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The Abstract

Picture This: Announcing NC State’s Second Annual Research Image Contest

"Glowing Ant," by Clint Penick, a postdoctoral researcher at NC State. Click for more information.

Images can capture the imagination, and research images have the power to explain complex concepts, offer insights into the research process and draw viewers in to the power and beauty of science, mathematics and engineering.

Last year, the Graduate School, University Communications and the College of Sciences sponsored the first ever NC State Research Image Contest, open only to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. This year, the contest has expanded to include faculty and staff as well, thanks to sponsorship by the university’s Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED). Also new this year, photography and microscopy have been split into separate categories to encourage more images from all research disciplines.

Contestants can submit images in four categories:

  • Photography (including photos of field work): submissions should be in a JPEG format and must be high-resolution.
  • Microscopy: submissions should be in a JPEG format and must be high-resolution.
  • Graphics and illustration: submissions can be in JPEG, TIF, GIF or PDF formats and must be high-resolution.
  • Video and interactive: submissions can be no longer than two minutes. Shorter is better, and there should be an emphasis on visual presentation rather than narration. Submissions can be in MP4 or WMV formats. If the submission is already available online, contestants can submit a URL to the relevant page.

All images should be original, well-executed, and effective at communicating information to the audience. See below for more details.

Cash prizes are provided by the Graduate School and ORIED. In the graduate student/ postdoctoral division, prizes are $250 for first place and $100 for second place in each category. Prizes in the faculty/staff division are also $250 for first place and $100 for second place in each category.

This year, entries must be submitted online here. Submissions are due no later than June 15, 2017.

Each submission must include a caption of no more than 150 words that describes the work. Each submission must also include a one- to two-sentence explanation of why the work may be important for North Carolina, the United States or the world.

Submissions from a laboratory or team of researchers must designate a single point of contact on the form.

Individuals may submit multiple entries, but each entry must be submitted separately.

By submitting a photograph, image, graphic, or video (collectively the “work”) contestants hereby agree to the following:

  • You certify and warrant that the work is your own original creative work and does not violate or infringe the copyright or other proprietary or intellectual property rights of others.
  • You retain all copyright and equivalent rights but grant permission for North Carolina State University to use, reproduce, distribute, and/or release the work to the public in any manner and in any medium without payment of any fee, and in perpetuity.
  • North Carolina State University reserves the right to use contestants’ names and works for educational publicity and/or promotional purposes, including website or exhibition of winning entries. You understand that the works will be shared with reporters covering these awards and for promotion of the competition itself. You hereby give North Carolina State University nonexclusive rights to use your name, likenesses, quotes and submissions for educational publicity and/or promotional purposes. This includes but is not limited to website display, print materials and exhibits.
  • You hereby agree to indemnify North Carolina State University, its trustees, officers, agents, and employees, from any and all claims, demands, and liabilities (including attorneys’ fees) incurred as a result of a final judgment or settlement or any claim or legal proceeding arising out of or resulting from a breach or claimed breach of the foregoing representations and warranties.

Winners will be announced Aug. 15, 2017. More information is available at Anyone with questions about the contest can contact Matt Shipman at

Need some inspiration? Check out the winning entries from last year’s contest. Winning images from the 2016 Research Image Contest will be recognized at a Coffee and Viz event in Hunt Library on Feb. 17. The images will also be on display at Hunt, using the library’s video walls.