UPenn BPC Science Writing Contest


Biomedical research is about innovation, creative problem solving, and complex ideas. Findings in biomedical research can have important implications for human disease and health. However, sometimes these complex ideas can get lost in translation. How do we convey recent developments in biomedical research to a sophisticated lay audience?

Your task: Writing for a sophisticated lay audience, describe a recent finding in biomedical research that’s relevant and interesting in today’s world. The article should describe not only the new finding, but its background, and what makes it important for human health. Articles will be judged on scientific accuracy and citation of appropriate research, as well as an attention-grabbing title and engaging style that a lay reader can appreciate. Entries are limited to no more than 8,000 characters including spaces and must cite at least one scientific journal article. Entries are limited to UPenn-affiliated Biomedical Postdoctoral Program (BPP) biomedical postdocs. See detailed entry instructions below.

BPC Science Writing Contest Rules:

  • Respond to the prompt above; describe a recent finding in biomedical research, its background, and what makes it important for human health.
  • Entry must be no more than 8,000 characters including spaces, and not including Title and References.
  • Must include Title.
  • Must include at least one scientific journal article citation in a References section.
  • Entrants must be a current Penn Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs (BPP) postdoctoral fellow with valid UPenn-affiliated (e.g. Med, CHOP, Vet, Wistar, Monell) email address.
  • Entries will be judged on scientific accuracy, citation of appropriate research, engaging title, and article content (coherent storyline, addresses background and limitations, describes relevance to human health). Articles should describe scientific research; they should not be opinion pieces or focus on topics such as science policy, career issues, etc.

Entry Instructions:

  • Entries are due September 1, 2015, 11 p.m. EST.
  • Entries should be submitted at the following link: http://goo.gl/forms/ZIAA7jjm1e
  • If you have questions, please email BPC dot Newsletters at gmail dot com.


  • 1st Prize: $200
  • 2nd Prize: $50
  • 3rd Prize: $50
  • Winning entries will be featured in a Special Issue of the BPC Newsletter, and winners will be recognized at the UPenn Biomedical Research Symposium in October 2015.

For examples of scientific writing geared toward the sophisticated lay reader, take a look at the links below.


Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden. By Carl Zimmer.


Evolution Right Under Our Noses. By Carl Zimmer.


Diet and Nutrition is More Complex Than a Simple Sugar. By Bethany Brookshire.


Ebola and the Vast Viral Universe. By Natalie Angier.


Melatonin alterations in Huntington’s disease help explain trouble with sleep. By Leora Fox.


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