Under the Coverslip

Photo by Michael Dixon: 2nd Place 2019

Under the Coverslip (UTC) is an annual student-run scientific imaging competition presented by the Postgraduate Students of Anatomy Society and the Department of Anatomy and Physiology.

  • Background    

    The competition began within the Department of Anatomy and Physiology as an informal exhibition of interesting images taken by students throughout their research. Over the years, it has grown in size and open to entries from all research students in any Australian university or research institute.

  • Competition Purpose   

    The images presented in this event are intended to not only be aesthetically pleasing but to engage with the public and inform them of the ground breaking scientific research being conducted within the Parkville Precinct and throughout Victoria. By presenting scientific data in this informal manner, we hope to not only celebrate our work as scientists but spark interest and debate in scientific methods and breakthroughs from the larger non-scientific community.

  • The Award Ceremony   

    An Awards Ceremony is held each year with a panel discussion featuring experts from across the University, after which prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, Best Title, People's Choice and Best 3D video/model, are announced.

  • Competition Rules    
    • Entries are open to all Postgraduate, Masters and Honours students only
    • All types of microscopy and scientifically generated images may be entered
    • Maximum two entries per contestant
    • Submissions may have been taken in previous years, though must not have been submitted to a previous competition
    • No modifications to images allowed except for false colouring (e.g. turning green to red or blue to pink), cropping and adjusting gain
    • No metadata (scale bars, text etc) on the image
    • Creative titles are encouraged - we are trying to engage the public and scientists from different fields, and you can win a prize!
    • Include a brief layman’s description of the image, its importance and how the image was captured (~100 words)


    1. Entries must be submitted via the online form
    2. Under the Coverslip is a game of skill. Entries will be judged by a panel of judges to award prizes for Best video/3D image, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. People’s choice and Best Title are won by popular vote. Organiser’s Choice is judged by the SONA committee
    3. By submitting images to Under the Coverslip, you give permission for SONA to share, print and distribute them
    4. Winners’ names, winning microscopic images, and institution of study will be announced at the event, shared on SONA’s social media channels, potentially published in Farrago and Cosmos magazine and shared in an email following the event to the Department of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Melbourne
    5. Prizes are determined annually and may include cash prizes
  • Submit Your Entry

    The competition is managed by the Anatomy & Physiology Students Society (APSS) and submission details will be made available when the competition opens via the APSS Facebook page here.