Science Fiction: Make Believe

Paul Gardner
Tuesday 3 September 2019

In our fifth year now, we are again running a Scotland-wide creative writing competition for S2 pupils. We have had 68 schools participate from Aberdeen to Unst, Ayr to Fife, big schools and small schools, and an astonishing (and fantastic) range of submissions. The competition involves a 750 word creative piece about any Scottish scientist (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) alive or dead, or the impact of their discoveries or inventions. We are trying to put the Arts into STEM – STE(A)M. The pupil could write this piece in any creative format (e.g. blog, twitter, diary etc.,) or as a straight essay taking a different perspective (e.g. as a member of the research team, as the scientist themselves, as a newspaper report etc.,). It is anticipated that teachers co-ordinating their school’s contribution would select two essays that they would submit to the competition by January 31st, 2020. The overall winners to be announced in mid-February, 2020.


S2 pupils in any school in Scotland, two submissions per school in electronic format. Submissions should be no more than 750 words and may include graphics or images that have appropriate permissions.


One overall winner will be selected by the judging panel and will receive a £50 voucher prize. Four runners-up will receive £25 voucher prizes each. Previous winners have had their essay published by the Royal Society of Edinburgh in their Summer Resource Magazine. All schools will receive a Certificate of Recognition for their involvement as will the two pupils whose work is submitted to the competition. The prizes will be awarded at our British Science Week event on March 7th, 2020, here in St. Andrews and will be presented by a major literary figure and/or scientist. (Standard class rail fare expenses for the winner and runners-up and up to two accompanying adults will be reimbursed and lunch will be provided).

Judging Panel

The panel previously has included Dr Gavin Bowd (incoming-Head of Modern Languages), Dr Lewis Dean (Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution), Paul Gardner (Senior Lecturer, Psychology & Neuroscience), Dr Denis Hanlon (Lecturer, School of Film Studies), Carla McGaharan (Admissions), Dr Heather McKiggan-Fee (Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development), Paula Miles (Lecturer, Psychology & Neuroscience), Professor Niamh Nic Daéid (Professor of Forensic Science,  University of Dundee), Frankie Sorrell (Neuroscience, St. Andrews), Francesca Fotheringham (Neuroscience, St. Andrews), Pamela Forbes (Classicist, Scottish Funding Council), Dr Mhairi Stewart (Public Engagement Officer, BioMedical Sciences), Carole Tricker and colleagues from the Byre Writers Group. We are proud to be supported by The Royal Society of Edinburgh for this competition.

Queries and Submissions To register for the competition and to submit your entries please email Paul Gardner

Paul Gardner, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology & Neuroscience

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