Competition: 3D visualisation of complex data

  • Do you want to win £500 and showcase your talents to potential employers?
  • Do you have an interest in science or 3D data visualisation?
  • Register to enter our competition!  No firm commitment necessary at registration - the confirmation email will give details of how to submit your proposal (up to one page).
EPSRC and the Department of Physics at the University of York are sponsoring a competition to construct the best 3D visualisation of microorganisms. The competition is open to all students enrolled on a full-time degree programme at a UK higher education institution in the academic year 2016-17 (see terms and conditions at the bottom of this page).

What’s the challenge?
In our biophysics lab, we have built a high-speed holographic microscope for imaging microorganisms in 3D, particularly those implicated in disease transmission (e.g. malaria parasites, E. coli bacteria).  This microscope produces a lot of data, but we need new ways to visualise this information in order to make sense of it.  This will enable us to gain more understanding of how these microorganisms infect new hosts, which may in turn lead to new treatments.  

We’ve got some ideas about how to get started (along with some data) on our research pages:

You can see how we do things at the moment, and there are links to other websites where you can find software to try drawing the objects for yourself (we use the free POV-Ray package for creating images like those below).  

The Competition
If you have an idea for a new way of illustrating our data, please fill out the registration form using the link below.  Doing so does not commit you to submit anything!  We're primarily interested in making sure that the word is getting out, but if you check the consent box, we will make your details available to potential graduate recruiters.  We will not spam your email address, but will send an email reminder two weeks before the first round deadline.

First round: Participants will submit their ideas as a one-page proposal that might include sample pictures of how you would go about visualising our data (preferably in Word or .pdf format).   You will receive the email address for submission when you register for the competition at the link above.  We are keeping an open mind about the type of visualisation that you might use: for example, this could be a way of using computer graphics to draw a single image showing the shape and layout of the biological structures that we observe, or a series of images.  The best five proposals from the first round will win £50 in cash, and invited to participate in the second round.  Criteria for judging will be a combination of accuracy and aesthetic appeal.  The last day that we will accept submissions for the first round is Monday 19th December 2016.

Second round: The five participants will be invited to develop their ideas further with some help from our group to produce a final technology demonstration.  The eventual winner will receive a £500 cash prize, with smaller prizes for 2nd (£150) and 3rd (£100) place, as judged by a panel of experts.  The deadline for the second round will be in the summer of 2017.

(This competition is funded through EPSRC grant EP/N014731/1)

Terms and Conditions
  1. This competition is only open to students enrolled on a full-time degree programme at a UK higher education institution in the academic year 2016-17.
  2. Entrants must warrant that the material they are submitting is their own work.
  3. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  4. Copyright in all material submitted for this competition remains with the respective entrants. However, in consideration of their providing the Competition, each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to The University of York to feature any or all of the submitted images in any of their publications, their websites and/or in any promotional material connected to this competition.
  5. Personal details entered into the entry form may be provided to potential recruiters.  Entrants may opt out of this by checking the appropriate box on the entry form.