SNSF Scientific Image Competition

Get your cameras! Give Swiss research a face

​​​The SNSF Scientific Image Competition encourages researchers working in Switzerland to present their works to the public and the media. Photographs, images and videos will be rated in terms of their aesthetic quality and their ability to inspire and amaze, to convey or illustrate knowledge, to tell a human story or to let us discover a new universe.

All the entries to the competition (more than 20​00 to date) are available in an online gallery on Flickr.

  • Participation

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    Participation requirements

    All scientists working at a research institution in Switzerland are eligible to participate The works must have been produced less than 12 months before the deadline for submitting entries.


    Researchers who wish to take part in the competition must fill in the online form.

    Categories of the competition

    Each participant may submit from 1 to 5 entries, in one or more of the following categories:

    1) Object of study (image)

    From the microcosm to the macrocosm, images of the research object captured by scientists using a camera or generated by a computer.

    2) Women and men of science (photographs)

    Photographs of research in practice, presented by and featuring those conducting it.

    3) Places and tools

    Photographs of the surroundings in which scientists take measurements, generate data and make discoveries, and of the instruments they use while doing so.

    4) Video loop

    Chronophotography, video or animated gif, documenting some aspects of categories 1 to 3.

    Technical details


    Digital image file obtained from a camera. Format: JPEG or TIFF. Maximum size: 100 MB. Minimum resolution: 2000 x 3000 pixels (16.9 x 25.4 cm to 300 dpi). Digital touching up permitted.


    Digital image file taken from a camera or computer-generated from data obtained through observation or computer simulation (excluding explanatory infographics). Others: see "Photographs", above.


    Digital video file taken from a camera or computer-generated from data obtained through observation or computer simulation (excluding explanatory infographics). Formats: GIF, AVI, MP4 (edited in a loop). Maximum size: 300 MB. Duration: from 3 to 15 seconds. Minimum resolution: 480 x 720 pixels (DVD resolution). Digital touching up permitted.

    Terms of use

    The participants retain their copyright. They authorise the publication of the submitted images under a CC-BY-NC-ND licence ( unaltered images can be used freely for non-commercial purposes as long as they are credited as the creator of the image.

  • About the competition

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    The competition is held annually. An international jury will meet at the beginning of the year and award a CHF 1,000 prize in each category for the winning entry, as well as CHF 250 for each distinction. The award-winning works are announced in April or May, displayed in an exhibition at the Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography and made available to the public and the media, as well as to scientific institutions.

    The competition has multiple aims: to highlight the growing role of images in scientific research, to reveal how scientific work is conducted and to give a face to the researchers conducting it. The competition also aims to encourage the media to use more images in their science coverage and make them accessible to the public through exhibitions.

    We encourage researchers to pick up their camera and document the – often unusual – environment in which they work, and to give their colleagues a face.

    Jury 2021

    The jury includes international experts in the fields of photography, museums, media and research from around the world.


    Award ceremony, exhibition and online galleries

    La remise des prix a lieu en mai 2021 durant les Journées photographiques de Bienne, où les œuvres gagnantes et soumises sont exposées.

    The images are presented at other exhibitions as well as online:

  • Winners 2021

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    Computed tomography of suspected COVID-19 pneumonia - First prize in the category "Object of study"

    Eloisa Aldomar (Zurich University of the Arts)

    Surveying alpine solifluction at Furka - First prize in the category "Women and men of science"

    Armin Rist und Lukas Munz (University of Bern)

    Witnessing the birth of a new ocean - First prize in the category "Locations and instruments"

    Valentin Rime (University of Fribourg)

    The anatomy of a basilica - First prize in the category "Video loop"

    Louis Vandenabeele (ETH Zurich)


    Empty memory - Award in the category "Object of study"

    Markus Strobl (Paul Scherrer Institute)

    Dissection of a stink bug's gut - Award in the category "Object of study"

    Samuel Cia (ETH Zurich)

    Alpine root diversity -Award in the category "Object of study"

    Patrick Möhl (University of Basel)

    The cube - Award in the category "Women and men of science"

    Clément Pollier (University of Geneva)

    Science during a pandemic - Award in the category "Women and men of science"

    Fabienne Meier (ETH Zurich)

    Learning and assessing surgical skills - Award in the category "Locations and instruments"

    Julien Busset (Swiss Foundation for Innovation and Training in Surgery)

    Aerosolisation assessment during ear surgery - Award in the category "Locations and instruments"

    Lukas Anschütz (University Hospital Bern, Inselspital)

    Six feet under: the hidden treasure - Award in the category "Locations and instruments"

    Sarah Semeraro (University of Neuchâtel)

    A gulag shack - Award in the category "Video loop"

    Jérôme André (University of Lausanne)

    Jump! - Award in the category "Video loop"

    Daniel Huber (University of Geneva)

    Lego microscope - Award in the category "Video loop"

    Yuksel Temiz (IBM Research Zurich)

  • People’s prize 2017-2021

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    In March 2021, the public voted for its favourites from among 50 photographs and 15 videos. The preselection had been made in February 2021 by 20 photography students of Arts College Bern/Biel.

    A view from inside the neocortical forest (2017)

    Nicolas Antille (EPFL)

    Jump! (2021) - Video

    Daniel Huber (University of Geneva)

  • Winners 2017 - 2020

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    Online gallery

    Many of the images are presented in an online gallery. Follow the images from the competition on Twitter using the hashtag #SwissScienceImage.

  • News

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