ESA 2014 Science Cafe Prize

Enter to win the coveted speaking role for the second annual ESA Science Café at de Vere’s Pub in downtown Davis, California


De Vere's Irish Pub, 217 E Street, Davis, CA 95616

De Vere’s Irish Pub, 217 E Street, Davis, CA 95616

At this year’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California, ESA is partnering with Professor of Chemistry Jared Shaw and the UC Davis Science Café series to present an informal public lecture (a “Science Café”) at de Vere’s Pub, in nearby Davis, California. To choose a speaker from the 3000+ attending scientists, we are reprising our successful 2013 pitch contest.

Davis is about 15 miles from the Sacramento Convention Center. ESA will provide transportation for the speaker.



The winner of the 2014 Science Café Prize will present a one hour, interactive public lecture at de Vere’s Pub at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, August 13th, as a special guest of the monthly Davis Science Café. ESA will feature the winning pitch and honorable mentions on our news blog, Ecotone, and on our homepage in the run up to the August meeting. ESA communications staff will stand the winner a beverage of choice at de Vere’s.


Contest deadline: Friday, May 30th, 2014




ESA2014 Sacramento logo

You must be actively engaged in ecological research, registered for the ESA 2014 Annual Meeting, and be available to speak at the Davis Science Café from 5:00-7:00 pm on the evening of Wednesday, August 13th. You must be of legal drinking age.

Ecologists at all career stages are encouraged to apply.



Soil erosion….or not. STRIPs project - LIsa Schulte Moore presents at the Aster Cafe on Wednesday August 7 at 5:30pm

Soil erosion….or not. Lisa Schulte Moore won the inaugural ESA2013 Science Cafe Prize with her vision for change in modern agriculture based on ecological knowledge and experimentation. Read her pitch here. Photo, Dave Williams.



Ready to enter?

Download a pdf copy of the ESA2014 Café Prize instructions.

Go to the submission form. The 2014 contest is closed.

Madhu Katti (left), Jared Shaw (center), and Simon Brandl (right) in the interview booth on Wednesday morning. Credit, Capital Public Radio.

Madhu Katti (left), Jared Shaw (center), and Simon Brandl (right) in the interview booth on 13 August 2014. Credit, Capital Public Radio.


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


Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie's 2013 Science Cafe entry

Same data, different century.  Runner up Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie photobombed herself in among some of her favorite 19th century naturalist ‘collaborators’ for her 2013 Science Cafe entry. Read her pitch here.

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).