Nature Awards competition aimed at enhancing scientific communication through video announces its first winners


Science in Shorts, the new competition from Nature Awards and Springer Nature in partnership with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has announced its first winners, with the Top Ten being announced at the Curious2022 – Future Insight™ conference. The announcement was followed by a public vote to decide the ‘Curious2022 Favorite’ from among this year’s winners. Pavel Dolezal from Charles University came out on top for his video ‘Iron’s will’ which explored how iron in the body is involved in a huge number of essential biological processes.

Enabling researchers to be able to communicate their work, in an easy way to the general public, is key to increasing understanding and supporting awareness of developments in science. Science in Shorts was launched with the aim of giving researchers a new platform in which to show what they do, how they do it and why it matters to society, in a digestible way to support engagement and scientific communication within the widest possible audience.

Speaking on the competition, Richard Hughes, VP Publishing, Nature said: “Today’s community accesses their information through a range of different tools and mediums. The effective communication of science should be no different. Too often complex, but impactful, research can be lost as researchers do not have access to the tools, skills or resources to help them communicate their work in a clear, simple way for the greater public to engage with. Science in Shorts aims to meet that challenge.

“As a global publisher we are committed to supporting researchers in making academic discoveries accessible and discoverable. This competition is another example of the ways in which we are reaching new audiences to demonstrate the day to day impact and value of science on the world around us, in an exciting and engaging way.”

Applicants each produced a 60 second video which were presented to the panel editors, reporters, filmmakers, researchers and communications specialists from across the Nature Portfolio. From over 100 entries, ten finalists were selected – each winning a prize of €5,000 – with their videos premiering at the Curious2022 – Future Insight™ conference. From those ten winning entries, a public vote decided which would have the added accolade of being named ‘Curious2022 Favorite’.

Dr. Ulrich Betz, Vice President Innovation, Merck said: “Making the results of scientific studies are widely available and consumable with professional videos featuring the authors themselves is a new and highly attractive concept. As we have just seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is vital that we further boost public enthusiasm for science across society to help spread scientific knowledge.”

Alongside Pavel Dolezal, the finalists were:

  • ‘A power hungry killer’ – Alex van der Starre, Cas Boshoven, Felix Evers, Julie Verhoef, Nick Proellochs and Taco Kooij from the Radboud University Medical Center on why the malaria parasite is deadly for humans but not mosquitos.
  • ‘Crumpled sheets’ – Joint research from Jovana Andrejavic and Chris Rycroft, Team Crumple at Harvard University on crumpling dynamics.
  • ‘Disorderly conduct in space’ – Gily Ginosar from the Weizmann Institute of Science using bats to find out how the brain builds a changing 3D image of the world as we move through it.
  • ‘Don’t be alarmed’ – Eleanor Jenkins, Filippo Macchi and Elena Magnani for the Kirsten Sadler Edepli Lab Team at NYU Abu Dhabi on the regeneration of the liver – how it knows when to repair and what keeps it from continually growing.
  • ‘Extreme violence and snow’ – Samuele Ronchini from the Gran Sasso Science Institute analysing and interpreting gamma-ray bursts.
  • ‘Now you see me’ – Ahmed Dorrah and Xinghui Yin, aka The Metasurfers from Harvard University showcase their research on nanofabrication, structured light, and flat optics (also known as metasurfaces).
  • ‘Out on a limb’ – Luke Lythgoe for the Tree of Life team at The Wellcome Sanger Institute debunking the idea that humans are the peak of genome complexity.
  • ‘Salmonella and me’ – Emma Werner from Cambridge University on cell-autonomous immunity against bacteria and how the ubiquitin system targets intracellular bacteria.
  • ‘Stick with me, kid’ – Amy Elliott for ORNL Binder Jet Team at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the 3D printing of the materials used to make larger 3D prints.

The videos of each finalist have been made available to view on nature.com and YouTube. More information on Science in Shorts is available on the website here.

Science in Shorts sits alongside Springer Nature’s wider suite of awards, which include platforms to support researchers in communicating the impact of their research. More on these can be found here.

Note to Editors

Videos from a selection of Science in Shorts applicants are available on the Science in Shorts Library here.

About Nature Portfolio

Nature Portfolio is a range of high-quality products and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences — including journals, databases and researcher services — dedicated to serving the scientific community.

Nature (founded in 1869) is the leading, international weekly journal of science. Nature Portfolio also publishes a range of Nature-branded subscription journals, the leading open access multidisciplinary journal Nature Communications, other open access journals including Scientific Reports, and a range of Nature Partner Journals published in partnership with institutions and societies. Together, these journals publish some of the world’s most significant scientific discoveries.

Online, nature.com provides over nine million unique visitors per month with Nature Research content, including news and comment from Nature, and the leading scientific jobs board, Nature Careers. Nature Portfolio also offers a range of researcher services, including online and in-person training and expert language and editing services. For more information, please visit nature.com and follow @nresearchnews. Nature Portfolio is part of Springer Nature.

About Springer Nature

For over 180 years Springer Nature has been advancing discovery by providing the best possible service to the whole research community. We help researchers uncover new ideas, make sure all the research we publish is significant, robust and stands up to objective scrutiny, that it reaches all relevant audiences in the best possible format, and can be discovered, accessed, used, re-used and shared. We support librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data; and provide quality publishing support to societies.

As a research publisher, Springer Nature is home to trusted brands including Springer, Nature Portfolio, BMC, Palgrave Macmillan and Scientific American. For more information, please visit springernature.com and @SpringerNature

About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 58,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enable the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of €19.7 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.

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