Competitions at Imperial

The Art of Research

The Art of Research (AoR) is a scientific image competition run by Imperial Innovations for staff and students at Imperial College London.

The competition is Innovations' way of celebrating the breadth and often unseen beauty of research undertaken by Imperial scientists. Scientists across the College are invited to submit images that represent their research findings, process, and context. Images can be those captured as part of research, as well and artistic interpretations of scientific concepts. 

Each year, a panel of judges from across the artistic and science communication community select between 10 and 15 submissions to be exhibited at Imperial College London.

Select images are offered the chance to have their images available for licensing on Quicktech, Innovations' online technology commercialisation platform.

Quicktech logo 


The Art of Research 2018 has now ended!

Thank you to everyone who participated. This competition would be possible without the creativity of the Imperial College London community.

What happens next

The shortlisted images have been selected and will be exhibited at the Imperial Festival, on 28-19th April.

Important information

The Final Exhibition

This year we're working with the Imperial Festival to hold the final exhibition at the Festival itself! This means that shortlisted entries will be displayed at the outreach event on the 28th and 29th of April to the visiting crowds. In 2017 more than 15,000 public and alumni visitors descended on Imperial’s South Kensington campus. That's 15,000 people admiring your art!

Find out more about this year's festival

The Prizes

Judges' Choice People's Choice
  • An Apple iPad
  • A Destek V4 smartphone VR Headset
  • A 3D Stereoscopic Lens for smartphones
  • A print of their winning image
  • A personalised certificate of recognition
  • A Destek V4 smartphone VR Headset
  • A 3D Stereoscopic Lens for smartphones
  • A print of their winning image
  • A personalised certificate of recognition
Enter now

Terms & Conditions

1. Terms of entry

(a) Entrants must read and abide by these terms and conditions (the “Terms and Conditions”). These Terms and Conditions are governed by the laws of England and Wales.

(b) By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Terms and Conditions, and warrants that their entry complies with the requirements set out in herein.

(c) Any entry found not to comply with the Terms and Conditions will be disqualified.

(d) The decision of Imperial Innovations on all matters relating to the Competition is final and binding.

2. How to enter

(a) The Competition is open to any member of staff or student of the College who is a UK resident. Overseas entries will not be considered.

(b) Entrants should submit their images (each being a “Competition Entry”) together with completed and signed registration and consent Form via email to:

(c) Each entrant may submit up to five Competition Entries together with a completed and signed registration and consent form per Competition Entry but can only win one prize.

(d) Imperial Innovations cannot be held responsible for submissions that do not arrive due to an entrant’s email security settings or restrictions placed by their Internet Service Provider.

3. What to enter

(a) Originality, creativity and innovation are central to the Competition and should be reflected in all Competition Entries.

(b) Winners may be exhibited in the College and so a high resolution image is preferable.  Imperial Innovations may contact an entrant to request resubmission of Competition Entry(ies) at higher quality resolution.

(c) Competition Entries may be edited, but the Competition Entry must be the original work of the entrant. All entrants are required to submit a form stating that the image or video is their own work.

4. What NOT to enter

(a) Images deemed by the judging panel to be of an offensive nature (these will be disqualified).

(b) Images that are not the work of the entrant.

(c) Images that have previously won other photography competitions and awards.

(d) Images that were submitted to the Art of Research competition in previous years.[EN1] 

5. Ethical standards 

Any breach of the below ethical standards will constitute a breach of the Terms and Conditions and result in disqualification:

(a) Entrants are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any national or international legislation, governing the country in which the image has been taken and in securing any relevant permits that may be required (which, in the case of human portraits, may include the subject’s permission), and which should be made available on request by the Imperial Innovations.

(b) If Imperial Innovations suspects that an image has been achieved through the use of illegal or unethical practices, the entry will be disqualified and Imperial Innovations reserves the right to report the entrant to the applicable authorities.

6. Judging the Competition

(a) All entries must be received by midnight on 23rd March2018.  Any entries received after this time will not be eligible for inclusion in the Competition.

(b) The judging panel will be appointed by Imperial Innovations and will include individuals engaged in art, photography and/or science communication.

(c) The panel will judge the Competition Entries on criteria including originality, creativity and innovation. Decisions of the judges are final and binding.

(d) All Competition Entries will be judged anonymously: names will not be provided with the Competition Entries until the shortlist is announced.

(e) Entrants whose Competition Entries have been shortlisted will be notified by email in the week commencing 16th April 2018 and Competition Entries may be displayed on social media.

