Press release

Wellcome Image Awards celebrates 20 years of bringing us closer to the art of science

The Wellcome Image Awards are celebrating their 20th year of bringing us the world’s most incredible science images. They will be shown at exhibitions held across the UK and internationally, including Russia and South Africa.

Showcasing the best in science image making, this year’s awards include a broader range of cutting-edge artistic and scientific techniques than ever before.  From photography and illustration to super-resolution microscopy and medical scans, the images use a variety of methods to capture the imagination and bring complex concepts to life.

This year’s award-winning images include a beautiful illustration of Nobel laureate and neurobiologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, a glimpse at the intricate system of blood vessels inside an African Grey Parrot and a fascinating visualisation of Twitter conversations about breast cancer.

BBC Medical Correspondent, Fergus Walsh, is a member of the judging panel and will be presenting this year’s awards. He said: ‘The Wellcome Image Awards continuously uncovers striking images that open up a world of science often hidden to the naked eye. There is a spectacular array of images here which will draw the public in, make them wonder and make them ask questions about things they’ve never even imagined.”

The winning images will be exhibited from 16 March 2017 in venues across the UK, Europe and Africa so that more people than ever before can experience the images. Exhibitions include:

  • Aberdeen Science Centre
  • Africa Health Research Institute, South Africa
  • At-Bristol
  • Cambridge Science Centre
  • Dundee Science Centre
  • The Eden Project, Cornwall
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • Polytechnic Museum, Moscow, Russia
  • Science Gallery, Dublin
  • Techniquest, Cardiff
  • Millennium Point, Birmingham
  • W5, Belfast

The images will also be displayed in the windows of Wellcome’s HQ in London, and made available on the Wellcome Image Awards website.

The Wellcome Image Awards were established in 1997 to reward contributors to the Wellcome Images collection for their outstanding work. Over the last twenty years as science and technology has progressed, the awards have embraced new styles and pushed the boundaries of science image making.

Catherine Draycott, Head of Wellcome Images and chair of the judging panel said: “It’s now 20 years since the first Wellcome Image Awards and we continue to be surprised and delighted by the range of extraordinary images we receive each year. We are thrilled that they will be displayed across the UK and abroad so that people can come and explore the stories behind these stunning images.”

The 22 winning images were chosen by nine judges from all those acquired by the Wellcome Images picture library in the past year. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on 15 March 2017 where the overall winner will also be revealed. 

This is the second year that the Julie Dorrington Award for outstanding photography in a clinical environment will also be awarded. Named after one of the founders of the Wellcome Images clinical collection, this Award honours Julie’s contribution to Wellcome and to the clinical photography profession and the service it provides to medicine and medical education.

Since 2011 Wellcome Images have also partnered with the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, bringing images of their work into the Awards. This year, each organisation features an image from their respective selections in the other’s Awards and provides a judge for each. More information about the Koch Institute Public Galleries and Image Awards can be found on their website.