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The Science Coalition (TSC), a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of more than 50 research universities, is hosting a video challenge for students like you to tell us your stories! The power of a great story can change the world. We need your help to spread the word about why science matters. Help us remind Congress that now is the time to invest in science, that now is the time to Fund it Forward!

First place winners will receive $1,000, second place winners will receive $750, and third place winners will receive $500. Graduate and undergraduate submissions will be judged separately. The winner of the People’s Choice Award, which is open to both graduates and undergraduates, will receive $500.

How to Enter

The Challenge:

Create a 60 – 90 second video responding to this challenge.

Group entries must have a designated team leader for communications about technical and administrative issues and, where applicable, for finalist and winner notification.

There are no restrictions about how you make your video – you can talk to the camera, use props, incorporate animations, etc. The goal is to get creative.

Be sure to include the following elements in your video:

1. Who you are, and the institution/university at which you study/work.

2. Insert your example of interesting research and how it benefits the world now and/or could benefit the world in the future. The example can be from your own research or others’ research.

3. Explain why continued federal support for fundamental research is critical to our nation’s future. In other words, why should Congress “Fund it Forward?”


Rules & Regulations

All contestants are required to review these rules and guidelines before entering the competition. Your submission will be deemed as your acknowledgment and acceptance of these rules and guidelines. Submissions that do not comply with the following rules and guidelines will be disqualified. TSC is not under any obligation to respond to any claims or inquiries regarding contest results. TSC has the final say on any point not outlined in the entry rules.

  • Video entries should be no shorter than 60 seconds and no longer than 90 seconds in length.
  • TSC reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process, the operation of the contest, People’s Choice Award voting, or the TSC website.
  • One submission per individual/team. If you submit as an individual, you cannot also submit as part of another team and vice versa.
  • Submissions must be original work of the team or individual, must not infringe on third parties’ rights, must be suitable for public screening, and cannot be obscene. Submissions may not contain defamatory statements about any person, organization, or entity and may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, organization, or entity. Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by the judging panel, at its sole discretion, will be disqualified and removed by TSC.
  • Do not include information in your video about research that is pre-publication or otherwise confidential. Follow your institution’s research ethics rules at all times.
  • Only one vote per person is allowed for People’s Choice Voting. Public voting on the finalist videos will be open from November 7 through November 14, 2022.


General Terms and Conditions

Participants retain rights to their videos, but by submitting an entry, the entrant grants to TSC a nonexclusive, irrevocable license to copy, reproduce, display, or distribute the entry, and to make derivative works based upon the entry or a substantial portion of the entry without attribution or prior permission.


If an insufficient number of qualified entries are received, TSC reserves the right to modify or cancel the contest prior to announcing the winners.


Judges’ decisions will be deemed final and no appeal or reconsideration will be permitted.


All contestants agree that they, their heirs and estates, shall hold harmless all employees of TSC and Forbes Tate Partners for any and all injuries and/or claims arising from participation in this contest. By submitting an entry, all entrants warrant that they have obtained consent from each person who appears, whose likeness appears, or whose voice is heard in their video entries.


Finalists will be notified by email or phone on or about November 22, 2021, and shall be required to complete an affidavit or declaration of eligibility/liability release, except where prohibited, and such other documents as may be required by TSC to protect its right to air and use the finalist videos in part or in whole.


Winners will be notified by email or phone on or about December 8, 2022, and shall be required to complete an affidavit or declaration of eligibility/liability release and, except where prohibited, a publicity release and such other documents as may be required by TSC to protect its right to air and use the winning entry. Required documents must be signed and received within seven (7) days of the date printed on the winner notification. Failure to comply may result in forfeiture of extended recognition and national distribution and selection of the next highest rated entrant as the focus. If a winner cannot be contacted within five (5) calendar days of the first notification attempt, if notification is returned as undeliverable, if winner rejects notification, or, in the event of noncompliance with these contest rules and guidelines, winner status will be forfeited and selection of the next highest score entrant as the winner will occur.


Do not include other videos or music in your video without permission. By submitting an entry, each entrant warrants he or she is the sole author and copyright owner of the entry or has permission (via license or otherwise) to use or incorporate those entry portions authored or owned by third parties. While the use of images, music, and other works in the public domain may be incorporated into entries, materials that infringe on the rights of any third party may not be used.


Winners are responsible for all taxes or other fees connected with the prize received.


Privacy Policy: TSC will not share your contact information with third parties without your permission.

Video Specifications

1. The video file name should be: Institution_LastName_FirstName of the individual submitting or the team leader, as appropriate.

2. Video entries should be no shorter than 60 seconds and no longer than 90 seconds in length. Videos outside of this range will not be eligible for consideration.

3. Videos should be filmed & edited in high resolution (HD 1280×720 or higher) format.

4. The challenge opens on September 5, 2023.

5. Submit your video below by October 20, 2023.

Tips for making good videos

Videos can be recorded on something as simple as a phone camera or with other digital video equipment and edited with freely available software, such as those listed here. Tips for making good videos can be found herehere, and here.

Judging Criteria

Participants will be evaluated based on their messaging and communication, creativity, and video and editing quality. Below is a sample rubric judges will use to evaluate each submission.


Judges will consist of students, university government relations professionals, and university communications professionals.

