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Image of Research - UR Edition

Image of Research Competition - UR Edition!

There is also an Image of Research competition for Illinois graduate students!

The Image of Research is a multidisciplinary competition celebrating the diversity and breadth of undergraduate student research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All undergraduate students are invited to submit entries consisting of an image and brief text that articulates how the image relates to the research. Entries will be judged by a multidisciplinary panel for:

  • Connection between image narrative and research
  • Originality
  • Visual Impact

The Image of Research at Illinois was inspired by the Image of Research competition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Examples of winning entries at UIC:

  • “Threshold” by Joshua Albers, New Media Arts
  • “Crystals: Clarity in Refraction” by Akshay Pandey, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
  • “Ileum Skyline” by Mark Lloyd, Biological Sciences
  • “A Nanoscale Forest Seen Through a Big Lens” by Khairi Reda, Computer Sciences


First prize: $300
Second prize: $200
Plus up to two honorable mentions.
  • Awards will be presented at the 7th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 17th, 2014 at the Illini Union.
  • All images will be professionally printed and displayed at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. 
  • All images submitted will be included in an online exhibit hosted by the University Library.

Requirements and deadlines

Entries must be submitted by undergraduate students who are currently enrolled and in good academic standing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Each person may only submit one entry. Each submission should include a faculty sponsor and students are responsible for submitting their own work. 

The entrant must be principal creator of image. Entrants are responsible for ensuring that incorporation of images or material that are under copyright by a third party either falls under fair use or that relevant permissions have been sought, that no copyright has been infringed, and that any necessary release forms have been signed.

Submissions will be accepted from March 12, 2014 - April 10, 2014

Please include a title of less than 250 characters and a 100-200 word description of the image and its connection to the research.

Please provide the best quality image that you can. This means an image preferably in the .tiff or .png format that has a high pixels per inch (300 or higher is best) and that would be suitable to be printed and framed if chosen as a semi-finalist. Please contact the Scholarly Commons if you have any questions: sc@library.illinois.edu

Submission Process

Entries must be submitted through completing this form: https://illinois.edu/sb/sec/1445728

Judging Criteria

A panel of judges will evaluate submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Connection between image, narrative, and research
  • Originality
  • Visual Impact

The judges for 2014 are:

  • Karen Rodriguez'G, Office of Undergraduate Research
  • Sarah Christensen, Visual Resources Curator, University Library
  • Elizabeth Brown, Graduate Assistant, GSLIS


1. To clarify, should images be original images we have taken or created? Or are we allowed to use pre-existing images?

Your submission should be an image you have taken or created. You could use pre-existing images in the creation of the new image if the use would be covered under fair use (see http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/files/2009/10/fairusechecklist.pdf) or you have permission to reuse the image. However, you cannot submit an image created by someone else as your submission.

2. Can we combine two separate images of ours and turn it into an illustration which can better convey the meaning of our research? Because the competition does not say "photo of research" but instead, it is titled as "image of research." So I figured that an illustration that combines multiple images of ours may be acceptable as well?

Yes, you may combine two separate images into a single one that best represents your research. We are definitely interested in seeing creative work like this.

3. Should I own any research in order to compete? Or do I just create any random image (with regards to research), and explain how the image connect into the research?

The Image of Research competition is meant to give you an opportunity to create an image that represents your research. This might mean you actually take a photograph that you feel represents your research, or create some other type of image that represents your research. This can be a direct representation of your research or a more abstract representation.

4. Should I name the faculty member I am working with as a contributor? 

Yes! You should definitely acknowledge the faculty you worked with on your project as a contributor to your submission. You should also ask them to be the faculty sponsor of your submission!

Questions? Contact us at sc@library.illinois.edu

The Image of Research is organized by the Scholarly Commons of the University Library and the Office of Undergraduate Research and is supported by a generous gift to the Scholarly Commons from the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.