The Young Scientist of the Year judges share their winning tips

Thinking about entering the coolest video comp in science? Judges will assess entries on how well the topic is addressed, its visual appeal, accuracy, creativity and overall quality. Image: Shutterstock

Are you an eco-warrior with video skills? The University of Adelaide Young Scientist of the Year video comp is open for entries – and this year’s judges are sharing their winning tips

Know the next climate change hero? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

The University of Adelaide has teamed up with Careers with STEM for a curriculum-linked video competition that’s open to students in years 7-10 attending an Australian school.

Channel your inner eco-warrior to make a short video on an environmental problem or solution on one of the following topics:

You could be named the University of Adelaide Young Scientist of the Year, plus win $500 for yourself, and $1000 for your school!

This is a seriously awesome opportunity for any aspiring environmental scientists! Entries are open until 29 October – but before you submit yours, check out the following tips from some of the people who will be choosing this year’s winning essay.

Professor Alan Collins, Tectonic Geologist

  • Think of the sort of think you find engaging to watch and try to work out how it’s done.
Alan Collins
Alan Collins leads the Tectonics and Earth Systems Group (TES) in Adelaide.

“Personally, I like enthusiasm, but not overdone enthusiasm. Think David Attenborough – calm and authoritative, but still audibly and visibly loving what he’s talking about!”

  • Try to imagine you are just talking to a friend, letting them know about something you find really interesting.

It can feel pretty strange talking to a camera and not seeing your audience. Don’t worry about shooting it a few times to get it just right!”

  • Tell a story!

“Make sure you have a start (an introduction), a middle (your core point), and a distinct finish (something that will stay with the viewer).  Repetition is good too – it’s OK to bring back points you made earlier in the piece, at the end. You’re trying to get the viewer to remember what you have had to say!”

Joanne Villis, Digital Technologies Teacher

With a Masters in Education/Technology and her passion for teaching, Joanne has developed and delivered Professional Learning at a local, national, and international level.
  • Form a connection. 

“Think about how you can make a connection with the viewer – whether it be through a personal experience, an anecdote, or some type of persuasive technique. Be a good storyteller!”

  • Make it personal.

“Let your personality come through in the words you choose and give life to them by the way you speak. Ignite the listeners with excitement and passion about your chosen topic.”

  • Make an impact. 

Avoid unnecessary distractions. Every element of your video from the images to audio and video needs to have a purpose. If it doesn’t, don’t use it. Keep your editing clean and simple.”

Anastasia Volkova, Aerospace Engineer

  • Have an idea? Validate it!
“Finding a good problem to solve may sometimes be the most difficult part of the challenge. When you have a few good ideas try to find someone who can validate them. Look for friends with contacts in the industry. They will be able to provide good feedback on the problems you are interested in solving and confirm if they are indeed real-world challenges.”
  • Have a solution? Challenge yourself!
“For a problem you’re looking to solve, try to come up with several solutions and seek to explore those that seem not obvious. Once you have come up with a few solutions, ask yourself – why has no-one else come up with a solution like this? Is it affordable? Is it scalable? Practical? Ask yourself questions that a real-world user would ask to ensure that your solution is a good and viable option for the problem you are looking to solve.”
In her next-gen engineering role, Dr Anastasia Volkova is feeding the world to
protect the planet.
  • Envision the solution in use!
“Once you have the problem and the solution describe the use case and how you see someone leveraging the solution to address the problem. What benefits are they experiencing? How has their life changed compared to what they used to do? Are there any additional benefits to your solutions such as gaining time or peace of mind?”
Holly Cooke, Geology Student
To Holly geology is uncovering the richness and complexity of the natural world.
  • Tell the story that makes you passionate and curious.

“Science, as a discipline, is a deep spring of knowledge containing fascinating and raw human stories about the world around us and the scientists within it – tell the tale of a solution. Make the human connection.”

Good luck with your entries! Any questions, shoot them through to


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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