Research Theme Image Competition

Western Sydney University has developed the Research Theme Program in response to society's grand challenges. The Research Themes ignite interdisciplinary research connections among our academics and provide a dynamic support system for our researchers to collaborate with industry and government organisations seeking cutting-edge, science-based solutions.

Now we’re calling on you to bring this research to life through images. Let's showcase our research in a way that captivates and inspires.

Credit: Sally Tsoutas

We are looking for images that tell a story about Western’s research, its impact and the people who make it happen. The image does not need to explain the research being conducted, but rather intrigue, captivate and raise awareness about the research.

Entries are welcome from all disciplines and must be submitted under one of the four Research Themes:

Before entering, you must read the Terms and Conditions. Any entries that are in breach of the Terms and Conditions will not be accepted.


10 finalists will be identified by the judging panel. These entries will be exhibited at a Research Celebration event to be held in November 2023. From these 10 entries prizes will be awarded as follows:


$300 gift voucher + VIP Zone Box for eight people to attend a club NRL game at Accor Stadium + framed picture of their winning entry.

Runner Up

$250 gift voucher + 5 tickets to a behind the scenes/VIP tour of Sydney Zoo + framed picture of their winning entry.

People’s Choice

$200 gift voucher + 5 tickets to a behind the scenes/VIP tour of Sydney Zoo.


All finalists will be given the poster size print of their photo used for the Research Celebration exhibition.

Important Dates

14 August 2023 Applications open
4 October 2023 Applications close
4 October – 8 October Shortlist to be determined.
9 – 13 October Selection of top ten from shortlist and winner.
13 October – 8 November Shortlisted entries printed in readiness for research event.
Shortlisted entrants invited to research event.
9 November 2023 Winner, Runner Up and People’s Choice Winner announced at Research Celebration event.

Selection Process

All eligible entries will be judged by a selection panel that comprises Research Theme Champions and University staff. The panel will judge images on the following: creativity, quality of image and how well the image communicates the theme.


Entrants must be Western staff or students and must agree to the Competition Terms and Conditions below.

How to Enter

For staff, entries must be submitted via this link by midnight 4 October 2023.

For students, entries must be submitted via this link and all attachments sent to by midnight 4 October 2023.

As finalist entries will be printed for display, we encourage all entrants to submit the highest quality image possible on any mobile phone or DSLR. If shooting on a phone, we suggest that entrants check their ‘settings’ to ensure they are shooting in the highest resolution possible for their device.

Each entry must be an original image produced entirely by the entrant. It must not contain any trademarks or copyright material owned in whole or in part by any other person or violate any persons’ rights of privacy.

Each image must be accompanied with a caption and with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Country name on which the image was taken. The organisers reserve the right to change the captioned name to a preferred version at the point of publication.

Each image entered into the competition must not identify a person in any way or identify a person’s property such as their home, address or licence plate, without that person’s express written permission. Any entry which identifies a person in any way without their express written permission (which must be provided at the time of submission of the entry) will be an invalid entry.

All entrants will be invited to a Research Celebration event in November 2023 where the prize winners will be announced.

Should you have any queries about the competition, please contact:

Terms and Conditions


1.1 By participating in the Research Theme Image Competition (Competition), the person who is participating in the Competition (You) agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

1.2 The Competition is organised by Western Sydney University (ABN 53 014 069 881) of Cnr Victoria Road and James Ruse Drive Parramatta South Campus, Rydalmere NSW 2116 (WSU or University).

1.3 Submissions that do not comply with these Terms and Conditions are deemed to be invalid.

1.4 WSU reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who WSU believes has breached any of these Terms and Conditions or engaged in any unlawful or other improper misconduct calculated to jeopardise the fair and proper conduct of the Competition.


2.1 The Competition opens on 14 August 2023 and closes at 11.59 pm on 30 September 2023.

2.2 Entry into the Competition is free of charge.

2.3 The Competition is a game of skill and not a game of chance.

2.4 To enter, you must visit and complete the online form located at, including by uploading a single photograph that meets the conditions set out in part 3 (Submission).

2.5 If you wish to withdraw your Submission or your consent to the use of your Submission, you can do so by contacting WSU will make every effort to cease using the Submission in any future publications after your consent is withdrawn but is not obliged to remove the Submission from any publications published in any format prior to your consent being withdrawn.


3.1 In order to submit a Submission, you must:

(a) be a current WSU member of staff or currently enrolled as a WSU student;

(b) have taken the Submission yourself and you must hold copyright in the Submission; and

(c) if you are under 18, obtain parental/guardian approval to enter this Competition. Your parent/guardian must read and consent to these Terms and Conditions and the University may require you to provide proof of such consent.

3.2 For a Submission to be valid it must:

(a) be entered in one of the following categories:

(i) Education & Work (Equity, Participation & Opportunity);

(ii) Environment & Sustainability (Climate, Agriculture & Liveability);

(iii) Health & Wellbeing (Translation, Integration & Innovation); or

(iv) Urban Living Futures & Society (People, Culture, Economy & the Built Environment).
(together, the Research Themes)

(b) be saved as either a .jpg or .tif;

(c) be accompanied with a caption and with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Country name on which the photograph was taken;

(d) not identify any person or their property (such as their home, address or licence plate) without that person’s express written permission. If your Submission identifies a person or their property, you must attach a copy their express written permission at the time of submission of the Submission;

(e) not be watermarked;

(f) not contain any material which infringes the rights of any third party (including third party brands or logos);

(g) not include any content that is obscene, offensive, potentially defamatory, discriminatory, indecent, prejudicial or inconsistent with prevailing community standards; and

(h) comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

3.3 Only one Submission is allowed per person. If more than one Submission is received from you, only one Submission (selected by the University) will be considered for judging and all other Submissions will be deemed invalid.

