Science in Shorts

A science communication challenge from Nature Awards. 

In partnership with Merck.

Illustration by Sam Falconer.

Illustration by Sam Falconer.

Tell the world about your research in a 1-minute video.

Your audience is everyone.

Your goal is to inform, engage and entertain.

Shortslist

Watch then share our favourite videos

The Nature awards science in shorts winners 2022.

Click through to watch our favourite videos from this year’s competition. Then, vote for your favourite video here!

Click through to watch our favourite videos from this year’s competition. Then, vote for your favourite video here!

About the programme

Nature believes that research matters to everyone. But not everyone knows it. We want you to tell the world about your work, what you do and why it matters. And we want it to be approachable, engaging and easy to digest.

The challenge:

  • Tell the world about your research in a 1 minute video. What are you doing and why does it matter?
  • Your audience is everyone, particularly non-scientists.
  • Your goal is to inform, engage and entertain.
  • Be as creative as you like, as long the science is accurate.
  • Express yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality.
  • There’s no need for specialist kit or sophisticated software. Videos can be shot on a smartphone. We’ve created some tips to help you get your video right.
  • Every video that we agree is clear, accurate, and engaging will be added to the Science in Shorts library on nature.com.
  • We’ll then select our favourite videos and give a prize of €5000 to each - up to 10 videos will be selected.
  • The whole collection will be shared with the public, globally.
  • Join in. Help us show that research matters to everyone.

Key dates

Applications have closed for 2022. Science in Shorts will open again in 2023.

Eligibility:

About your video - the technical stuff.

  • Up to 1 minute long.
  • Maximum 800mb file size.
  • Filmed on any type of camera as long as the audio and visuals are clear - smartphone is fine. We will add a transcript/subtitles.
  • Filmed horizontally - turn the phone sideways.
  • Scientifically accurate.
  • If you include footage or content from a third party, you will be responsible for gaining their permission.
  • Audio or text should be in English.

What types of video are we looking for?

Applications will be assessed by a multidisciplinary panel of Nature Portfolio science storytellers including editors, journalists, filmmakers, and communications experts. The panel will first decide videos to be published, and then create a shortlist of 10 entries. The chair of the panel will ultimately be responsible for decision making and their decision will be final.

Videos will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Is the science clear and accurate?
  • Will the video get the attention of an audience with little knowledge of science?
  • Is the story creative, engaging and entertaining?
  • Are the images clear and easy to follow?
  • Is the sound clear and easy to hear and follow?

About You

  • We accept applications from active researchers working in any discipline.
  • Participants must have published a paper, or had a paper accepted for publication, in a Nature Portfolio journal between 1st November 2020 and 1st November 2021, not necessarily as the lead or corresponding author. (But your video can be about any part of your research work, it does not need to be about this particular paper and we do not want complex video summaries of a research paper).
  • Applications are accepted from individuals or from teams via a team spokesperson.

July 2022 onwards: Public voting for the viewers' favourite

Prize

Every video that we judge to be clear, accurate, and engaging will be added to the Science in Shorts library on nature.com.

Up to 10 of our favourite videos will each receive:

  • €5,000. In the case of healthcare professionals, Springer Nature will donate the amount to a charitable organisation.
  • Promotion on social media.
  • Participation in interactive public voting, for the viewers favourite - which will be hosted through Springer Nature and Merck platforms.

This information is subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and any resulting restrictions.

Apply

How to apply

Videos must be submitted through the online application form.

Applications have closed for 2022. Science in Shorts will open again in 2023.

A few tips for your video

  • If you’re in the picture, make sure we can see you. Use a lamp, sit near a window or get outside.
  • If you’re speaking, make sure we can hear you. Avoid air conditioning, printers, road noise, windy days, background conversation, etc.
  • The science must be correct. And you should not include any unpublished data or conclusions that haven’t yet been peer-reviewed.
  • Get creative with your location - the lab, the forest, the beach, the city, wherever your research takes you.
  • Think about showing us what you do - an experiment, an animated whiteboard, fieldwork. Examples are great.
  • Try any style - a lab tour, a song, a demo, an experiment, a poem, an animation, a dance. There are no limits. It can be funny, or beautiful, or inspiring - the creative choice is yours.
  • We are not looking for traditional slide presentations.
  • Make sure it’s engaging for a general, non-scientific audience.
  • Make us love your science and make us smile.
  • Please get permission from anyone else in the video and please do not include any participants under 18 years of age.
  • Check your recording before submitting.

