St John's Poster Competition

Poster Competition 2024

St John's Poster Competition 2024

Competition Entry Requirements:

St John's is delighted to be launching our Poster Competition for 2024. The competition is open to all UK-based prospective applicants: UK-based students in Year 12 (England/Wales) / S5 (Scotland) / Y13 (Northern Ireland) or UK-based students who will be submitting their undergraduate applications by the 15th October 2024 UCAS deadline.

You need to undertake a research project on an academic topic or question that interests you (from any subject area and which relates to the competition theme) and create an academic research poster about it. The theme of this year's competition is SILVER. Your submission must relate to this theme and we encourage creative interpretations of the theme.

Each submitted entry must be produced by an individual student and cannot be the result of group project work. Each student can only submit one entry.

Each submitted entry should include the following:

  1. An academic research poster, containing academic references
  2. A separate bibliography

It is recommended to format the poster on 1 slide in PowerPoint. Please edit the slide’s size in the Design tab, clicking on Slide Size, then Custom Slide Size: it is recommended to select A3, ensuring that width and height measurements are 26.67cm and 35.56cm. Your poster can be landscape or portrait orientation. Please ensure that any images or figures included on your poster are cited if they are taken from other sources, and have brief explanatory captions. Once you have finished your poster in PowerPoint, export/save the file as a PDF before submitting.

The bibliography should also be submitted as a PDF.

You need to submit your entry (poster and bibliography) by 4pm on Monday 5th August 2024. Please click here for the online form to submit your poster and bibliography.

Each submission will be judged by academics at St John's College researching/teaching in your submission's academic area(s). All entrants will receive individual feedback about their submission in September 2024 and there will be prizes in the form of National Book Tokens for the best submissions.


Guidance and Support for Competition Entrants:

For advice and guidance on academic referencing and producing a bibliography, please click here.

We will be running optional drop-in sessions in July for poster competition entrants to ask questions and seek guidance with their projects. Please sign up for one of these Zoom sessions via this form.

For examples of previous years' winning submissions, as well as resources and videos to help you get started with your research poster, please see below.

Please get in touch with if you have any questions about the competition or any issues when submitting your entry.

Research: Where to Start?
How to Research Online

Helpful links and resources

Super-curricular resource hubs from Cambridge and Oxford:

University of Cambridge Super-curricular Suggestions

Super-curricular Resource Hub from University College, Oxford


Useful guidance on creating and formatting academic research posters from Newcastle University


Advice and guidance on academic research skills e.g. referencing, effective academic reading and note-making:

CamGuides for Undergraduates


Open Access research from Cambridge University:

Cambridge Digital Library – a database of digitised research and material from Cambridge

Cambridge University Research – latest news

Apollo - University of Cambridge Open Access Repository


Open access journals and search engines

Bio Med Central - open access journals in biomedicine, physical sciences, mathematics and engineering

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - open access, peer-reviewed journals in all areas of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and humanities

JSTOR - an open access platform for scholarship, primary sources, and research collections

NPJ Climate and Atmospheric Science - an open access journal covering the relevant physical, chemical and biological components of atmospheric and climate science

Open Library of the Humanities - an open access platform supporting academic journals from across the humanities subjects

Open Book Publishers - open access e-books

Additional Poster Preparation Advice (from The Challenger Society for Marine Science)

• A poster needs to be attractive, and draw attention to itself.

• A poster needs to be easily readable, and not just by someone standing really close to it. For the main text, take care to choose a clear type-face at sensible point size. Avoid long complex sentences.

• Avoid large slabs of text and overlong line-lengths; the optimal line-length for readability is considered to be 50–65 characters per line, including spaces. For consistent spacing between words, use unjustified text.

• Ensure your diagrams are large enough to be seen clearly, and that the line weights of graphs etc. aren’t too spindly.

• Ensure that you have explained your symbols and acronyms, and have put scales on figures if necessary.

• Aim to have no more than about five figures (diagrams and photos). Remember that a well-chosen image/visual can be worth a thousand words.

• Diagrams need to be close to the text that relates to them, or very easily located, and they should be accompanied by captions.

• Make use of colour to enliven the poster and help direct the reader where to look.

• Don’t be tempted into over-complicating the appearance of the poster, and obscuring your message.

• Try to convey why your research and your project is so exciting.

Winners' Gallery

The 2022 theme was CYCLE, and we were delighted with the creative interpretation of this theme. Take a look below at some of the winning submissions.

Cycles in Chaos

This thoroughly researched and comprehensive poster project hugely impressed our judges. This submission was the Overall Winner for the 2022 competition.

Mathematics of Music

This submission was an excellent interpretation of the competition's theme, presented in an interesting and accessible way. This poster was awarded the Research Prize in 2022.

Cam Plant Cycles

This visually effective submission with excellent referencing was awarded the Best Poster prize for 2022.

The 2021 theme was CONNECTING, and we were impressed by how imaginative the entries were! Take a look below at a selection of winning submissions.


The Villa Savoye poster

This brilliant poster on the iconic building, The Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier, won the 2021 'Best Poster' award.











Entangled Quantum Particles: "Spooky actions at a distance" poster

This illuminating poster on quantum entanglement was the joint winner of 'Best Presentation' in 2021.











Linkage Mapping in the Human Genome Project poster

This eye-catching poster on genetic mapping was the joint winner of 'Best Presentation' in 2021.











National Identity - Connecting People and Places poster

This innovative poster on connections between people, place, and identity won the 2021 award for 'Best Research'.