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2017 Science Showcase
Video Contest!

Winners will be announced October 2017

The 2017 Science Showcase Video Contest celebrates the best in researcher-created science videos. Watch this year’s entries here!

Qualifying videos are currently being showcased on the Science Showcase YouTube channel. The best will be reviewed by our panel of distinguished guest judges, including BrainCraft’s Vanessa Hill, NPR’s Richard Harris, ACS Reaction’s Adam Dylewski, and Google’s Cat Allman.

Contest winners will be become the proud owners of a highly enviable, one-of-a kind Science Showcase clapperboard, unlimited bragging rights, and a check for up to $2,000!

The Challenge

A staggering number of people use YouTube — over 200 million in the U.S. alone – many of whom are passionate about science. Yet there are remarkably few researchers making videos that people want to watch.

This is a huge missed opportunity, and one we’re on a mission to address.

The Opportunity

Wouldn’t it be awesome if scientists were as fluent in “YouTube” as they are in “Blog” and “Twitter”?

The Science Showcase Video Contest is all about getting researchers excited about communicating their science to curious-minded people on YouTube.

The Contest

So if you are doing cool research, and have a passion for telling others about it, get creating!

The deadline for submissions was August 31, and this year’s successful entries can be found on the Science Showcase YouTube channel.

The Brief

Create a highly engaging and informative video that effectively communicates a specific aspect of science, technology or engineering, and is engaging and informative for a broad public audience.

There are no restrictions on style of video, or technique used. However, all submissions must be created by researchers, and not professional video makers.

Videos should be submitted for consideration between June 1 and August 31. Qualifying videos will be posted on Science Showcase as they are received and reviewed. Video views will be tallied between September 1 and 30, and winners announced in early October.

Selection Criteria for Qualifying Videos

Qualifying videos will be selected according to the following criteria:

Researcher-created. You must be an active researcher, or a team of active researchers, and have been primarily responsible for your video’s creation, for it to be considered. We’re including researchers in universities, companies, and even citizen scientists.

Science-focused. We are looking for videos that get into the nitty gritty of the “how” and “what” of science and engineering, whether it’s stuff you do, or stuff you know about. We will not consider videos that describe broad areas of science, that describe and promote science projects or programs, that describe the process of science, or that promote products, companies or organizations. We’re also looking for videos that have a clear focus and narrative structure.

Length. We’re looking for videos between 1 – 3 minutes long — longer videos aren’t likely to be considered.

Authenticity and creativity. We’re looking for awesome videos that are authentic, and not necessarily videos that are completely polished. We’re especially interested in videos that are creative.

Accuracy and legality. We won’t be accepting videos that are inaccurate, or misleading, or push a strong opinion without evidence. And we won’t be accepting videos unless it’s clear that you have permission to use the material they include.

Watchability. And ultimately, we’re looking for videos people will want to watch and tell their friends about. This means they should be engaging, informative, and worth someone’s time to watch!

Unfortunately we can only accept videos in English this year – we’re intending to expand the range of languages we cover in future years though!

Submitting your videos

Please submit the following to between June 1 and August 31 2017, with the subject line “Awesome Science Video 2017”

  • The title of your video.
  • Names and affiliations of the video creators.
  • Confirmation that the video was created by researchers, and was not produced in any part by professional video makers.
  • A download link to your video, using Google Drive, DropBox or similar.
  • Any additional information you would like posted in the information on your video on YouTube, should it be selected as a finalist.
  • A 1920 x 1080 pixel image of your preferred video thumbnail (optional)
  • Confirmation that you agree to allow your video to be posted on Science Showcase, under a Creative Commons license. (We will also post under the Standard YouTube License if requested)

We will be allowing up to two videos per individual/team to be submitted.


In September, we’ll be selecting up to three of the qualifying videos for awards:

1) Most Awesome Science Video ($2000*). Ten of the best qualifying videos will be selected as finalists for the Most Awesome Science Video prize. A panel of four distinguished guest judges will select their pick of the finalists for the Most Awesome Science Video 2017 award.

2) Eyeballs on Science Award ($1000*). We’ll be tallying the views that each qualifying video receives between September 1 – 30. The video with the greatest number of views will receive the Eyeballs on Science Award 2017 award.

3) Director’s Choice Award ($500*). The video that most exemplifies the aims and spirit ofScience Showcase will be selected by the YouTube channel’s producer and curator Andrew Maynard for the Director’s Choice 2017 award.

* Unfortunately, only participants with a U.S. tax i.d. are eligible for monetary awards at this point (although we’re working o this). However, we’d still encourage submissions from anyone with a passion and talent for making science videos – irrespective of where you are.

All awards will be announced toward the beginning of October, and will be showcased on Science Showcase. Awardees will get a personalized and signed Science Showcase “clapperboard“, a check for between $500 and $2000, and unlimited bragging rights!

Guest Judges

A panel of highly distinguished guest judges will be reviewing the finalists for the Most Awesome Science Video 2017 award, and picking the winner:

Vanessa Hill

Vanesa Hill is an Australian science educator and filmmaker, and creator of BrainCraft, a PBS show exploring psychology, neuroscience and human behavior. BrainCraft is a leading educational series on YouTube, with more than 350,000 subscribers and 18,000,000 views. Vanessa previously worked for Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, as a science educator, social media manager and spokesperson. She was also a science reporter for ScienceAlert and had regular segments on Australian broadcast media.