Your application

Applicant details

  • Provide a citation or acceptance letter, where you are a named author, of at least one paper in a Nature Portfolio journal published between 1st November 2020 and 1st November 2021.
  • Are you a healthcare professional?
    Healthcare Professionals are defined as - Any natural person that is a member of the medical, dental, pharmacy or nursing professions or any other person who, in the course of his or her professional activities, may prescribe, purchase, supply, recommend or administer a medicinal product or provide healthcare services and his/her office staff, and any payer for Pharmaceutical Products, including any national and local reimbursement authority or any other person considered as a healthcare professional under Applicable Laws and Codes.
  • Full name of individual OR spokesperson’s name on behalf of a team
  • Job title
  • Email address
  • Phone number (including country code)
  • Applicant address - including city, country and postal/ZIP code
  • Main affiliation
  • Address of the main affiliation - including city, country and postal/ZIP code
  • ORCID ID
  • Social media handles - Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Linked In.
  • Website URL
  • Institutional profile website URL
  • Video upload
  • Headshot photograph and/or team photo (with permissions)

Shortlist profile questions

This information is not judged.

  • Introduce yourself/team, providing a short biography (maximum 150 words)
  • Introduce your research and tell us about what you do (maximum 150 words).
  • What are some of the challenges that you/your team have faced during your research (maximum 150 words)?
  • What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in your research area (maximum 150 words)?
  • Please include a short statement about why you feel it is important to communicate and share your research to the public. (maximum 200 words).

Disclaimers

If your video is selected, you will be required to complete a permissions form documenting the information below.

  • ‘I confirm the video submitted and its contents is entirely my/my team's original work’ or ‘I confirm I have obtained permission for the use of any third party content or footage’.
  • ‘I confirm that no participants or contributors to the video are under 18 years of age.’
  • ‘I confirm that I have permission from anyone else that appears in the video’.

Terms and conditions for applicants

By submitting an application you agree that: You have read and accepted the award terms and conditions and your personal data will be used as part of, and to communicate with you about, the Nature Awards programme and the Merck events at which each programme cycle’s shortlist premiere will be held. You can remove your details by emailing awards@nature.com. For more information view our Privacy Policy.

Key dates

Applications have closed for 2022. Science in Shorts will open again in 2023.

Contact

Please contact us at awards@nature.com if you require any further information.

Frequently asked questions

General

Q: Who can I contact for more information?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any further information at awards@nature.com.

Eligibility

Q: Who is eligible?

Eligibility criteria are:

  • We accept applications from active researchers working in any discipline.
  • Participants must have published a paper, or had a paper accepted for publication, in a Nature Portfolio journal between 1st November 2020 and 1st November 2021, not necessarily as the lead or corresponding author.
  • Applications are accepted from individuals or from teams via a team spokesperson.

Q: Why are only specific journals eligible?

There are a couple of reasons. The first is that we want to share the work of scientists that we know whose work has been peer reviewed and chosen by our editors and as this is our launch year we have no idea how many of you are going to want to take part. We’re trying to strike a balance between engaging with as many innovative and creative researchers as possible and completely overwhelming our volunteer review panel. As the project evolves, we may find that we can expand the range of journals and still give proper attention to all the films submitted.

Application

Q: How do I apply?

You can find the entry form here.

Q: When can I apply?

Applications open on 15th November 2021 and close on 28th February 2022 12:00 noon (time zone UTC 00:00).

Q: When will I know if I have been shortlisted?

All shortlisted applicants will be contacted by 1st June 2022.

Q. Will I receive updates on my application?

Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual feedback on applications. Successful applicants will be contacted by the dates indicated.

Video content

Q: Who is the target audience?

