Undergraduate Competition


Competition Opens: November 27, 2023

Deadline to enter: March 19, 2024

Reception at the Undergraduate Research Symposium: Thursday, April 25th, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM


Join us on Thursday, April 25, from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM for the Image of Research — UR Edition Reception which will be held at the Illini Union, Illini Rooms A, B, C. Join us to view the on-site exhibit, celebrate, and vote for the winner of the People’s Choice Award!


Any undergraduate student who was registered during the Fall 2023 term at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (online or on-campus) and is in good academic standing. Only one entry is allowed per year per person. Individual entries only please (no groups).


An Image of Research — UR Edition entry is comprised of an image, a brief written narrative, and a title.

The image can represent your work either concretely or abstractly. Perhaps it is an image of your research itself, an activity related to your research, or the impact of your research. We define “research” broadly to include the breadth of creative and scholarly work in all fields. For size and format requirements, see below.

The purpose of the brief narrative is to articulate an aspect of your research that is important to you. This is a great opportunity to talk about your work creatively, offer a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes, share the experience of conducting the research, or express how it has impacted you or others. The text should not be merely a description of the image. It is not meant to be a caption.

The submission will be judged on three criteria:

  • Connection between image, text, and research
  • Originality
  • Visual Impact


A subset of submissions will be selected by judges as the semi-finalists. Of these, the following 4 awards will be given.

  • First prize: $300
  • Second prize: $200
  • People’s Choice award: $100

Awards to graduate students will be dispersed as professional development travel funds through the student’s university account. Awards may be subject to tax withholding.

Where will your submission be shared?

  1. All submissions will be printed on poster board and celebrated at the Undergraduate Research Symposium on Thursday, April 25, 2024 in the Illini Union Room B from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM.
    1. Your entry will be automatically entered into the People’s Choice Award at the symposium.
    2. Your entry will be yours to keep which may be picked up after the symposium.
  2. A selection of submissions will be printed and shared in the Library’s Orange Room.
  3. All submissions will be featured on the Library’s digital signage, the Library’s Instagram account, and the social media accounts for the Office of Undergraduate Research.
  4. Submissions will be archived in the Library’s Image of Research IDEALS community and on the Library’s social media accounts. You will be provided with a permanent URL to share on your resume or with family/friends. It will also show up in Google results when searching for your name or the title of your work.

See submission information