(f) Shortlisted Competition Entries, as selected by the judging panel, will be exhibited at the Imperial Festival taking place on Saturday 28th April 2018 and Sunday 29th April 2018.

7. Competition prizes

(a) As part of the prize, winners may (subject to agreement by the College and/or copyright owners) have their winning Competition Entries:

(i) Displayed within the College;

(ii) Used within Marketing Materials for Imperial Innovations;

(iii) Promoted on Imperial Innovations’ Social Media and website;

(b) In addition, winners will receive the following prizes in the relevant category:

Judges’ Choice

  1. An Apple iPad
  2. A Destek V4 smartphone VR Headset
  3. A 3D Stereoscopic Lens for smartphones
  4. A print of their winning image
  5. A personalised certificate of recognition

People’s Choice

  1. A Destek V4 smartphone VR Headset
  2. A 3D Stereoscopic Lens for smartphones
  3. A print of their winning image
  4. A personalised certificate of recognition

8. Publicity

(a) All entrants agree to the use (subject to agreement by the College and/or copyright owners) of their Competition Entry and name for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity of Imperial Innovations and the Competition, and to display their Competition entry in College, without additional compensation.

9. Copyright and reproduction

(a) By entering the Competition, the entrant warrants that his/her Competition Entry(ies) is(are) his/her original work and do(es) not infringe the rights of any other party.

(b) By entering the Competition, the entrant acknowledges that ownership of copyright in the Competition Entries will be determined in accordance with College’s Intellectual Property Policy and Imperial Innovations and College may (subject to agreement by the College and/or copyright owners) reproduce, publish and communicate to the public by any means and exhibit their Competition Entry(ies) and copies of their Competition Entry(ies) in all media throughout the world in relation to the College and the Competition including but not limited to:

(i) inclusion within the College’s Websites, including within interactive elements; and

(ii) inclusion in promotional, press and marketing materials relating to the College and/or Competition.

(c) Competition Entries may be used by Imperial Innovations for the purpose of promotion from the date of publication of the Competition Entries on Imperial Innovations’ Instagram account.

10. Liability

(a) Proof of electronic submission of Competition Entries is not proof of receipt by Imperial Innovations.

(b) Imperial Innovations does not accept liability for the misuse of Competition Entries by and/or failure of any third party to comply with the Competition’s guidelines.

(c) Imperial Innovations does not accept any liability, to the fullest extent permitted by law, for any loss or damage suffered by any entrant in relation to the Competition and the use of any prize.

11. Data protection

(a) The personal data of entrants will be managed by Imperial Innovations in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998.

(b) Imperial Innovations will collect personal data about entrants from their Registration and Consent Form and as otherwise provided in order to administer the Competition and/or all publication and uses of the Competition Entries.

(c) Entrants may contact Imperial Innovations at any time to update their details.

12. Organiser's details

Imperial Innovations Limited

52 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2PG


Enter now
The 2018 Judging Panel

Brittonie Fletcher

Brittonie Fletcher is an artist, educator and currator. She exhibits internationally and teaches at a number of institutions across the UK (Royal College of Art, Stills Centre for Photography). She specialises in chemical photography and hybrid techniques with digital processing.

Susan Aldworth

Susan Aldworth is a visual artist who lives and works in London. She works in both print and time based media. She has a background in philosophy, and a strong interest in investigating the workings of the human mind, especially consciousness and our sense of self. Her research into the narratives of sleep during her recent residency at the University of York culminated in two exhibitions in York - The Dark Self at York St Mary’s and The Art of Sleep at Lotte Inch Gallery in June 2017.  Her work is held in many public and private collections including the V&A, the British Museum, The Fitzwilliam Museum, The Wellcome Collection Library and Williams College Museum of Contemporary Art, USA.  Aldworth is an associate lecturer on the Art & Science MA at Central Saint Martin’s, London.  She is currently working on a commission for a Sleep Disorders Centre in London, and is artist in residence at Newcastle University 2018 -2020. Aldworth is represented by TAG Fine Art, and is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and 4.

Aldworth has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally most recently The Dark Self at York ST Mary’s, Realisation at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and Susan Aldworth: The Portrait Anatomised at The National Portrait Gallery in London. Other significant exhibitions include Mapping the imagination, V&A, London, Reassembling the Self, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, Sleuthing the Mind, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, Brains: the mind as matter, Wellcome Collection, London, Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology, Science Museum, London, Between, Inigo Rooms, Somerset House, London, Images of the Mind Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden and Moravian Gallery, Brno, Landscapes of the Mind, Williams College Museum of Art, USA, and 6th International Kyoto Hanga Print Exhibition, Japan.

