Researchers’ Grand Prix is a national competition that was run for the first time in Sweden in 2012.
Researchers are challenged to make a four-minute presentation about their research that is as captivating and educational as possible. The audience and an expert judging panel select the winner.
Regional heats are organised by universities and science centres around Sweden in conjunction with the annual European science festival, Researchers’ Night, in September. The winners are then invited to compete in a national final in Stockholm. The contest is coordinated by Vetenskap och Allmänhet, VA, (Public & Science) and the final organised by VA together with research councils Formas, Forte, the Swedish Research Council and Sweden’s innovation agency, VINNOVA.
AIM OF THE COMPETITION
Researchers’ Grand Prix is a competition about who can present and communicate their research in the best way - not which is the best research project.
The aim is to raise the profile and status of science communication as well as showcase the breadth of Swedish research.
It is designed to be an entertaining experience for the public audience, who also get the opportunity to meet researchers face-to-face.
The competition highlights the importance of being able to describe what you have been researching for years in way that is easy to understand – and how difficult but rewarding it can be!
The winner gains recognition from the institution / college / university / company he or she works for and their place of work also wins recognition.
All participants receive inspirational coaching in presentation techniques and storytelling, which are beneficial to their future careers.
The researchers gain awareness of what it takes to be able to communicate effectively with the outside world.
Participants are invited to tell a short story with an introduction, climax and conclusion. The story should be about their research and be understood by someone who knows nothing about the subject. They should be prepared to present before a large audience. Participants come from different research disciplines and participating in the competition may lead to opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.
The entertaining nature of the concept also allows different target audiences to be reached than those who are usually interested in a particular research topic.
COMPETITION FORMAT AND RULES
Between 5 and 8 participants are given four minutes on the stage to present their research in front of an expert judging panel and the audience. The presentation is then judged on the basis of performance, structure and content.
First of all, the audience vote using an audience response system, SMS or some other method. Then three jury members, representing academia, the media and the performing arts, award points based on the area of their expertise.
The regional winner is announced, they receive a prize and go forward to the national final.
In November VA (Public and Science), in collaboration with funding partners, organise the national final in Stockholm along the same format as the regional heats. The winners of the regional heats compete in the national final.
Prior to the final, all finalists also receive a master class in presentation skills given by an experienced coach.
PARTICIPANTS AND RULES
Participants should be working on research in Sweden in the private or public sector.
The competition is open to university lecturers, graduate students, researchers, as well as people working in applied science and technology.
The competition is not, however, open to those who work professionally in science communication , e.g. public relations specialists, communications professionals, performing artists who work with scientific themes, science centre employees, journalists or non-specialist teachers.
Participants must be able to dedicate time to prepare their presentation for the competition. They should also be able to participate in rehearsals and in the national final in Stockholm.