3.4 WSU reserves the right to require you to provide evidence that your Submission is your original work and that all necessary consents have been obtained. If you are unable to provide evidence that is satisfactory to WSU, the Submission will be deemed invalid. This evidence may be required in the format of a statutory declaration.


4.1 The shortlist judging panel is made up of Research Theme Fellows (Shortlist Judging Panel).

4.2 The Competition judges (the Judges) will be made up of the University Photographer, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, and the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research.

4.3 All Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

(a) creativity;

(b) quality of photograph; and

(c) communication of the chosen theme.

4.4 Between 1 October and 13 October 2023, the Shortlist Judging Panel will, shortlist the Submissions.

4.5 The Judges will select the finalists from the shortlisted Submissions (Finalists) at their discretion.

4.6 WSU will publish the Finalists before the research celebration event on 9 November 2023 (Research Celebration Event).

4.7 The Judges will determine the winner (Winner) and runner-up (Runner-Up).

4.8 If there is a tie in votes for any of the Winner, Runner-Up or Finalist positions, the University Photographer will have the deciding vote.

4.9 The people’s choice winner will be decided via public voting at the Research Celebration Event (People’s Choice Winner). The attendees of the Research Celebration Event will each be able to cast one vote into a voting box. The Finalist with the most votes will be the People’s Choice Winner.

4.10 WSU will announce the Winner, Runner-Up and People’s Choice Winner at the Research Celebration Event. If the Winners are not in attendance, they will be informed the following working day.

4.11 The decision of the Judges is final, and no communication regarding the deliberations or outcomes will occur. The Judges reserve the right not to award a Winner or Runner-Up at their discretion if the Submissions are not of reasonable quality or are not relevant to the Research Themes.


5.1 The total value of the prizes is approximately $3,350.

5.2 The Winner’s is:

(a)  a $300 gift voucher;

(b) 8 tickets to an NRL club game in an uncatered Zone Box at Accor Stadium (NRL Zone Box); and

(c) a framed picture of their Submission.

5.3 Any attendee who is under 18-years old must be supervised by a responsible adult while attending the NRL Zone Box.

5.4 The Runner-Up’s prize is:

(a) a $250 gift voucher;

(b) 5 tickets to a Sydney Zoo VIP Tour which includes zoo entry, 2 animal encounters, (encounters are subject to availability and specific animal encounters cannot be guaranteed) and a Q&A opportunity with the zookeepers (Sydney Zoo VIP Tour); and

(c) a framed picture of their Submission.

5.5 The People’s Choice Winner’s prize is:

(a) a $200 gift voucher; and

(b) 5 tickets to a Sydney Zoo VIP Tour.

5.6 All Finalists will be given the poster size print of their photo which will be displayed during the Research Celebration Event.

5.7 All prizes must be claimed before 23 November 2023. Prizes cannot be claimed after that date. If not claimed:

(a) gift cards and corporate prizes will be returned to the Engagement and Advancement division of WSU; and

(b) framed photographs will be kept by WSU.

5.8 No prize can be transferred, exchanged or redeemed for cash. In the event that any prize becomes unavailable for reasons beyond the WSU’s control, WSU may substitute a prize with a prize of similar value.

5.9 If you are awarded a prize, and your Submission is subsequently found to have breached these Terms and Conditions, you must return the prize.

5.10 WSU is not responsible for prizes once they have left WSU’s or its agent’s premises. This includes responsibility for prizes damaged, delayed or lost in transit.


6.1 By entering the Competition, you:

(a) grant to WSU a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free licence to copy, publish, communicate, perform, play, re-broadcast, adapt and modify the whole or parts of your Submission in any format, platform, server, database, or communication channel, that is currently available and those which may be available in the future, for any use or purpose that WSU deems appropriate; and

(b) consent to WSU dealing with your Submission in any way that may otherwise infringe your moral rights and you agree not to assert your moral rights (wherever such rights are recognised) in respect of your Submission against the WSU or its assigns, licensees or successors. In particular, you consent to WSU changing the caption that accompanies your Submission.

6.2 WSU is under no obligation to use your Submission, including those of Finalists.


7.1 You indemnify WSU against all losses, damages, claims and costs by third parties arising out of, connected to, or resulting from, a breach by you of these Terms and Conditions.


8.1 WSU assumes no responsibility for any failure to receive a Submission or for inaccurate information or for any loss, damage or injury as a result of technical or telecommunications problems, including security breaches. If such problems arise, WSU may modify, cancel, terminate or suspend the Competition.

8.2 WSU is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information or other errors (whether technical or otherwise) that may occur in this Competition. The University accepts no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorised access to or alteration of entries.

8.3 To the full extent permitted by law, WSU will not be liable for any injury, damages, expenses, or loss whatsoever (whether direct or inconsequential) to persons or property as a result of any person entering into the Competition or accepting or using the prize.

8.4 WSU’s right to recover damages or other compensation is reserved.


9.1 By entering this Competition, you warrant that:

(a) you have complied with all requirements set out in part 3 (Conditions of Entry) above; and

(b) all information provided by you in connection with your Submission is correct and true in all parts.


10.1 WSU may, for an indefinite period, unless otherwise advised by you, use the personal information you provide in the course of the Competition for publicity in connection with the Competition.

10.2 In particular, you agree that if you are selected as a Winner, Runner-Up or Finalist, your name, likeness and Submission may be used for promotional and publicity purposes in connection with the Competition.

10.3 For more information about how the University collects, uses and discloses your personal information, please refer to the University’s Privacy Policy and Privacy Management Plan located at

10.4 If you have any questions in relation to your privacy, or wish to access, update and/or change your personal information, please contact