We’d like you to focus on the general public. It might help you to keep in mind two or three people that you know quite well who have no science qualifications at all and think of how you might communicate your science to them.

Q: Can I choose any scientific topic?

We’d like you to present something that is related to your work or the work of your wider team - the work can be current or past. It does not have to be about your research paper listed in your application.

Q: Does the science in my video need to be an original contribution to science?

No. Creative explanations of existing theories, principles or concepts that will resonate with a general audience are fine. Videos definitely shouldn’t contain unpublished data or conclusions that haven’t yet been peer-reviewed. Nor should videos simply summarise a published scientific paper.

Q: How long should my video be?

We’re looking for videos of 60 seconds.

Q: Do I need to produce the content myself?

Yes. If you do include anything created by someone else, bear in mind that you need formal permission from the owner of its copyright, from an image of the Mona Lisa to a neat diagram your colleague drew. Remember that although all copyright expires eventually, copyright exists in a fresh digital image of an old work of art. Having said that, there are plenty of online libraries of royalty free images and artwork.

Q. What about music?

You should only use Creative Commons music or royalty free music in your video, unless you’re willing to pay a truly eye-watering licensing fee for your favourite piece of Coldplay or Billie Eilish. Or, if you happen to have the skills, you could write and record something yourself.

Q: Can I use existing footage?

Yes, if it belongs to you or you have formal permission to use it.

Q: Can I work with collaborators?

Absolutely.

Q: Can I get technical help?

You can, but bear in mind that we’re not particularly looking for high production values, jaw dropping special effects or film wizardry.

Q: Can I enter more than one video?

Certainly, if you have the time and inclination.

Q: Do I need specialist camera equipment and editing software?

No. We prefer you to use accessible equipment such as a smartphone and we are not judging the videos on the production values. Your video must be clear, visually and audibly though.

Q: Will I retain copyright?

You will retain the copyright in your work. However by entering you will be granting Springer Nature a licence to use your video and you should read the relevant section of the terms & conditions carefully.

Evaluation

Q: Who will judge entries?

A lot of great science communicators work at Springer Nature; film makers, editors, journalists, animators and more. We’re bringing together a team of our best and brightest to sift through all of your work and choose the ones that do the best job of getting across a complicated idea.

Q: What are the judges looking for?

It can be funny, beautiful, inspiring - the creative direction is up to you. As long as it informs, engages and entertains. Catch people's attention and really pique their interest and your message will stick in their memory for longer.

Publication & prizes

Q: What’s in it for me?

Well, the awesome sense of achievement, kudos and glamour of being a part of Nature Award’s Science in Shorts video library, obviously. But apart from that, there’s a US$5,000 honorarium for up to 10 videos that we choose to actively promote to the public via social media and other channels.

Q: Will Nature Awards publish the videos?

Every video that meets our basic threshold is going to be included in the Science in Shorts Video Library which will be publicly available. Up to 10 of our favourites are going to be actively promoted to a wide audience of the general public, who will also be able to vote on their favourite.

Sponsor

Merck.

United by science for a better tomorrow.

United by science for a better tomorrow.

Curious2022 - Future Insight™ Conference, taking place from July 12 -14, 2022 with on-site participation in Darmstadt, Frankfurt Rhine-Main, Germany and also with options for online participation, will bring together some of the world’s brightest scientists, including several Nobel laureates, to present their work and explore the future of science & technology; solving the challenges of today and enabling the dreams of a better tomorrow. The conference will also feature the awarding of the 1 million euro Future Insight® Prize. The Curious2022 - Future Insight™ Conference covers a broad range of topics such as: health, synthetic biology, material sciences, energy, digitalization, mobility, nutrition, secrets of the human mind, as well as new ways of working together.

Now is your chance to participate in this unique event. Present your work to the community, meet outstanding individuals from all over the world, start new business relationships and join initiatives to make the world a better place. Become a keynote speaker, engage as a strategic partner and join a global movement to create a bright future for humanity.

Smallprint

Terms and conditions

1. Science in shorts

Please read these terms and conditions carefully. By entering Science in Shorts (the “Programme”) you agree that you have read and agree to these terms and conditions (the “Terms”). The Terms include the prize details and all instructions on how to participate or take part in the Programme. Failure to comply with the Terms may result in disqualification from participation in the Programme.

