The competition is devoted exclusively to images of scientific research, in all fields of study, and is open to all individuals or groups who carry out research in the public or private sectors.

Competition goals

  • Showcase images of Canadian research;
  • Foster interest in science and scientific curiosity in all audiences;
  • Build a database of scientific images of Canadian research; and
  • Contribute to the advancement of knowledge and to new uses of scientific images.

Submission deadline
Acceptable images
Description to be included with the image
Jury evaluation criteria
Awards and recognition
Publication rights and copyright
Contestant agreement
Changes to or cancellation of the competition
For more information


In October 2015, the NSERC and Acfas agreed to jointly organize the French segment of the competition La preuve par l’image. NSERC has also agreed to organize an English segment of the competition, Science Exposed, for English-speaking researchers.  Both organizations will work together to share the winning images with all Canadians. The competition rules are described below.


Contestants can apply individually or as a group. They must be involved in research either in the public or private sector.

Eligible contestants must fit into any of the following categories:

  • Student researchers at the Master's or doctoral level, or postdoctoral researchers.
  • Research professors in a postsecondary institution or any other individual conducting research in a college, polytechnic, or university setting.
  • Researchers in a public or private research centre.

Contestants must be either Canadian citizens, permanent resident of Canada or foreign students living in Canada and studying in a Canadian institution. For a group submission, the group leader and the majority of team members must meet one of these two criteria.

The contestant's institution must be based in Canada. For a group submission, the group leader and the majority of group members must meet this criterion.

Each contestant can submit only one image to the competition, either to the French competition, La preuve par l'image, or to the English competition, Science Exposed. Multiple submissions can be submitted from the same institution.

Contestants whose image is not selected as one of the top 20 images in either the French competition or the English competition may re-submit it during another competition.

Contestants submitting images to the French competition must be able to communicate in French, both in writing and orally.

Contestants submitting images to the English competition must be able to communicate in English, both in writing and orally.

Submission deadline

All images must be submitted to the 2019 competition by no later than Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. (ET).

When your submission has successfully uploaded, you will be redirected to a "Thank you" page, with a time code. Please retain this time-code information for your records.

Acceptable images

  • All types of image technologies can be used: photographs using visible light or other spectra, optical or electronic instruments, computer-generated images, models, drawings, diagrams, graphs, etc.
  • Contestants must have created the images in the context of their research. Images must be directly related to the contestant's research.
  • Images can relate to any field of study: natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities, or health sciences, with the exception of images from the arts, including visual arts, media arts, and research/creation.
  • Images may be enhanced or modified, but changes to the image must not alter its meaning. In order to clarify or highlight elements of the image, colorization and graphic processing of images using software such as Photoshop© are permitted to clarify or accenture the content, but these changes must not misrepresent the content.
  • File size must not exceed 99 megabytes; depending on the speed of your internet connection, the upload time may vary, particularly for larger files.
  • Contestants must submit the image in its original format, not in a compressed file.
  • The image can be submitted in one of three file formats: png., tiff., or jpg.

Description to be included with the image

Images must be submitted with a three-part description: a catchy title, a plain-language explanation of the research presented in the image, and a description of the techniques/ technologies used to create the image. The three texts must be written in the language of the competition to which contestants submit their image, either La prevue par l'image or Science Exposed. The texts must be submitted online along with the image.

1. Catchy title

  • Maximum of 60 characters, including spaces

2. Plain-language explanation of the research

  • 600 to 900 characters, including spaces
  • Describes what is seen on the image
  • Explains your research and highlights the role of the image in the research carried out
  • Gives concrete applications to the research
  • Use plain language suitable for an adult and scientifically curious audience of non-experts in the field of study.

3. Description of techniques/technologies used to create the image and of any changes made to the image, if applicable

  • Maximum of 300 characters, including spaces
  • Example: We used single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and the image was colorized.

4. Curriculum Vitae:

  • Upload your CV as a PDF document

Follow the steps below to complete your submission:

  • Answer each of the fields and upload your image.
    • Under the "Contest Information" section, choose either La preuve par l'image or Science Exposed.
  • When your submission has successfully uploaded, you will see a green "Thank you" screen with a time code. Retain this time code for your records.
  • On the same form, choose "My CV" in the drop-down menu under the "Content Information" section.
  • Upload your CV as a PDF document.
  • A new confirmation message will appear at the top of the form indicating that your CV has successfully uploaded. Retain the time and date for your records.

Jury evaluation criteria

The juries of the French competition, La preuve par l'image, and the English competition, Science Exposed, will each select 20 finalists from the images received in each of the competitions. These finalist images from the annual competitions will be showcased. Among the 20 finalists, cash prizes will be awarded.

The winning images will be chosen by a jury of experts in research and culture.

If the number of entries is too large, NSERC and Acfas may conduct a pre-selection screening according to the following two criteria:

  • Primary criterion: Visual quality of the image
    • Aesthetic quality, explanatory value, and emotional effects.
  • Secondary criterion: Illustration of the research
    • Image's effectiveness in illustrating the research; and
    • The research story told by the image.

Awards and recognition

The prize-winners and the finalists must agree to participate in various activities to discuss their images.

French competition, La preuve par l'image
The 20 finalists of the French competition will be revealed during the exhibition's opening ceremony, organized as part of the Acfas congress in May. The three jury prizes and the people's choice award will be awarded during the Acfas annual gala in October.

  • Jury prize of $2,000 – sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Jury prize of $2,000 – sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Jury prize of $2,000 – sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • People's choice award of $2,000 – sponsored by the TV show Découverte on ICI Radio Canada

English competition, Science Exposed
The 20 finalists of the English competition will be revealed in May on NSERC's website and social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube).

  • Jury prize of $2,000
  • Jury prize of $2,000
  • Jury prize of $2,000
  • People's choice award of $2,000

Publication rights and copyright

  • Contestants or their institution must be the creator of the image, own all rights to the image, and obtain permission of any people appearing in the image, if applicable.
  • By submitting an image to the competition, contestants agree that NSERC and Acfas are not responsible for any infringements of copyright that could arise in Canada or for any litigation that may ensue from these infringements.
  • NSERC and Acfas reserve the right to publish the competition's pre-selected images and winning images in any media and in any format, to promote the competition, finalists, winners or research.
  • NSERC and Acfas agree to acknowledge the image's creator in all publications and presentations of the image.
  • The 20 finalists from the francophone segment of the competition will be asked to sign a copyright licence.

Contestant agreement

  • By submitting an image to the competition, contestants agree to respect the competition's official rules.
  • All decisions of competition organizers about any aspect of the competition, including eligibility or disqualification of applications forms, comments or images are final and cannot be appealed.
  • By completing an application form, and if they are selected as a finalist, contestants consent to the use, reproduction, publication, transmission and dissemination of the image, their name, and information relating to the award by the competition organizers and/or partners, without compensation, in any publications or promotional material, to promote the competition, finalists, winners or research.
  • The organizers and their respective employees, agents, representatives, successors and delegates (collectively referred to as "delegated individuals") are not responsible for damages of any kind resulting directly or indirectly from contestants' participation or attempts to participate in the competition.

Changes to or cancellation of the competition

  • NSERC and Acfas reserve the right to make changes to the competition at any time without prior notice, to temporarily interrupt the competition, or to cancel the competition without justifying or being in any way accountable for this decision. No damages or compensation may be claimed.

For more information

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