The 2020 SNSF Scientific Image Competition is underway

Capturing the beauty of science: the Swiss National Science Foundation is once again holding its photo and short video competition in 2020. Nadine Wietlisbach, director of the Fotomuseum Winterthur, will chair the jury. The images will be exhibited for the first time at the Biel/Bienne Photography Festival in May and will be freely available to the public and the media.

The 2020 edition of the SNSF Scientific Image Competition is officially open. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) invites researchers throughout Switzerland to submit their photographs, images and videos by 31 January 2020. The winning projects and a selection of other entries will be exhibited at the Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography from 8 to 31 May 2020, curated by director Sarah Girard.

“Taking part in last year’s competition led me to approach my work differently, because the submissions are exhibited and displayed online”, says Ali Amini, a PhD candidate at EPFL. In 2019 Amini captured a prize for his short film of a gas jet in a liquid. “You can’t just focus on the precision demanded by science; you also have to consider the aesthetic and storytelling aspects. The competition allowed me to reach scientists outside my field as well as the broader public, who asked me to explain my work after seeing the film.”

1300 freely available images

Since 2017, the SNSF Scientific Image Competition has been dishing up a stunning and very varied vision of the world of research, covering the full range of the social, natural and technological sciences. These images have been exhibited at Biel/Bienne, during the Zurich Film Festival as well as at Swissnex hubs in San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro. In 2019, the “Nuit des images” at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne screened a video montage set to music by three DJs.

All of the images submitted – to date more than 1300 – are available in an online gallery, where they have been viewed more than 600,000 times. They are available for use free of charge for non-profit-making purposes as well as by the media.

Director of Fotomuseum Winterthur on the jury

The competition jury will be chaired by Nadine Wietlisbach, director of Fotomuseum Winterthur. “I’m interested in all forms of photography”, she says. “The scientific world produces amazing images that are worth sharing, and I delight in discovering them.” The jury includes Lars Lindemann, director of photography of the magazine Geo, French visual artist Dominique Peysson, Danish curator Jens Hauser, mathematician Emmanuel Ferrand and Irène Hediger, who directs Artists-in-Labs in Zurich.

The entries will again be divided into the following categories:

  • object of study;
  • locations and instruments;
  • women and men of science;
  • video loop (max. 15 seconds).

A sum of CHF 1000 will be awarded to the winning entry in each of the four competition categories. Each distinction will be awarded the sum of CHF 250.

The competition is open to all scientists working at a research institution in Switzerland and for work produced after 1 February 2019. Professional photographers and videographers may not take part in the competition. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2020.

SNSF Scientific Image Competition: Share the beauty of your research

Submission deadline: 31 January 2020

Exhibition: Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography, 8– 31 May 2020


Elise Frioud
Science editor
Swiss National Science Foundation
Tel.: 031 308 24 81
elise.frioud@snf.chExternal Link Icon

Daniel Saraga
Saraga Communication, 4059 Basel

Tel.: 076 465 21 72

danielsaraga@saraga.chExternal Link Icon