Peter Olson

Peter Olson is a research biologist in the Department of Life Sciences at the Natural History Museum who studies the patterns and genetic mechanisms of animal evolution, specialising on parasitic worms. Much of the work in his lab involves advanced imaging techniques that allow for the 3D reconstruction of gene expression in the body, and hence much of the primary data generated is photographic. He is the son of a professional artists and a founding member of the Arts & Science Interest Group at the NHM that provides an open forum for anything at the interface of these two disciplines. Images from his lab can currently be seen in the Images of Nature gallery at the NHM.

You can learn more about Peter's work at

Peter Gallivan

Peter works at the Royal Institution, managing the wide range of family activities on offer from the world-famous Christmas Lectures, to hands-on science workshops for children. The Royal Institution is an independent science education charity based in Mayfair. Founded in 1799, over the years it has been home to ground breaking scientists like Michael Faraday, Humphry Davy and William and Lawrence Bragg. From its beginning it has been a pioneer in science communication and opening the world of science to the public, a tradition it continues to excel in today. In his spare time, Peter is a passionate amateur photographer and hiker, spending as much time out of the city as possible!

Entries from AoR 2017

Art of Research 2017 Neil Dufton Winner AoR

By Neil Dufton
This image captures circulating white blood cells (leukocytes) moving from the blood stream into liver tissue. The liver contains two types of blood vessel that co-ordinate the trafficking of leukocytes; large vessels, in green, integrate with much smaller specialised capillaries called sinusoidal vessels, in red. The large round nuclei, in blue, of hepatocytes complete this composition. The image was captured by fluorescence microscopy and recolored in Photoshop.

Art of Research 2017 Zachary Savage

By Zachary Savage
An ibex in the Alps. Reflecting on Imperial College’s research efforts in conservation and biodiversity.

Art of Research 2017 Franky Bedoya-Lora and Isaac Holmes-Gentle AoR

By Franky Bedoya-Lora and Isaac Holmes-Gentle 
Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of nano-structured hematite (iron oxide). This material is used as photo-absorber to transform sunlight and water into oxygen and hydrogen (solar fuel) which is a renewable source of energy. This process is commonly known as artificial photosynthesis or water splitting.

Art of Research 2017 Radu Cimpeanu AoR

By Radu Cimpeanu
A snapshot of a three-dimensional direct numerical simulation of a 1 mm (in diameter) water drop impacting a liquid surface at a velocity of 10 m/s and at an angle of incidence of 60°. The so-called corona splash is visible (the impacting drop continues to travel in the crater within) and of primary interest are the size and distribution of the droplets resulting from the impact, e.g. in the case of printing applications or when studying rainfall on regions where oil spills have occurred. The liquids have been coloured in blue and the background in orange in order to reflect the similarity between the studied small scale structure and a typical large ocean wave during a sunset. Details of the computational mesh have also been added, while re-impingement events - small drops hitting the water surface near the main impact site - can be distinguished. The original image is unmodified, with only chromatic variations (background and liquid colours) employed to render the scene more visually powerful.

Entries from AoR 2016

Art of Research 2016 Arkhat Abzhanov Winner AoR

By Arkhat Abzhanov
Image of an Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) embryo dissected from an egg. Lombs, long-snout and tail are visible.

Art of Research 2016 Benedicte Galmiche AoR

By Benedicte Galmiche
This picture has been taken using an infrared (IR) camera. It represents IR radiation from a lubricated contact between a steel ball and a sapphire surface (false colours indicate signal intensity). Fluid passes through the contact from top to bottom and a fluid cavitation pattern is clearly visible in the outlet region.

Art of Research 2016 Tyler Sorensen AoR

By Tyler Sorensen
These images represent the intersection of two lines of research into testing graphics processing platforms. The vortex-like background images and the ponies should all appear identical to those shown in the top left. However, bugs in the graphics pipeline cause variations in rendering of the vortex, and weak memory issues cause deterioration of the ponies to varying degrees. The result image is a by-product of our research into identifying such bugs automatically.

Art of Research 2016 Christopher Micklem AoR

By Christopher Micklem
A hand drawing, done by stippling with pen to depict early-stage conjoined chick (Gallus gal/us) triplet embryos that I encountered while researching axis development in amniotes.

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