Past Winners


1st Place – Mohamed Chakkour and team, Wayne State University (2023)

2nd Place – Vivian Li, Penn State University (2023)

3rd Place – Claire Radtke, Marquette University (2023)

Mea O. Songco-Casey, University of Oregon (2022)

1st Place – Molly McIlquham, Washington State University (2021)

2nd Place – Maria Isabel da Silva, Penn State University (2021)

3rd Place – Adam Knier, Marquette University (2021)

1st Place – Amanpreet Bhogal, Aneesh Hehr, and Team, Wayne State University (2020)

2nd Place – Julia Mouat, UC Davis (2020)

3rd Place – Eliza Oldach, UC Davis (2020)

1st Place – Sumit Kar, University of Nebraska Medical Center (2019)

2nd Place – Max Levy, University of Colorado Boulder (2019)

3rd Place and People’s Choice Award Winner – Bryan Keller, Florida State University (2019)


1st Place – Sirena Pearl, Virginia Commonwealth University (2023)

2nd Place – Jacob Klein, Wayne State University (2023)

3rd Place – Jay Elias, Wayne State University (2023)

1st Place – Laura Kapolka, University of Michigan (2021)

2nd Place – Alonso Cruz, University of Oregon (2021)

3rd Place – Logan Coomes and team, Penn State University (2021)

1st Place – Shreya Desai, Wayne State University (2020)

2nd Place – Madeline Rose Frey, UC Davis (2020)

3rd Place – Cassidy Prince, Penn State University (2020)

1st Place – Lillie Xi Max Williams, Washington State University (2019)

2nd Place – Alissa Wuorinen, Marquette University (2019)

Frequently Asked Questions

+- What are the prizes?

A: First place winners will receive $1,000, second place winners will receive $750, and third place winners will receive $500. Graduate and undergraduate students will be judged separately. The winner of the People's Choice Award, which is open to both graduates and undergraduates, will receive $500.

+- What if my university/institution is not a member of The Science Coalition? Am I still eligible to participate?

A: Only those students who are enrolled at, or affiliated with, TSC member institutions are eligible for the cash prizes. Information about becoming a TSC member and a current list of TSC member institutions can be found here.

+- Do I have to talk about my own research in the video or can I highlight research done by others?

A: Participants can talk about their own or others’ scientific research in their video. TSC is most interested in hearing about student research and the positive impact it could have in the future, but students can talk about anyone’s research as long as it is in the public domain or they have permission from the researcher(s) doing the work. Do not include information in your video about research that is confidential.

+- Do I have to be a science or engineering major to participate?

A: No. Students from all majors and disciplines are welcome to participate. If you yourself are not doing research to share in the video, you can tell a story about research that was conducted in the past and had an impact on the world or, you can pair up with another student(s) who is doing research and tell their story.

+- How will the videos be used?

A: Winning videos will be featured on TSC’s website and social media accounts. TSC will share the finalist videos with congressional staff from the states and districts of the winners. TSC may also use clips from some or all of the finalist videos to create a longer video emphasizing the importance of federal funding for research.

+- Are these videos intended to be pitches for grant funding?

A: No. The goals of the video are to share a story about exciting or interesting research and to advocate for federal support for research in general.

+- What is meant by “team” for the purposes of the contest?

A: Participating as a team is optional, but not required. When registering for the contest, team leaders may list a number of team members for acknowledgment, as well as a team name or organization name. All team members must satisfy the Eligibility Criteria. There is no limit to the size of your team, but you will only be able to list the names of up to 10 individuals in the online submission form. If you wish to submit on behalf of a larger team (for example, a larger student group or club), simply cite the name of the group in the entry form. Every entry must identify a single lead contact through whom TSC will communicate.

+- If I submit as an individual, can I also join a team and submit another video as part of a team?

A: No. Individuals may only submit one entry whether it is individually or as part of a team.

+- I don’t know who funded the research I’m talking about in the video. How can I find out?

A: Including acknowledgement of the funder of the research is highly recommended, but if you can’t figure it out, you should still submit a video. The best person to ask is the professor or researcher who is overseeing the research. Common federal funding agencies include: the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and more. Research is also funded by philanthropy, universities, or other private entities.

+- Once I submit my video, can I revise it or replace it with another video prior to the contest deadline?

A: Yes, you may make changes to your submission up until the deadline. Any changes after the deadline will not be accepted.

+- Who is the audience for the videos?

A: Members of Congress and the public are the primary audience. We will share the winning videos with members of Congress and their staffs. Tell them a story about why research is important for our future.

+- If the research was done off-campus, can it still be included in the video?

A: Yes, if the research was done off campus, but the video is being made by a student at a TSC member institution, it is eligible.

+- Can a video that placed first, second, or third, also win the People’s Choice Award?

A: Yes.

+- Can I get outside help on filming and editing, or does this need to be done by team members?

A: Videos should be primarily filmed and edited by team members (students), but making use of university video resources and expertise is allowed.

+- Can I vote for (or solicit votes for) my videos if I’m chosen as a finalist?

A: Yes! If you are a finalist, spread the word! Ask everyone you know to vote for your video. You can also vote for your own video. Please note, one vote per person.

+- What’s the timeline?

A: Video submissions are due by 11:59PM PST on October 20, 2023. Late submissions will not be considered. Finalists will be announced on or around November 6, 2023. Public choice voting takes place between November 6 and November 13, 2023. Winners will be announced on or around December 14, 2023.

+- I’ve never made a video before, where do I start?

A: Videos can be created on devices as simple as a smart phone and free video editing software, or with more sophisticated equipment and software that might be available from your institution. Many institutions have video resources available to students. Consult with your university’s video department staff for additional advice. (See also the links in “Tips for Making Good Videos.”)

+- Our student team has both undergraduate and graduate students. Should I check “Undergraduate student(s)” or “Graduate student(s)” on the submission form?

A: If you are a team comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students, please select “Graduate Student(s).”