Image of Research

A picture can say more than a thousand words … and sometimes more than an entire dissertation.  

The Image of Research competition gives students the opportunity to engage creatively with their research, share behind-the-scenes views of their research processes, or portray their academic study in visual form.

2024 Image of Research Preliminary Rounds submissions were displayed virtually and the 15 finalized were selected. Final rounds will be displayed at the Union Art Gallery on the second floor of the Union between March 18 and March 28, 2024.

We hope you can join us for the Gallery Reception on March 19th from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM for light refreshments and to learn more about the finalists' images.

2024 Image of Research Program

Registration is now closed. 


2025 (tentative) Competition Schedule

Registration: January 15th to February 21st
Preliminary Rounds: February 26th to February 28th 
Gallery Exhibition and Final rounds: March 17th to 21st
Gallery Reception: March 18th 
Winner’s announced: March 25th
Exhibition closes: March 28th

What should the image be?

“Research” is defined broadly to include creative and scholarly work in all fields. The image submitted 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.

The submission will be judged on three criteria:

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

Who can submit?

Entries must be submitted by graduate students (Masters, Cert, PhD) who are registered during the Spring 2025 term and are in good academic standing at the University. Individual entries only please (no groups). One entry per individual.  The entrant must be principal creator of the image. Benefits-eligible MSU employees are not eligible to win monetary prizes.


A subset of 15 submissions will be selected by judges as the finalists. Finalist submissions will be displayed at the Union Art Gallery on the second floor of the Union. Of these, the following three awards will be given.

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

What is required for submission?

  • A title of less than 10 words
  • A 100 to 150-word narrative that articulates the connection between the image and your research. Please proofread your narrative before submitting.
  • Images should be the best quality image that you can provide. Please make sure your image file meets the following requirements:
    • Must scale to 40” x 32”
    • Maximum file size of 10 GB
    • Minimum resolution of 300 ppi
    • Image must be in TIFF, JPEG, or JPEG2 format.
    • If your file fails to meet these criteria, we will ask that the necessary changes be made before accepting and processing your submission
  • Picture of submitter

Image Submission Instructions

After completing the registration process (see top pf page), please submit your image. To submit your image/photograph, please visit Please name your file “FirstInitialFullLastName_IOR”, ex. the name is Jane Smith, the file name would be “JSmith_IOR”. Share the file with Lilli Harris (

 All images are due by midnight on February 21, 2025 (tentative).


All images may be printed and displayed at the Union Art Gallery throughout the duration of the competition and after the competition.



Register between January 15 to February 21  2025, at midnight.



For questions regarding the Image of Research Competition, please contact:

Lilli Harris
Phone: 662-325-1622