SNSF launches scientific image competition in Switzerland


The Swiss National Science Foundation is launching a competition for scientific images and videos. Open to researchers working in Switzerland, the competition aims to reveal the hidden beauty of science.

A crystal resembling an abstract painting, clean rooms with an eerie atmosphere, scientists working underground: research can result in surprising images that enable us to discover strange worlds, reveal astonishing instruments and bear witness to unique human stories.

In order to encourage the higher education institutions to make these images available, the Swiss National Science Foundation is launching the SNSF Scientific Image Competition. The images will not only depict objects of study – such as living cells or interstellar nebulae – but are also intended to show the places where scientific work is conducted and the instruments used, as well as the women and men who work in research. The annual competition is also open to short videos.

Award ceremony at the Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography

"Science naturally produces spectacular images, be it on an infinitely small or an infinitely large scale," says Daniel Saraga, who is managing the project. "But we also want to show how research is conducted in practice and lend visibility to the scientists conducting it. We encourage them to pick up their camera and document the – often unusual – environment in which they work, and to give their colleagues a face."

The prizes will be presented in partnership with the Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography (5-28 May 2017), where the winning images and videos will be exhibited. "Through this collaboration we want to open up to people from all walks of life who use a camera and to depict a world in which knowledge, in every field, has become unthinkable without images," says Hélène Joye-Cagnard, director of the Festival.

With this competition, the SNSF wishes to make research more accessible to the public at large. "The media often focus on isolated discoveries," says Angelika Kalt, director of the SNSF. "But before producing results, science is above all a method shared by a community of researchers. It is important to make this face of science better known to society."

The international jury consists of experts from museums as well as from science and the arts. The competition is open to all scientists working at research institutions in Switzerland. It comprises four categories: the object of study, the research places and instruments, the women and men of science, and videos. The deadline for submitting entries is 12 February 2017.

SNSF Scientific Image Competition

Deadline: 12 February 2017
Award ceremony and exhibition: Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography, 5-28 May 2017


Daniel Saraga
Head of Science Communication
Swiss National Science Foundation
Wildhainweg 3, CH-3001 Bern
Tel. +41 31 308 23 76