Please note that we will not be running the MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award in 2023. This is to allow us to focus on developing MRC’s public involvement and engagement strategy and to review the award as part of our prize portfolio.
The MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award is our annual writing competition for current MRC PhD students. It aims to:
- support the career development of our PhD students
- help our PhD students build their skills to become tomorrow’s leaders in discovery science
- encourage and recognise outstanding written communication
The award is named after the eminent scientist and Nobel Laureate, Dr Max Perutz, an accomplished and natural communicator. He was a passionate advocate for communicating the benefits of science and engaging people with research. Dr Perutz was a molecular biologist who founded the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in 1962.
Since the competition began in 1998, more than 1,000 MRC researchers have entered to communicate their research to the public.
The winning articles for the past 3 years have been published in The Observer.
The winner receives £1,500. There are also cash prizes for:
- 1 runner-up: £750
- 1 commended entry: £400
- 7 shortlisted entries: £250 each
The 10 students who make the shortlist are invited to a science writing masterclass.
For the award’s 25th anniversary in 2022, we celebrated its impact on previous winners. Read the winning article, by Emily Cornish.
Who can enter
You are eligible to submit an article if you are:
- an MRC-funded PhD student in a university
- a PhD student in MRC units, centres and institutes, regardless of your source of funding
- a student currently enrolled on the masters segment of an MRC-funded integrated masters or PhD
Previous winners are not eligible to enter.
What we’re looking for
Your article should tell the reader in 1,100 words why your area of research matters.
You can write about your research or the research of someone you work with. It just needs to be in your field of study.
If you haven’t started your research yet, or it’s at an early stage, you can still write about the research you are planning to do and why it is important.
Make sure that your article is:
- written in a way that will interest a non-scientific reader
- timely, so that readers get the sense they are reading about an area of research that is important now