Criteria for participation

Below is an overview of the criteria for participating in Breaking Science.

  • You are an early career researcher (PhD candidate or postdoc) at Utrecht University, UMC Utrecht, Hubrecht Institute, Princess Máxima Center or other institute at Utrecht Science Park.
  • You would like to learn how pitch a scientific concept in a comprehensive way in just 3 minutes.
  • You can motivate what you are hoping to gain (professionally or personally) by taking part in Breaking Science.
  • You are available to participate in all parts of the competition:
    • The training sessions
    • One of the heats
    • Final
  • You will commit yourself to the whole process (training, heat, final).
  • You will raise awareness for this competition (e.g., invite friends/family/colleagues).

If there are more applicants than the maximum number of contestants, we will select the best candidates based on the criteria above.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept people who are already working professionally in public engagement with science, including: 

  • Press or PR officers
  • Performers whose shows are about science or engineering
  • Science centre staff who work exclusively or mainly with the public
  • Journalists and broadcasters (as their main job)

Competition rules

  • You have 3 minutes to give a talk on a scientific subject. No PowerPoint slides are allowed; however, props are allowed as long as they can be carried on stage by the participant.
  • All stages of the competition will be in English.

No-show policy

Participation in Breaking Science is free for all participants. However, free of charge does not mean free of responsibility. Breaking Science is a popular competition. For every late cancellation or no-show, we have to disappoint others who would have liked to participate. To avoid such disappointment, this is our policy: 

  • Once you have signed up for Breaking Science, we expect you to participate fully (including attendance at training sessions, heats and potentially the final);
  • If you need to cancel your registration, do so by sending an e-mail to as soon as possible, but at least 4 weeks before the first training session;
  • You must attend all training sessions, the heats and (if selected) the final of Breaking Science.
  • Not meeting the attendance requirements or cancelling within four weeks before the training sessions starts means you will be charged a no-show fee of €50.
  • We are unable to make any exceptions, without a valid reason (i.e., illness or death in the family 1st/2nd degree or partner). Your supervisor must send an e-mail to indicating the reason.