Adam Dylewski

Adam Dylewski is manager of ACS Productions, the American Chemical Society’s video team, and is the creator of Reactions — a weekly series from the ACS and PBS Digital Studios highlighting the chemistry of everyday life. Reactions currently has more than 200,000 subscribers and over 25 million views.

Richard Harris

Richard Harris is an award winning science reporter with NPR, and author of the book Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions. He is a three-time recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science science journalism award.

Cat Allman

Cat Allman is a member of Google’s Making Science and Open Source Programs teams. As well as engaging with the global free and open source software (FOSS) community, Cat is a 2016 judge for the global Falling Walls Young Innovators competition, and co-organizer of SciFoo – Google, Nature, Digital Science and O’Reilly Media’s invitation-only Science Foo camp.


Making simple whiteboard videos: We’re interested in all types and styles of videos, but if you’re interested in a series of tutorials on making simple whiteboard videos using a smartphone, it’s worth checking these out.

Title: Select a title that will appeal to potential viewers, that clearly states what the video is about, and that will be picked up by search engines!

Script: Script out your video before filming. Always!

Focus: You can’t say a lot in 2 – 3 minutes, so be sure to carefully choose the focus of your video, and mercilessly ditch ideas that you love, but don’t fit this focus.

Keep it simple (but not too simple): Imagine your audience is a group of bright and curious middle schoolers, who don’t know much science. Use simple language. Avoid jargon. And if you have to use technical terms, make sure it’s clear what you’re talking about.

Develop a strong narrative: No-one has to watch your video (apart from the judges), so you’ve got to keep your viewers engaged from the first second they press “play” to the end. This means developing a strong narrative that keeps them engaged.

Make sure you have top-quality audio: It’s hard to over-emphasize how important the quality of your audio is in your video.

Be authentic: People will watch authentic videos, where your personality and passions shine through, even when the production quality isn’t great.

Create a great thumbnail and video description: People are more likely to watch a video if the thumbnail and the first sentence of the description grab their attention!

Watch other videos: Find science video channels and creators you really like on YouTube, and learn from what makes their videos so effective.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can submit videos?
Anyone who is directly involved in research and has expertise in science, engineering and/or technology. This includes doctoral students, postdocs, research faculty, and researchers in companies, government agencies, and other organizations.

How about undergrads?
If you’re involved in research, know your stuff, and want to submit a video, we’d love to receive it!

Does this include researchers who aren’t in the U.S.?
Of course! Unfortunately though, only participants with a U.S. tax i.d. will be able to claim the monetary awards if they are a winner (although we’re working on this!).

Can an organization or a research lab submit a video?
No – you can submit a video as a team from a lab or organization, but the video must be submitted by researchers, and not the organization.

Can professional video creators submit videos?
No, sorry! This is a competition for people who’s day job is doing research, but who have passion for communicating this.

How about if I’m a researcher who also gets paid for making videos?
As long as you’re a researcher who also makes videos, this is fine. Where we’d probably draw the line is if the majority of your time/income comes from videos.

Can we use professional help with our videos?
Yes, as long as the content and story line of the video are researcher-created, and professional help is confined to finishing/polishing the video. Any professional help must be acknowledged when you submit your video.

Can we collaborate with artists and others who aren’t researchers?
Yes – and in fact we would encourage collaborations! However, we will be looking for the concepts and content of the video to be driven by researchers.

Are we just restricted to whiteboard-style videos?
Absolutely not!! We’d encourage you to be as creative as you want to be in the style of video and content you create!

Am I restricted to videos about my own research?
No – as long as you know about, understand, and can effectively communicate the science (or engineering etc.) in your video, you’re fine.

Can I win by buying video views?
Since you ask, no. A number of online services allow you to purchase YouTube video views. However, these undermine the purpose of science communication, which is to connect content with people who are interested in it, who want to engage with it, and who stand to benefit from it. We’ll be discounting views from videos that are clearly associated with such services.


July 3 – We’re really excited to announce that we are now giving out monetary awards for the winners of the Most Awesome Video award ($2000), the Eyes on Science award ($1000) and the Director’s Choice award ($500). Funding is being provided through the ASU Risk Innovation Lab, the ASU School for Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), and the ASU Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.


  • The competition is open to anyone who is engaged in science/engineering/technology research
  • Only participants with a U.S. tax i.d. will be eligible for monetary awards.
  • Prize winners will be personally responsible for paying appropriate taxes on their winnings. All prize winners will be required to register with ASU Foundation once notified, in order to receive their winnings.
  • Videos made after January 1 2016 are admissible, including videos that have previously been published elsewhere.
  • Teams of researchers may submit videos. However, videos submitted by organizations will not be considered.
  • Videos that are submitted by, created by, or are strongly supported by, professional video makers, will not be considered. However, some use of professional support in finishing videos is allowed, as long as it is acknowledged.
  • Videos that contain material that is used without permission, or material that is offensive or in any way discriminatory, will not be considered.
  • The decisions of the judges and the Science Showcase team are final.

Financial support for the 2017 Science Showcase Video Contest prizes is provided by:

Thank you!