Inspired, much? A list of winning Bragg Prize essays

Bragg Prize
You may have a bunch of brilliant ideas, but when it comes down to the actual writing part – well, that’s the tricky part! Image: Shutterstock

Wanna know what it takes to win the UNSW Bragg Student Science Writing Competition? These past winning essays should give you some ideas 

The annual UNSW Bragg Prize is a science essay writing competition open to all Australian high school students in years 7 to 10. Not only are there some awesome prizes up for grabs for you and your class – it’s a great way to complement your studies across all areas including Science, English, History & Geography, Design & Technology and more!

So, what does it take to create the perfect 800-word science essay? Short answer: an epic subject, awesome structure and solid research. 

This year’s comp asks you to craft an opinion piece to inform and persuade your reader on – what is Science and why do we need it? Here, we link you to the last three winners – so you can get some tips on how to tackle yours. 

2021 Bragg Winner 

Emilia Danne (Year 8, St John Bosco College), marries wit and science to question how online learning is effecting our health.

“I was captured by the topic and introduction,” explains Macarthur Girls High School teacher and Bragg 2021 judge Bradley Thomas. “The journey manoeuvres through excellent scientific evidence and reasoning.”

“Emilia’s essay does everything that great science writing should do: it’s immediately engaging, is beautifully written and really relatable,” adds fellow judge and Sydney-based fiction writer Ceridwen Dovey.

Read her essay in full here.

2020 Bragg Winner

Elena Canty (Year 9, Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School), puts together a strong argument for the benefits of lab-grown meat. 

“Elena has chosen a topic that is very current, and one which she obviously feels has the potential to significantly impact our future,” says Stephanie Schwarz, one of the 2020 judges and a teacher at Moriah College in Sydney. 

“Her essay is well-written, allowing her to present her argument clearly, supported by relevant statistics without drowning us in too much detail.”

Read her essay in full here.

2019 Bragg Winner

In her response to the theme “not-so-smart technology“, Year 9 Abbotsleigh student Arwyn Stone questioned the science (and ethics) behind increasingly popular fertility tracking apps used as an alternative contraceptive method.

“This was an imaginative and persuasive piece of writing about an important but rarely talked about issue that potentially affects half the population,” said Stephanie Schwarz, one of the 2019 judges and a teacher at Moriah College in Sydney.

Read her winning essay in full here.

Want more info on entering this year’s comp? You have until 5pm Friday 19 August 2022 and can enter here.

Thinking about entering? Get started with these resources!

  1. Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Teacher’s resources
  3. Writing tips from the judges
  4. Download the competition poster
  5. Australian curriculum links
  6. This year’s judges
  7. View the Terms and Conditions
  8. Download Parental Consent Form


Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.


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