2. Parties

The Programme is run by Springer Nature Limited, a company registered in England and Wales, registered number 00785998 and registered office at The Campus, 4 Crinan Street, London N1 9XW, under their brand name Nature Awards, in collaboration with Merck KGaA., a company incorporated in Darmstadt, Germany (together, the “Promoter”).

3. Eligibility

  1. To be eligible to enter the Programme, the participant must:
    1. have been listed as an author on a paper published in a Nature Portfolio journal between 1st November 2020 and 1st November 2021;
    2. be resident in a country where it is lawful for you to apply, nor be subject to any other exclusions listed in these Terms.
  2. The Promoter reserves the right to verify the eligibility of participants.

4. Criteria for programme submissions

  1. Participants will be required to produce a 60 second video which demonstrates:Audibility and Viewability, Accuracy, Creativity, Innovation, Capacity for public engagement. A buffer of 5 seconds can be considered at the promoters discretion.
  2. Participants will also need to provide personal/organization details and a shortlist profile. Full details are available in the guidelines for participants accessible at the following URL: https://www.nature.com/collections/scienceinshorts
  3. Participants must apply via the application form.
  4. Videos should be in English.
  5. Entries must be complete and submitted online with all relevant supporting materials. Entries can be submitted between 15th November 2021 and 12:00 noon UTC 00:00  on 28th February 2022.

5.Exclusions

  1. Please note that the Programme is not open at any stage to:
    1. persons resident in countries or territories where local, state, provincial or national laws prohibit the promotion of, operation of or participation in such awards or receiving prizes pursuant to the Programme or
    2. persons resident in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Burma/Myanmar, the Crimea region of Ukraine or other sanction-sensitive countries or regions as updated from time to time;
    3. any individual named on Specially Designated Nationals lists as updated from time to time;
    4. directors or employees (or members of their immediate families) of the Promoter or any affiliate of the Promoter;
    5. any current members of the judging panel or ambassadors (or members of their immediate families);
  2. Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.
  3. Complete submissions must be in English and include all sections requested by the Promoter.
  4. Incomplete submissions may be declared ineligible, and participants may not be given the opportunity to re-submit or alter their submission.
  5. Healthcare Professionals are eligible to submit to this programme; however, where such a submission is included on the shortlist of up to 10 outstanding entries and therefore attracts an honorarium payment, the provisions of the applicable anti-bribery and corruption laws, and industry codes on interactions with Healthcare Professionals apply. This means that the payment will not be made to the Healthcare Professionals. Instead, Springer Nature will donate the amount to a charitable organisation.
  6. Healthcare Professionals are defined as - Any natural person that is a member of the medical, dental, pharmacy or nursing professions or any other person who, in the course of his or her professional activities, may prescribe, purchase, supply, recommend or administer a medicinal product or provide healthcare services and his/her office staff, and any payer for Pharmaceutical Products, including any national and local reimbursement authority or any other person considered as a healthcare professional under Applicable Laws and Codes.

6. Review and Shortlisting Process

  1. An expert panel convened by The Promoter will review all submissions. The panel will exclude those which are not eligible, not fully audible or viewable or not scientifically accurate and cannot be included in the Science in Shorts online library. The panel will also select a shortlist of up to 10 outstanding submissions which will receive individual promotion, be premiered at Curious2022 - Future Insight Conference in Darmstadt, Germany in July 2022 and on which the public will be invited to vote for a viewers favourite and comment, via The Promoter’s online platforms. The public voting does not form any part of the judging and review process to select the shortlist of up to 10 videos.
  2. The shortlisted participants will be notified on or before 1st June 2022 and be announced at the premier in July 2022. The final number of shortlisted participants is decided at the discretion of the Promoter. The Promoter reserves the right to reduce the number of shortlisted participants in the event that there are insufficient entries or that the entries are not suitable or of an unsatisfactory standard.
  3. Each shortlisted participant will receive an honorarium of Euros 5,000.
  4. Each shortlisted participant will also be invited to Curious2022 - Future Insight Conference.
  5. The panel members will make up 100% of the votes. Any decision will be final and binding and no further communication will be entered into in relation to it.
  6. Nature Awards Programme actively encourages submissions from countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Country Classification System. Note that a number of weighting points will be added to such submissions, based on the country of origin’s position in the classification. Fundamental excellence and achievement remain the overriding consideration of the judges but the weighting points will be used to ensure that these are viewed in the context of the entrant’s access to opportunity and resources.

