Queer Science Competition

Photo of gay mathematician Alan Turing. 
           He smiles at the camera. You may have heard about the achievements and experiences of gay mathematician Alan Turing: there’s been a film made about his life (The Imitation Game), a building named after him at Exeter Science Park, and he even features on the reverse of the new polymer Bank of England £50 notes! But why don’t we know more Lesbian, Gay, Bi/Pan, Trans, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians and medics?

Through their Queer Science Competition (QSC), PRISM Exeter - in association with the University of Exeter, Intercom Trust, Exeter College, Devon Schools Leadership Services, and Exeter Science Centre - is challenging all secondary school, college, and university students across the greater Exeter area to discover lesser-known LGBTQIA+ scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians and medics and share their stories. We want to know whose life and/or work you find inspiring and why.

Unsure where to look? See our 'Getting started' section below for some tips on how to get started with your search.

The competition will be judged by a panel of PRISM Exeter coordinators. One winner and two runners-up will be invited to present a short talk on their chosen LGBTQIA+ scientist, technologist, engineer, mathematician or medic at an event celebrating Pride Month at the University of Exeter during the week beginning June 27th 2022. The winner will receive a cash prize of £100 and the two runners-up will each receive a cash prize of £50.

Click here for the full list of terms and conditions, including eligibility criteria.

How to enter

    Once you've found an LGBTQIA+ scientist, technologist, engineer, mathematician or medic whose life and/or work inspires you, we want you to submit a short video or essay explaining:
  • who they are
  • which area of science, tech, engineering, maths or medicine they worked in or contributed to
  • how they self-identified / self-identify or what indicates that they may have been LGBTQIA+
  • why you have chosen to champion them.

Video entries

  • Videos must be no more than 3 minutes long.
  • The file size must not exceed 100 MB.
  • Landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) formats are allowed.
  • Professional recording equipment is not required. Videos recorded on phones are fine.
  • Audio and any captions must be in English. Text-to-speech software may be used if you do not wish to record your own voice. Any signing should be in British Sign Language (BSL) or Sign Supported English (SSE).
  • Written entries

  • Written entries must not exceed 300 words.
  • Entries must be written in English. Slang (e.g. polari) and dialect words are welcome.
  • We recommend that spell-checkers are used but spelling and grammatical errors will not be penalised so long as the content remains understandable.
  • We recommend that you draft your entry in a word processor before copying the text into our online entry form.
  • Once you have submitted your entry, why not share it on TikTok or Twitter? Remember to use hashtag #QueerScienceExeter and tag @PRISMexeter in your post! PRISM Exeter will share qualifying entries using this hashtag across our social media accounts.

    Click here to enter

    See below for full terms and conditions.

    Terms and Conditions

    This is a communication skills competition for all secondary school, college, and university students in and around Exeter, UK:

    • Entrants must have been aged 11 years old or over on September 1st, 2021.
    • Entrants must be enrolled at an educational institution within the Exeter area for all or part of the academic year 2021/22. Qualifying educational institutions are schools, colleges and universities within the following UK postcode regions: EX1, EX2, EX3, EX4, EX5, EX6, EX7, and EX8.
    • There are no other eligibility requirements: entrants may be of any gender, identify however they like, and studying any subject / combination of subjects.
    Entries must be submitted in video or written format:
    • Video entries may be in landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) format and must not exceed 3 minutes in length. You do not need professional recording equipment to enter the competition via this format: videos recorded on phones are fine. The file size must not exceed 100 MB. The audio and any captions must be in English. Text-to-speech software may be used. Any signing must be in British Sign Language (BSL) or Sign Supported English (SSE).
    • Written entries must be in English and not exceed 300 words in length.
    • Entries must comprise original work and not be copied from elsewhere.
    • We recommend that entrants use a spell-checker in a word processor (e.g. Microsoft Word) or search engine (e.g. Google) to check their spelling in written entries. However, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will not be penalised so long as the content remains understandable.
    • Entries must not contain offensive language (including swearing or slurs) or display offensive content.
    • Each entrant may only submit one entry.
    • Entries must be submitted through our online entry form.
    • Any entries shared to social media (e.g. TikTok, Twitter etc) should ensure they abide by the terms of use and privacy policies of the external platform in question. PRISM Exeter is not responsible for the content of any posts shared using the hashtag #QueerScienceExeter and reserves the right not to re-post any entires shared to social media.
    One winner and two runners-up will be selected from all qualifying entries received by the deadline:
    • The competition will close at 11:59pm BST on May 20th 2022. Entries received after this date and time will not be considered.
    • All entries will be judged by a panel of PRISM Exeter coordinators who work in Exeter's Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine sector.
    • All entries will be assessed on their ability to convey information - in video or written format - and their ability to argue their point of view.
    • If the subject of the video or written entry is deceased, the subject must have self-identified as LGBTQIA+ or, if their lifetime predates common use of such terms, the entry must explain what indications there are that the subject may have used these terms were they alive today.
    • If the subject of the video or written entry is still living, the subject must self-identify as LGBTQIA+ and be publicly "out".
    • The winner and runners-up will be notified by email no later than June 3rd 2022.
    • The decision of the judging panel is final.
    The winner and two runners-up will be invited to present a short talk on their chosen LGBTQIA+ scientist, technologist, engineer, mathematician or medic at an event for the general public held at the University of Exeter.
    • The event will be held on the University of Exeter's Streatham Campus during the week beginning June 27th 2022. The exact date and venue will be announced at a later date.
    • The winner and runners-up will be given the opportunity to nominate someone they know to speak at the event on their behalf. This could be, for example, their teacher, their parent/guardian or an older sibling.
    • Each winner / runner-up will receive four tickets to the event so that their family and/or friends may attend to support them.
    The winner will receive a cash prize of £100 and the two runners-up will each receive a cash prize of £50. The winners and runners-up will each receive a certificate.
    • Prizes and certificates will be presented to the winner and runners-up at the celebration event during the week beginning June 27th 2022 (see above).
    • The cash prizes will be awarded as polymer Bank of England £50 notes. These bear the face of gay mathematician Alan Turing.
    • We recommend that any prize winners under the age of 16 consult with their parent or legal guardian on how to manage their money.
    • PRISM Exeter require written consent from a parent or legal guardian to award cash prizes to winners/runners-up under 16 years of age. A consent form will be emailed out to prize winners in this age bracket at the same time the prize winners are announced. This form will need to be signed and returned by the date specified on the form.

    QSC is a student communication competition run by PRISM Exeter, in association with the University of Exeter, Intercom Trust, Exeter College, the Devon Schools Leadership Services, and The Exeter Science Centre.

    PRISM Exeter logo. University of Exeter logo. Intercom Trust logo Exeter College logo Devon Schools Leadership Services logo Exeter Science Centre logo

    It is funded through the Society for Experimental Biology's Diversity Grant, awarded to Dr Andrew Griffiths and Dr Claire Davies on behalf of PRISM Exeter.

    Society for Experimental Biology logo.