The Sydney Early-Mid Career Academic Network is hosting an inaugural video competition. This is a chance for Early-Mid Career Academics at the University to share their research across disciplines and develop skills in communication for a lay audience. Participants will be able to reuse the videos created for other grant and prize applications.
To enter the competition, eligible academics should upload an original video about their research of up to 3 minutes in length.
The winner is the competition will be selected by a panel of eminent judges. The University community will also be given the opportunity to vote through a People’s Choice Award. Please see the competition rules for full details.
How to enter
Tell us about your research in a video of three minutes or less. It could be a general overview of current research or a specific research project you are working on. The goal of the video is to engage a wide audience with your research – pitch it to a general adult audience. There are no limitations on the style of video. It may include traditional slides, animation, music, talking to the camera, or any other technique that helps convey your message.
Video and audio must be of high quality. See examples from a recent '180 Seconds of Science' competition, run by the Australian Academy of Science Early to Mid-Career Researcher Forum (EMCR Forum).
The split in your video should be:
~45-60 secs – briefly introduce yourself and/or your team and explaining the background/fundamentals
~60-90 secs – explain what your research is about and why it is important
~30-45 secs – possible future applications/societal benefits.
The competition offers two prizes: a Jury Award of $1,000 and a People’s Choice Award of $1,000. Prizes can be used to further your research in any way that you choose.
Prizes will be awarded at a SEMCAN networking event at 4 pm on Thursday 26 July.
The Jury Award will be decided by an expert judging panel comprising both academic and non-academic backgrounds. The judging panel will evaluate entries based on the following selection criteria:
1. Research message and content. Research is pitched at the correct audience, and it is clear to viewers why your work is important.
2. Aesthetic appeal and narrative approach.
People’s Choice Award
The People’s Choice Award will be awarded to the applicant with the highest number of registered votes from the University of Sydney community on the Thinkable website by 5:00pm (AEST), Monday, 23 July 2018.
This competition is open to all academics (levels A-D) at the University of Sydney who hold a PhD and consider themselves to be early or mid-career (nominally 15 years post-PhD, taking into account any career breaks). Applicants can be from any discipline or faculty or research unit. University of Sydney affiliates, honorary staff members, clinical and conjoint staff at early and mid-career level are also welcome to submit an entry into the competition.
Conditions of entry
As the submitter of the video, you must be the copyright owner of all content or have permission from the creator to use their content. Credit for content that you do not own must be provided. All entries that breach this rule will be disqualified and removed from the website. By submitting an entry you are consenting to your video being promoted by the University of Sydney across different platforms. Your video may be screened as part of outreach and engagement activities. You can reuse your video in subsequent competitions and applications.
The fine print
1. Applicants may only submit one application.
2. Applications must be submitted by individuals. Teams are ineligible to apply.
3. Applicants will only be eligible to receive one award (either Jury Award or People’s Choice).
4. Prize money must contribute towards research costs, professional development, conference attendance or career-enhancing training.
Things to consider when preparing your video
Research message and content
You are not speaking to an academic in your field so avoid jargon and minimise technical terms that might take too long to explain. You will be judged on how you communicate your message to an intelligent lay audience.
Why should your audience care about your research? Why should they continue watching your video? How is your research likely to benefit people outside the University context? Judges will assess your submission on your ability to clearly communicate the topical nature of your work and its importance to a diverse audience.
What are the three take home messages from your video? Think about these before you start filming
Aesthetic appeal and narrative approach of your video
Video includes audio and visual communication methods. Aesthetic appeal, sound quality and image resolution impact on how a video is received and understood by an audience. Judges will therefore carefully consider the aesthetic appeal of your submission, as well as its research content. For practical advice on how to achieve good quality videos on a budget see here - consider using mobile phones on tripods, for example.
Tell a story – not just a beginning, middle and end – focus on a narrative arc.
There are many different ways to tell your story – you could use animation, talking head, images, mixtures of both.
Consider using analogy/props or location to get your point across.
Public videos, media, data management and integrity
Be mindful of the fact that you may not want to showcase commercially/personally sensitive items (e.g. Images of people who have not agreed to being in the video or of Indigenous artifacts, copyrighted or sensitive IP protected information or data/ inventions which might be patentable in future or have commercial value)
Talk to your supervisors/collaborators whose work you are presenting before you make your video.
For The University of Sydney guidelines on good data sharing practices and rules around owning, licensing and copy right issues visit our Library website
For questions associated with this competition, including eligibility, contact one of the organisers: