About The EMBO Journal Cover Contest

Each year in autumn, the editors of The EMBO Journal invite submissions to a contest to select the best cover images for the following year. 2014 saw the 10th annual competition of this kind, and as always, one winner was selected in each of the two categories:

Best Scientific Cover and Best Non-Scientific Cover.

The prizes for the two winners are free one-year print and online subscriptions to both The EMBO Journal and EMBO reports. Apart from that, there is fame and glory to be won, and the possibility that some of the images (whether they are the number one winner or not) may be printed on the journal’s cover page and be seen by thousands of fellow scientists worldwide.

And of course, the contest is meant to be fun for everybody involved... it is an amateur contest after all. We continue to be amazed how much aesthetic and creative potential there is out there among our readers and authors (and their colleagues, friends and relatives). Have a look through our online archive and enjoy the many beautiful images that have graced the EMBO Journal front cover in recent years, many of which had originally been submitted to our Cover Contest.

This prize will be awarded for the most captivating and thought-provoking contribution depicting a piece of molecular biology research. Images may be light or electron micrographs, 3D reconstructions or models of biological specimen or molecules, spectacular artefacts collected in the lab, original new views of lab equipment (but not of colleagues!), or other images that you might have encountered in your research activity, and which may appeal to other molecular biologists.

Here is a small gallery of cover images selected from previous contests:


The award will be given to the contributor of the most interesting and beautiful image that was made outside the lab. Contestants may submit, for example, photos or artistic impressions of wildlife animals, plants or landscapes. The overriding theme is “Nature” at all scales and magnifications. In addition to photographs, you may also submit hand or computer-generated paintings or drawings (or photographs of other works of art) if they are related to a biological or molecular biological topic. The jury traditionally does not favour images depicting man-made objects (unless they are related to scientific work; see above) or persons.

Here is a small gallery of images successfully submitted to previous contests:


(Apologies to all whose images could not be included here. Have a look at our online archive for a more representative sample.)

To participate in the 2014 Cover Contest, please be sure to read our guidelines first.

The deadline for submissions is

2 pm (Central European Time) on 20 December 2013.

The selection committee will view and consider all contributions and notify the winners on 20 January 2014. The award-winning images will be featured on the EMBO Journal cover soon afterwards and, like in the previous years, other top-scoring contributions will be taken into consideration as cover images of future issues of the journal.

  1. Submit