The Queer Science Competition (QSC) is being run by PRISM Exeter

Students are set to help uncover some of the ground-breaking and revolutionary work from the world of science, carried out by lesser-known members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

A competition has been launched for students from across the South West region to research and celebrate the lives and work of LGBTQIA+ scientists, engineers, mathematicians, technologists and medics.

The competition, which is open to secondary school, college and university students aged 11 and over, is launched on February 1st 2024 to coincide with LGBT+ History Month, which has the theme of #UnderTheScope this year.

Entrants are asked to research their own “unsung” LGBTQIA+ heroes from the world of STEMM and submit either a short video or written essay online.

The winning entry will receive a cash prize of £100 and two runners-up will receive £50 awards.

In partnership with the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the highest ranked entry championing a medical professional will be transformed into a poster that will be displayed in the Trust’s hospitals. The winner of this prize will also be invited for work experience with the Trust.

This Queer Science Competition (QSC) is being run by PRISM Exeter, in partnership with Intercom Trust, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Exeter.

Entries will be judged by a panel of PRISM Exeter coordinators from the University of Exeter, the Met Office, the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter Science Park and TechExeter.

The competition runs from February 1st to March 15th 2024.

Claire Davies, founder of PRISM Exeter and Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Exeter said: “Surveys indicate that LGBTQ+ students are less likely to be retained within STEMM fields. Without strong role models to counter their impact, societal stereotypes can influence our decision making when it comes to choosing which careers to pursue.

Andrew Griffiths, PRISM Exeter coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Biology at the University of Exeter said: “It is a great opportunity to discover and celebrate LGBTQIA+ role models in STEMM, especially as LGBT+ History Month in 2024 has the theme of Medicine.”

The PRISM Exeter team have created a dedicated webpage to help entrants put their submissions together. This includes the full list of terms and conditions, including eligibility criteria, a ‘Getting started’ section for tips on how to begin the search, and a resources pack for teachers and community group leaders.

The winners of the competition prizes will be notified by the end of April.