Enter the UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing

UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing

The UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing is a competition for Year 7-10 students in Australia. Meet the 2021 winners here

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!

Scroll down for this year’s essay topic, resources to help you get started, and how to enter. Good luck and happy science writing!

2022 Topic: What is science?

What do we mean by science? Science is defined as an intellectual and practical activity investigating the nature of the world, and is characterised by the scientific method.

In this essay topic, you’ll explore what shapes your own interpretation of science by looking at your personal experiences, defining moments Science has played a part in, cultural perspectives, family conversations and experiences first hand of how Science has impacted on life-long memories.

Craft an opinion piece, or historical or cultural research to inform and persuade your reader: what is Science and why do we need it?

Your 800-word essay might consist of:

– Reflections on First Nations science;

– Science through time; or

– How science is represented through traditional or social media.

References do not count towards the word count. The competition closes 5pm Friday 19 August 2022.

Looking for inspo?

Win a fantastic set of prizes!

The winner will be awarded a $500 UNSW Bookshop voucher. Two runners up with receive $250 book vouchers.

The winning essay will be included in the 2023 edition of NewSouth Publishing’s highly acclaimed anthology The Best Australian Science Writing, where it will appear alongside essays by some of the country’s leading science writers. It will also appear in an issue of CSIRO’s Double Helix Magazine, on CareerswithSTEM.com and on newsouthpublishing.com.

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

Win a book pack for your school!


The regional and city school with the most entries will win this awesome book pack from NewSouth Publishing. Simply enter as many students from your school as you can for the chance to win these books:

  • How to be a Writer by John Birmingham
  • Space Warp by Fred Watson
  • Kid Reporter: The Secret to Breaking News by Saffron Howden and Dhana Quinn
  • The Best Australian Science Writing 2021 edited by Dyani Lewis
  • Gum by Ashley Hay

Read the winners of the 2021 UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing:

Winner: The dark side of blue light

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

Runner-up: How does the violin saw its tooth?

Stephanie Chew (Year 8, Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Sydney), explores the complicated science behind how a violin produces sound. Read her essay in full here.

Runner-up: Ultrasound, seeing with sound

Elora Guirguis (Year 10, Mater Dei Catholic College, Wagga Wagga) walks us through the way STEM is used in ultrasounds. Read her essay in full here.

About the UNSW Bragg Student Science Prize 

The Bragg Prize is an annual award celebrating the best non-fiction science essay written for a general audience. An initiative of UNSW PressUNSW Science and Refraction Media, the UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing is designed to encourage and celebrate the next generation of science writers, researchers and leaders. For an aspiring university Dean of Science or Walkley Award-winning journalist, this could be the first entry on their CV.

The Bragg Prizes are named for Australia’s very first Nobel Laureates, the father-and-son team of William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg. 2015 marked the centenary of their Nobel Prize win in Physics for their work on the X-ray analysis of crystal structures. William Henry Bragg was a firm believer in making science popular among young people. His lectures for students were described as models of clarity and intellectual excitement. More information about the Bragg prizes can be found here.

Competition sponsors

2020 UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing sponsor logos

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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