Max Perutz Science Writing Award 2020 winner announced

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The 23rd recipient of the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) Max Perutz Science Writing Award has been announced at a virtual award ceremony.

And the award goes to

MRC PhD student Sarah Taylor from the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at The University of Edinburgh was announced as the winner of the £1,500 prize.

Sarah’s winning article, curing the incurable: teaching an old drug new tricks to fight ovarian cancer, was published in The Observer.

The runner-up prize of £750 went to Julia Wcislo from University of Dundee, for her article, ‘The game of hide-and-seek’.

Three received the commended prize of £400:

  • Miranda Buckle from MRC Doctoral Training Partnership, University of Oxford, for her article, ‘Baby, what’s on your mind?’
  • Maria Stavrou from The University of Edinburgh, for her article, ‘Undoing the Straitjacket’
  • Fernanda Teixeira Subtil from Francis Crick Institute, for her article, ‘From the palace to the favela’.

Virtual award ceremony

The event was hosted by MRC Executive Chair Professor Fiona Watt, who chaired the prestigious judging panel consisting of:

  • Dr Roger Highfield, MRC Council member and science director of the Science Museum Group
  • Andy Ridgway, journalist and senior lecturer in science communication at the University of the West of England, Bristol
  • Ian Tucker, science and technology editor of The Observer
  • Samira Ahmed, journalist and broadcaster.

The virtual ceremony consisted of:

Watch a recording of the full event:

Max Perutz Science Writing Award 2020: Virtual award ceremony

In the afternoon of the ceremony, the shortlisted candidates had the chance to virtually attend a science writing masterclass led by Dr Claire Ainsworth from SciConnect.

The session covered the principles of effective short popular-style science writing, what makes a great hook, effective phrasing, and the shortlisted candidates giving each other feedback on their articles in breakout rooms.

Read ‘The Shortlist’

Ten candidates were shortlisted for their articles from the 140 entries this year – the highest in the history of the Max Perutz Science Writing Award.

Their articles represent the fantastic breadth of research MRC funds – topics include:

  • antimicrobial resistance
  • disease prevention
  • new ways of understanding mental health conditions
  • machine learning.

You can read the 10 shortlisted articles as a digital booklet – ‘The Shortlist’.

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