7. Intellectual property

  1. Any video you submit to the Programme must either be: (i) entirely your original work; or (ii) submitted by you on behalf of a group, in which case you may be required to provide verification of the identities of other participants and their acceptance of all Terms and Conditions.
  2. You must either be the sole owner of the copyright in the entry submitted or have secured the written permission of all owners of copyright in the video to submit the entry into the Programme. A copy of the written permission must be supplied to us on confirmation to you that your image will be included in the Science in Shorts video library.
  3. Ownership of the copyright in any entry submitted to the Competition will remain with the copyright owner(s).
  4. Appropriate permissions and/or licenses for any third party copyright material included in the video, such as, but not limited to, music and artwork must be secured before a video is submitted to the programme. By submitting a video, the participant warrants that all necessary permissions have been secured and indemnifies the Promoter against any liability with respect to breach of third party copyright.
  5. In consideration for inclusion in the library and the opportunity to be included in the Shortlist, thereby securing an honorarium, participants grant to Springer Nature an unlimited licence to reproduce, publicise and exhibit that video in any form or medium (including but not limited to physical copies, electronic copies and on social media) to enable it to be judged by the Jury or a public vote for the duration of the Science in Shorts programme.
  6. With regards to any video you submit that is included in the Science in Shorts library, in consideration for the inclusion and without need of further payment unless stated otherwise, you hereby grant the Promoter, and if necessary any agents acting on our behalf, the right to:
    1. reproduce and exhibit the film in any location;
    2. use the image in any medium to publicise and promote Science in Shorts, without further payment unless stated in clause 8 below;
    3. print and publish still images from the video in any Springer Nature publication;
  7. The Licence Period shall:
  8. commence on the date you are notified of your inclusion in the library and remain in place until the Science in Shorts is terminated by the Promoter; and
  9. after such period Springer Nature shall retain archive (electronic or otherwise) copies of the images but will seek your permission if it wishes to use the video or images for any further purpose.
  10. The Promoter and any sublicensees will credit all copyright holders, when using material in accordance with these Rules. However, you agree that we will not be liable to you, or the team of participants, in the event of inadvertent omission of that credit.
  11. any video you submit has been taken with the consent of:
    anyone who is identifiable in that image;
  12. all contributors and participants in the video are over the age of 18;
  13. that those individuals have been advised:
  14. that the likeness may be submitted to the Programme; and
  15. that their image may be used in accordance with these Rules.
  16. It is your responsibility to ensure that:
  17. You acknowledge that entry into the Programme does not grant any rights in relation to any names, logos or other intellectual property connected to or owned by Springer Nature or the Programme. You agree not to make any public statement using such names, logos or other intellectual property without our prior written consent. Springer Nature undertakes that such consent will not be unreasonably withheld.
  18. The term "any medium" shall include but not be limited to any print, book, magazine, Springer Nature partners’ communication, digital media, applications or social media channels.

8. Honoraria

  1. The honoraria (“Honoraria”) for the Programme consist of the following:
    1. Up to 10 amounts of Euros 5,000 to be used for any purpose - one honoraria of Euro 5,000 per shortlisted participant;
    2. coverage within nature.com (the format and amount to be determined in the sole discretion of Springer Nature).
  2. The Programme and the Honoraria are non-transferable and non-negotiable.
  3. Shortlisted participants will be required to formally accept their Honoraria via email within 14 calendar days, and may be required to provide confirmation of eligibility. If a participant does not accept the Honoraria within 14 calendar days of being notified, they may forfeit the Honoraria and the Promoter reserves the right to choose another participant.
  4. The judges’ decision is final and the Promoter reserves the right not to correspond on any matter.
  5. Any government officials who enter the Promotion are responsible for ensuring that they may enter and/or receive an honorarium if they win, and that the honorarium does not exceed the relevant limit for their role and jurisdiction. If a shortlisted participant is not able to accept the honorarium, then in the absolute discretion of the Promoter, a charity donation may be made instead to a Promoter-approved charity.
  6. The shortlisted participants will be required to provide their bank details, and the prize will be paid into that account by 31st December 2022. The participants are fully responsible for any tax that may be liable on the honorarium.

