Images and videos highlight fascinating research

Dieses Bild zeigt ein Gewinner-Bild

The winners of the SNSF Scientific Image Competition show science from another angle. From the over 350 works submitted, the jury selected four winners and awarded eight distinctions to images and videos that tell personal and sometimes intimate stories. All images are available to the media.

​The second edition of the SNSF Scientific Image Competition met with lively interest among researchers. By the closing date for applications at the end of January 2018, more than 350 entries had been submitted from all regions of Switzerland. An international jury selected one winner and two distinctions in each of four categories.

All the award-winning entries as well as many others will be shown at this year’s Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography from 4 to 27 May 2018. Sarah Girard, the new director of the Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography, is looking forward to exhibiting the images: “They’re images that transcend the laboratory using narrative, art and sometimes humour. The diversity of the images is astonishing, and the subjects and themes provoke surprising reactions.”

The images are also expected to be shown at the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) in autumn 2018 and at other exhibition venues. All entries submitted are available under a Creative Commons licence and can be used by the media as well as by any other interested parties for non-commercial purposes without restriction, with author attribution.

The winners

First prize in Category 1, “Object of study”, went to the image “Portrait of a cell population” by Maria Kotini of the University of Basel. The image stands out because it reaches “a new level of abstraction”, wrote the jury. The image shows zebrafish endothelial cells – very tiny biological structures – that were dyed for the experiment. The image depicts life that is no longer recognisable as such, and is therefore iconic for many images in basic biological research.

First prize in Category 3, “Locations and instruments”, went to the image of an excavation in Eretria, Greece, by Guy Ackermann of the University of Lausanne. The image shows the pivotal moment of discovery. Two hands meet: the hand of the archaeologist and the hand of a marble statue of a Roman general or emperor. Separated by centuries, united in this instant, the archaeologist extracts the hand from the sand. Here, you can still do science using a simple trowel.

First prize in the “Video loop” category went to the entry from Golnaz Isapour of the University of Fribourg. The film is like a painting or an animation. A single sequence repeatedly shows the same structure. The action takes place within cells, only they’re not cells. They are nanoparticles undergoing internal changes.

“The jury wanted to encourage a different, unexpected view of research,” said Matthias Egger, president of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation. “The images tell exciting stories that provide insights into the everyday lives of researchers.”

The prizes will be presented in Biel/Bienne on 9 May 2018.

Media information:

Eclectic jury

The international jury for the SNSF Scientific Image Competition comprises experts from the fields of photography, museums, media and research. The jury is chaired by Pascal Hufschmid of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne.

  • Monique Breteler, professor and director of Population Health Sciences, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (Germany)
  • Flurin Fischer, scientific officer, Zurich University of the Arts, artists-in-labs program (Switzerland)
  • Dominique Peysson, artist and researcher, École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (France)
  • Pascal Hufschmid, head of external affairs, Musée de l’Elysée (Switzerland)
  • Stephanie Reich, professor of physics, Freie Universität Berlin (Germany)


Online gallery of all entries: