2022 Images of Research Competition

About the Competition

Unleash your inner photographer and tell a story that showcases the impact of your research in the 2022 UCalgary Images of Research Competition. The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Graduate Students' Association are excited to provide you with an opportunity to undergo a transformative experience; exploring new ways of thinking about your research, its value, and how it can be presented to an audience outside of your research domain. Also, it's a great opportunity to win cash prizes and have your research presented to a wider community!

To participate, graduate students are challenged to capture an image that showcases their research and write two abstracts (one for a general audience and another for a technical audience) to complement the image as well as describe their research and its impact.

Registration is open December 15, 2021- January 24, 2022. Students have until January 31st at 11:59 pm to make their image and abstract submissions.

Register for the Competition HERE

Awards and Prizes

Student entries will be split into two groups - STEM and HAS. A panel of judges will select 5 winners: an overall winner for all entries, a first-place runner up for the STEM and HAS groups each and a second runner up from the STEM and HAS groups each. There will also be a People’s Choice winner chosen by the public via Facebook ‘likes” on the FGS Facebook page. The winners will be announced on March 11, 2022 and will receive their monetary prizes around March 25th. Awards and prizes are provided by FGS.

Monetary awards:


1st runner-up [STEM] $300

1st runner-up [HAS] $300

2nd runner-up [STEM] $150

2nd runner-up [HAS] $150


*STEM programs are those that are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics focused. HAS programs are in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. Participants will self select STEM or HAS as their research focus as a part of the registration.

Non- monetary awards:

The images will also be used online (social media and/or the website) to further disseminate the winners’ research and help future students learn. Students may also be invited to other events to speak, network and continue to share their research.

How It Works

The contest is open to all UCalgary graduate students in both thesis- and course-based programs. To be considered in the contest, all submissions must be:

  • Original, unpublished image (Please note: images such as computer-generated or electron microscopy images are accepted. Images of art such as paintings may be submitted, but must be arranged with purpose and follow judging criteria.)
  • Taken by the student submitting the image
  • Digital, high resolution images in JPEG format (3300 x 4200 pixels minimum and 300 dpi)
  • Printable as 11x14” prints (entries must be cropped to final size before submitting)
  • File size smaller than 12 MB

Graduate students can submit a maximum of one image per competition year. In addition to your image submission, you are required to provide two abstracts:

  • a technical abstract, written for those familiar with your field of research, describing your image and how it relates to your thesis research or course of study (maximum 1,200 characters including spaces)
  • a general public abstract (jargon-free and public-friendly language) which describes your image and how it relates to your thesis research or course of study (maximum 1,200 characters including spaces).
    • The two abstracts are expected to pull from the same information but be different from each other.

Details of the competitions rules and regulations can be found HERE.

Contest rubric can be found HERE

Workshops and Resources

To support your learning and chances for success, we have partnered with the My GradSkills Team in Faculty of Graduate Studies to provide workshops, feedback sessions and a collection of written resources provided via D2L. Students will be able to sign up for feedback sessions and access the D2L site after they have registered for the competition. Registration for the workshops is currently open, you do not have to register for the competition to participate in the workshops:

  • Photo Editing: Capturing research images that wow your audience
    • A video copy of this workshop will be made available in the D2L site.
  • Crafting Abstracts that Connect with your Audience [Date: TBA]

Past Years' Submissions

2022 Awards Announcement

The FGS and the GSA are happy to announce the following runners-up and top winner for this year’s Images of Research competition:

Top winner:

“Using quantum mechanics to develop a new generation of security ink” by Toni Sikkema, a Master’s student in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science.

Social Science, Humanities and Creative category

1st runner-up: “Self-Compassion: The Power of Being Kind to Our Bodies” by Benjamin Kim, a Master’s student in the Department of Counselling Psychology, Werklund School of Education.

2nd runner-up: “Women without a nation: (re)signifying asylum experience in Canadian cold lands” by Amanda Zanco, PhD Student in the Department of Communication, Film, and Media, Faculty of Arts.

3rd runner-up: “The Digital Journeys of the Hand” by Mohammad Moezzi, PhD Student in Environmental Design with the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

STEM category

1st runner-up: “Opening up new dimensions in the study of human faces” by Cassidy Da Silva, PhD Student from the department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Cumming School of Medicine.

2nd runner-up: “Stories in the sand: following Sable Island horses from life to death” by Sangwook Ahn, a PhD Student in Veterinary Medical Sciences in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

3rd runner-up: “Let Food Be Thy Medicine: Improving access to healthy foods for people with diabetes” by Saania Tariq, a Master’s student in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine

The Competition also hosted a People’s Choice Award competition on the FGS Facebook page. With 99 votes, our People’s Choice winner is “Opening up new dimensions in the study of human faces" by Cassidy Da Silva, PhD Student from the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Cumming School of Medicine.

Congratulations to the top winners of this year’s Images of Research Award!

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