Entries will be judged based on their aesthetic value, their relevance to the category in which they are entered and their interpretation of the social sciences. The photographs will be judged alongside their corresponding title and supporting words but judges will not be made aware of the entrants' name, age, school or youth group.

Entries will go through a pre-selection round, conducted by members of the ESRC Communications team. The shortlisted images will then be judged by the 2018-19 judging panel.

The winners and runners up in each of the categories, judge's favourites and the 'best overall photo' will be announced on 26 March 2019 at our prize-giving event in London. Invitations will be sent to all winners and those being exhibited by 1 March 2019.

The judges' decision is final.


Sophie BatterburySophie Batterbury is a returning judge, having judged every one of our photographic competitions since 2012. She is Picture Editor for the i newspaper Her career in photojournalism began in The Independent darkroom in 1989, where a keen interest in photography became the passion that it is today. Since then she has had various roles across both Independent titles either side of a short stint at a celebrity agency.

Professor Jane FalkinghamJane Falkingham is Professor of Demography and International Social Policy and Dean of the Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton. She is also the Director of the ESRC Centre for Population Change and a member of ESRC’s Council. Over the past 25 years, Jane has pursued a multidisciplinary research agenda, located at the interface between social policy and population studies and spanning both developed and developing countries. She is currently actively engaged on research projects in the Nairobi slums, rural South Africa, urban China as well as within Europe and the UK. Jane is also Vice-President (President elect) of the European Association for Population Studies and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences and the Royal Society of Arts. In 2015 she was awarded an OBE for services to Social Sciences.

Phil CoombesPhil Coomes is the BBC's Picture Editor and photographer. He works closely with the online team for BBC News to produce stories and slideshows from around the UK and abroad. His work has taken him to a number of countries including the Falkland Islands and warzones in Lebanon. Phil's recent work has included a mental health project and youth series focused on social issues and the recent General Election. As picture editor he commissions bespoke work for the BBC, including the award-winning Growing up young as well as sourcing images from the wires, freelance photographers and BBC staff.

Joanne GallagherJoanne Gallagher was overall winner in 2016. 

"Winning the previous photographic competition in 2016 gave me greater confidence to pursue the social sciences and I am now studying Psychology at the University of York. Having previously studied psychology and sociology, the social sciences have always interested me. After winning I was able to highlight the issues people who don’t conform to social norms of gender face, this gave me the idea that I could go on and make a difference in other areas of society. I volunteer as a family support worker for Action for Children, helping families with children age 0-5 from deprived areas. I am very excited and honoured to be invited back to judge this year's competition and very much look forward to seeing the entries for 2018-19."