Perutz Science Writing Award shortlist announced​.

The winner, runner-up and commendations for the 2016 competition were announced at a ceremony in London on Thursday 13 October. All 14 short-listed articles are now published (PDF, 956KB).

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 published on the MRC Insight blog and the MRC website (PDF, 956KB).

All shortlisted entrants are invited to a science writing masterclass and the awards ceremony in central London.

The prestigious judging panel is made up of: Donald Brydon, MRC Chairman, Dr Ruth McKernan, CEO of Innovate UK and MRC Council member, Professor Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vivienne Parry OBE, science journalist and Dr Christoffer van Tulleken, PhD student at UCL, science presenter and 2014 Max Perutz Award winner.

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. You can find feedback on previous entries and top tips from past judges in ‘The secrets of good science writing’.

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

The rules

  • Timeline for the competition will be available shortly
  • 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).
  • The judges’ decision will be final.


All current MRC-funded PhD students are eligible to enter and may submit one article. This can include PhD students in MRC-funded institutes, units and centres, and MRC-funded PhD students in universities.