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UK Poster Competitions

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Welcome to the UK page for the ISLP poster competitions!                   

The support below relates to the 2018 – 2019 UK-level competition which has now ended.   The competition winners for this year are Leslie Lee and Elena Gupta of Wimbledon High School, London, Leslie and Elena appear in the photo below with their winning poster ‘How Successful is the Encouragement of Women to Study STEM Subjects in the UK?’. Congratulations, Leslie and Elena!

It is expected that details of the 2019 – 2020 UK-level competition will appear later this year, once competition plans have been agreed on an international scale. 


The ISLP website now has a range of information for you to refer to for the 2018 – 2019 competitions:

see ISLP website

On reviewing the website, I would recommend that for the meantime at least you focus on the hyperlinks in the main text rather than use the links down the left margin (which lead to dated content).

Please use the above website to obtain exemplars of posters from previous competitions and the judging criteria and for poster guidelinesYou may also find it helpful to consult the following resources for advice on good practice in poster design:

Tips for presenting your work

creating posters using MS PowerPoint

ISLP poster session presentation 2015

Here, also, is some updated info on expectations:

  • Teams of 2–5 students
  • 3 categories: 1) students born in 2003 and younger, 2) students born during 2000 – 2002 and 3) undergraduate students in university/college (new category, no age limit)
  • The theme of the poster is open
  • Free entry
  • Registration for the UK competition is currently open. To register, please email me at .
  • Deadline for teachers or programme contacts letting me know of their final competitors for the UK level competition is 1 February 2019.
  • Deadline for submission of posters for UK level competition: 12 noon on Friday 8 March 2019
  • Winning UK posters can then go forward to international level competition on Saturday 30 March 2019.

Competition for secondary school pupils

Noting that there is no fixed ISLP theme this year, it is entirely up to teachers to work with fellow-staff and  pupils to choose project topics and find appropriate data. From this perspective, there are no rules from me on whether the data should be collected by the students, sourced online or obtained on request by reaching out to individuals in industry, academia or some other reputable area of work.  However, please seek to be sensitive to ethical issues in project design. Getting pupils to think about this area would be a useful training exercise.

I would recommend the use of a focus day to allow pupils to work exclusively on their posters The pupils could then have the opportunity to finish off the posters after the focus day in preparation for the submission deadline at UK level (see provisional dates below).

However, I am aware that there is a large deficit of experience in student understanding and competent use of statistics that needs to be filled to prepare students for the focus day. One cannot realistically hope to combine training with poster preparation in a day. Many of you may have a preference for use of Excel for statistics. There is a lot of literature out there explaining limitations in the use of Excel but we have to be realistic in terms of what can be achieved with the resources you have.  There is actually adequate online educational material that could be used to support training in use of Excel for statistics while allowing pupils to input data (e.g. from the examples provided) to explore different methods.  It should be emphasized that the need here is to take pupils beyond the level of what they are expected to learn in the curriculum. Here is one example of a relevant website: .  You will need to find some space in the curriculum or extra-curricular time to get students involved in engaging with such resources so that when they arrive at the focus day they are ready to roll!  They should also have been working on their projects well in advance of this day so they may well have had opportunities to explore statistical procedures with their project data before the event.  Please also note the advice on the ISLP website on obtaining a free copy of JMP software. This is a new development and availability would depend on you reaching out for expressions of interest from you own pupils and letting me know who would like to take part in the competition. The sooner you do this, the sooner the pupils could have the software.

With this background, I suggest that you allow your pupils as much time as possible to become statistically literate and that you set the focus day for a date asap after the prelim dates. I am organizing a focus day at the University of Edinburgh (exact venue to be confirmed). The provisional dates for this day and submission of posters for the UK poster competition are below. You may have your own preferred approach for preparing pupils for poster submissions. However, if you are interested in having pupils attend the focus day, do let me know.

  • Date for focus day: w/c 11 February 2019
  • Deadline for submission of posters for UK level competition: 11.59 am on Friday 8 March 2019.

I hope that the above content provides some direction and focus and helps you to work with pupils and staff to encourage as many persons as you can to participate. Please feel free to send me any questions if the answers are not already covered in the above email or at the links I have directed you to.

Competition for undergraduate university students

All deadlines at the top of this page apply.  It is expected that students at this level are likely to have access to a wider range of statistical software than secondary school pupils. Expressions of interest should be made in the first instance to me through University programme contacts. There is no restriction on year group or poster theme,

Contact details 

Dr Margaret MacDougall
Medical Statistician and Researcher in Education (Senior Lecturer)

Centre for Population Health Sciences, The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG

Tel: +44(0)131 650 3211


Dr Margaret MacDougall, University of Edinburgh and Dr Elinor Jones, University College London


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