The ESRC, in partnership with SAGE Publishing, is launching its third student writing competition. This year, ESRC-funded PhD students are being asked to explain how their research has an impact on improving the lives of people. 

Entrants are encouraged to use their imagination to write 800 words that will capture the interest of the public, engage people with their research and demonstrate their writing and communication skills. The competition, which this year has the theme Better Lives, celebrates and fosters the writing skills of the next generation of social scientists, while engaging the public with the incredible breadth and depth of social science research taking place throughout the UK. 

Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of the ESRC, said: “The writing competition is an excellent way to celebrate the diverse contribution that social science research makes to help improve societal outcomes. It provides a great opportunity for ESRC-funded students to share their work with a wider audience and to hone their communication skills.”

Entries will be judged by a panel of social science communication experts and journalists and includes Miranda Nunhofer, Vice President, Humanities and Social Science Journals at SAGE Publishing. 

Miranda Nunhofer commented:  “Social science research has a significant impact on the society in which we live. However, despite this, its value is often overlooked and misheard. As the publisher of the social sciences, SAGE Publishing is dedicated to working with the academic community to support the impact of the vital nature of these disciplines. As such, we’re delighted to partner with the ESRC on this competition – offering researchers, especially those early in their careers, a great opportunity to voice their research, explaining why, and how, it can help us to gain new insights and better understand the world around us.” 

A shortlist will be drawn up and the winner will be announced at a ceremony at the British Academy in London on 4 April 2019. The winning essay writer will be awarded £1,000 and two runners-up will each receive £500. The prize-winning articles will be published in print and online. All shortlisted candidates will get the opportunity to attend a writing masterclass on how to get published, run by SAGE publishing.

The competition is open from 31 October 2018 and any student who is in receipt of PhD funding from the ESRC on the closing date of 7 December 2018 is eligible to enter. Winners of previous competitions have written about topics as diverse as future cities, the impact of climate change and the experience of using public toilets.

The theme of Better Lives ties in with the annual ESRC Photographic Competition, which this year asks young people to consider how social science research makes all our lives better by helping society to become enriched, healthier, more resilient and sustainable. 

To enter or for more information on the competition, see: writing competition.