ESA 2013 Science Cafe Prize

Introducing the ESA 2013 (inaugural) Science Café Prize

Aster, 125 Southeast Main Street, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Aster, 125 Southeast Main Street, Minneapolis, MN 55414

At this year’s Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ESA is partnering with the University of Minnesota’s National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics (NCESD) Sip of Science series to present a Science Café, open to the public, at the Aster Café, on the riverfront in Minneapolis.

To choose a speaker from the 3000+ attending scientists, we have designed a little contest. The winner will present at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, August 7th. ESA communications staff will stand the winner a single beverage of choice at the Aster.

Contest deadline: Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

**Early-bird incentive: if you enter before Friday, June 21st, we will enter you in a raffle for an ESA “ecologists do it in the field” t-shirt.



ESA2013 Minneapolis badgeYou must be actively engaged in ecological research, registered for the ESA 2013 Annual Meeting, and be available to speak at Sip of Science from 5:30-7:00 pm on the evening of Wednesday, August 7th. The Aster is about 1.5 miles from the convention center. You must be of legal drinking age.

Ecologists at all career stages are encouraged to apply.


Ready to enter?

Download a pdf copy of the ESA2013 Science Café Prize Instructions.

Go to the submission form.


Part 1: words

Your Science Café pitch in 250 words

In 250 words or fewer, introduce the research subject you would present at Science Café and share a colorful detail, personal reflection, or anecdote that expresses why it is important to you. Tell us the key idea or concept you would like audiences to take away from a presentation on your subject. Respect the word limit; if you exceed 250 words you will be disqualified.


  • Try to avoid specialized scientific language. Keep in mind that words like “community” may be Standard English, but have special meaning for ecologists that will not be familiar to all audiences.
  • We don’t mean that you need to dumb down your work. Give yourself permission to be creative in translation, and less exacting than you would be in a research communication.
  • We encourage you to take on hard or complex topics but we recommend that you choose only one hard or complex topic!
  • It may help to choose one aspect of your work to share and not attempt to be comprehensive.


Part 2: Pictures

Upload an image that evokes your topic

Picture: choose one image that is evocative of your subject, illustrates your subject, or that you just like a lot and can convincingly tie into your topic. The image could be a photo, cartoon, flow chart, scientific doodle, or even a complex graph. It could be a photo of a person at a white board drawing a doodle or complex graph. We invite you to dream up something we didn’t list here.

  • The image should be a graphic that you have created or have explicit permission to use.
  • The image should not exceed 500 KB (it need not be publication quality!).
  • Acceptable file types: jpg, png, gif

Title: what is this image showing us? (titles should be 1 – 5 words)

Caption: in 100 words or fewer, tell us about the image. How does it evoke your subject?

You may want to take a look at how the editors of National Geographic, Natural History, and other photo-heavy magazines headline their pictures, for inspiration.

Credit: who made this?

  • List the name of the creator.
  • If you copied or remixed the image from the Wikimedia Commons, a government archive, or another online Creative Commons, please include a link to the source.
  • If the image is your own but has been previously published, please list a citation or link to the abstract. 
  • We recommend using your own, unpublished materials.
  • By submitting your image, you grant ESA and NCESD permission to reproduce it in promotional materials.


Questions? Email Liza Lester, or tweet @esa_org (before the deadline).