When aspiring science writers ask me for advice on how to make the transition from the lab to the press room, I often say that a great way to get started is to take part in writing competitions. With so much else going on, it can be hard for early-career scientists to find a focus for their writing–but without that experience they cannot know for sure whether science writing is a good career choice. Competitions offer a topic (however general), a deadline, and short-term incentives, providing a focus for your science-communication efforts.
Chemistry World’s Chemistry World Science Writing Competition 2012 is open to students and early career scientists anywhere in the world. You can enter in one (or both) of two categories: writing and multimedia. As you would expect, you must write or talk about the chemical sciences. The deadline is midnight UK time, 31 August.
Winners in each category will see their entry published on Chemistry World and receive a £300 cash prize. Runners-up–one in each category–will receive a £100 cash prize.
The winners will be announced during an evening reception in London at The Chemistry Centre on 10 October. Twenty shortlisted entrants will be invited to join the reception (but overnight accommodations will be reimbursed only if you are traveling to London from more that 2.5 hours away).
More information can be found on the competition’s Web site. The FAQ also offers sound advice on science writing and multimedia communication.