9. Privacy and Publicity

  1. All personal data regarding participants is subject to and will be treated in a manner consistent with Springer Nature’s Privacy Policy, accessible at www.nature.com/info/privacy.html.
  2. By participating in the Programme, your personal data will be used as part of, and to communicate with you about, the Springer Nature programme and the Merck events at which each programme cycle’s shortlist premiere will be held. You can remove your details by emailing awards@nature.com.
  3. Applicants agree that Promoter may collect and use their personal information, which shall be shared with the judging panel which may include members outside of the Promoter’s staff, and stored until 31st December 2025, or for a further period of 2 years for shortlisted participants.
  4. By participating in the Programme, participants acknowledge that they have read and accepted the Promoter’s Privacy Policy which shall be deemed to be applicable to the Programme application.
  5. The application form used for the Programme is hosted by Submittable. By participating in the Award, participants give their consent to, such use, processing, and transfer as required by all applicable data protection laws and have sole responsibility for the accuracy, quality and legality of personal data processed by Submittable in the provision of the services they provide to the Promoter for the application process. The Submittable Privacy Policy is available at: https://www.submittable.com/privacy/
  6. The shortlisted participants and winners must participate in webcasts, interviews and contribute content after the award results have been announced, at the reasonable request of the Promoter.
  7. All shortlisted participants must answer profile questions and provide a headshot photograph (JPEG, 150x150 pixels) to the Promoter as part of their application. The profile and questions will be used by the Promoter on the Award’s website. The name, region of residence, profile and likeness of shortlisted participants may be used by the Promoter for Award and event publicity in any form including on the Promoter’s website and social media pages, and those of the Sponsor, at no cost to the Promoter or Sponsor.
  8. Each shortlisted applicant shall keep the status and the listing for the Award completely confidential until after the public announcement of the shortlist by the Promoter.

10. Miscellaneous

  1. No purchase is necessary to apply for the Programme and would not increase your chances of winning.
  2. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, illegible, corrupted or fail to reach the Promoter by the closing date for any reason. Proof of posting or sending is not proof of receipt. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid. No other form of entry is permitted. Please keep a copy of your entry as we will be unable to return entries or provide copies.
  3. The Promoter may, in its sole discretion, disqualify any applicant found to be tampering or interfering with the entry process or operation of the Programme website, or to be acting in any manner deemed to be disruptive of or prejudicial to the operation or administration of the Programme or otherwise in a manner not in keeping with the Promotor’s standards around ethics and research integrity.
  4. The Promoter reserves the right to withdraw the Programme and/or Honoraria from any winner or shortlisted applicant in the event that the Promoter reasonably suspects: any error in the applicant’s application form; any problem with the research programme to which the application relates; or that the applicant has acted in a manner inconsistent with the Promoter standards around ethics and research integrity.
  5. The Promoter may, in its sole discretion, withdraw the Programme and/or Honoraria from any shortlisted applicant in the event that the shortlisted applicant behaves in such a way as to bring the name or reputation of the Promoter or the Programme into disrepute.
  6. Other than for death or personal injury arising from negligence of the Promoter, so far as is permitted by law, the Promoter hereby excludes all liability for any loss, damage, cost and expense, whether direct or indirect, howsoever caused in connection with the Programme. All activities are undertaken at the applicant’s own risk.
  7. The Promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend these Terms and Conditions or change the Honoraria (to one of equal or greater value) in its discretion. No cash equivalent to the Honoraria is available.
    These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law. Disputes arising in connection with this
  8. Agreement shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Last updated: 24th February 2022.