VR Science Challenge


The deadline has been extended until March 30th 2017, with winners announced in May at the next SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival!

We love it when Science and Art combine and when presented in Virtual Reality or 360 video, we think it can be even more powerful.

That's why New Scientist, PsychFi and SCI-FI-LONDON have teamed up to challenge you to create an 'untethered immersive mobile experience' using VR headsets like Samsung Gear, Google Cardboard and so on.

The challenge is simple, take a scientific principle or theory and explain it or demonstrate it in an immersive environment... let the user explore your world and get a clear understanding of the science.   Whatever you decide to explain, whether how AC/DC current works, why you can't fold paper more than eight times, or current thinking on black holes - you will take us on a journey in a headset. 

The winners and best examples will be showcased at the 2017 SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival (dates TBC but likely first week of May 2017) and there will be a host of prizes being announced over the next few months, but so far we have £1000 cash on the table!

So get your 360 camera out, download your favourite VR engine (Unity, Unreal etc) and get cracking.

Closing date for entries is 30 March 2017. 

To submit your work:  We have simplified the process...

We are looking for submissions in one of these three categories:

  • 360 video (Maximum duration 8 mins)
  • Real-time non-interactive experience
  • Real-time interactive experience

We will be showcasing these works in a range of VR Headsets at SCI-FI-LONDON, but definitely in Google Cardboard.  Remember, we will only accept your piece for UNTETHERED MOBILE DEVICES ONLY (no cables or computers needed!).

<< sign up here >>

The following rules apply to all submissions to the challenge:

  1. All entries must have been started or released after 17 June 2016
  2. You must own the rights for the distribution and use of the work (visuals and audio) and ensure that no copyrights or third-party rights are infringed. If you are not the copyright holder, you must be authorised to approve exhibition of the work on behalf of the copyright owner. The participating content provider indemnifies SCI-FI-LONDON, PSYCHFI and Reed Business Information (RBI) of any and all claims of copyright infringement.
  3. Your piece will not contain anything which is libellous, defamatory, obscene, indecent, harassing or threatening.
  4. You hereby give SCI-FI-LONDON, Reed Business Information and New Scientist a non-exclusive, royalty-free right to screen your work at New Scientist Live, SCI-FI-LONDON and relevant third party events, and to advertise details on our and any related third-party websites, social media and publicity materials.
  5. SCI-FI-LONDON and New Scientist are not responsible for any late or missing materials pertaining to the challenge.
  6. The submitted works must meet the minimum technical specifications for data formats outlined below
  7. Your submission must contain 2 seconds of black at the start, followed by five seconds of the supplied TITLE CARD (click or see below).
  8. By submitting work to the SCI-FI-LONDON New Scientist challenge and signing the Entry Form, you agree to the Terms and Conditions below.

Submission Specification: (subject to change)

  • Please upload your completed piece to Youtube's 360 channel and make the link unlisted.
  • Send the link to Nsvr@sci-fi-london.com by the deadline.
  • If you cannot submit via Youtuve then please supply a link to a similar platform or dropbox file.
    This can be unlisted or password protected as necessary.


If your piece is real-time then please supply a video of the experience and a download link for an executable version of the piece, clearly stating the device it is optimised or designed for.

Good luck and can't wait to see the work!

Louis & the SFL team.


Terms and Conditions:

  1. Reed Business Information, New Scientist and SCI FI LONDON ("the Organisers") invite participants to join their VR Challenge. New Scientist are offering a first prize of £1000 for the best piece based on a scientific theme, Further prize announcements, along with details of the awards ceremony and screenings, will be made before the Challenge deadline on 30 March 2017.
  2. You must first register your participation in the New Scientist/SCI FI LONDON 360͒͒͑° Challenge ("the Challenge") by registering here:
  3. Your completed piece must be produced in the period between 17 June 2016 and 30 March 2017.
  4. Your film should be appropriate for viewing by persons of 15 years or younger and made in an untethered format , i.e.viewable on all commonly available VR devices including but not limited to Google Cardboard.
  5. You hereby warrant that your entry will not infringe the intellectual property, privacy or any other rights of any third party, and will not contain anything which is libellous, defamatory, obscene, indecent, harassing or threatening.
  6. By entering the competition, entrants together with any other member of the public involved (all such persons being referred to as "the Participant") hereby agree to be bound by these rules as amended from time to time, and by the Challenge instructions.
  7. It is the responsibility of Participants to keep themselves informed as to any updates of these rules, and they acknowledge that any failure to comply with these rules could lead to their disqualification without reasons being given or opportunity for challenge.
  8. The Judges shall be those people detailed on the New Scientist/SCI-FI-LONDON Challenge pages.
  9. The decision of the Judges over every instance shall be final and unchallengeable. No correspondence will be entered into or comment issued on any matters concerning the challenge, and no reasons given for any decision made by the Judges.
  10. This competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over, except for employees of Reed Business Information Limited and employees of FestivalBiz and contractors and promoters and individuals connected with any company involved in the competition.
  11. No responsibility will be accepted for lost, corrupted, delayed or mislaid entries.
  12. There will be no alternative to the prize(s) offered and prizes are not transferable.
  13. The Participant hereby understands that he/she is responsible for all crew, cast, equipment, sets, locations, and other items necessary for participating in the Challenge, and all costs, expenses, damages and claims related thereto.
  14. New Scientist and SFL (hereafter referred to as the Challenge Organisers) will provide a screening opportunity for some of the completed work; and prize(s) for the winner(s). The Challenge Organisers reserve the right to screen or exhibit only those entries which adhere to the rules of the Challenge.
  15. The Participant hereby affirms that talent and location releases have been secured and all rights worldwide and in perpetuity, to images, sounds and music used in his/her project have been obtained.
  16. The Participant hereby affirms that he/she will secure agreement from all cast and crew and hereby indemnifies, saves and holds harmless the Organisers from any and all claims, costs, damages, expenses and liabilities arising from the creation, use or participation hereunder (including, but not limited to claims for negligence and other torts, unauthorised exhibition, discrimination, fraud, infringement and breach of contract) of the Participant’s piece.
  17. Submitting an entry constitutes the Participant's consent for the Organisers to use his/her entry, name and photos (if applicable) for editorial or publicity purposes.
  18. The Participant acknowledges that participation in the Challenge is without any remuneration or compensation whatsoever.
  19. The Participant agrees that the Challenge is for recreational purposes only and that there is no obligation on the part of the Organisers to assign a winner or to screen his/her film.

Any queries about these rules or the competition should be sent in writing to Culture Lab/New Scientist, C/o: Reed Business Information Ltd, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS. Registered in England, No 151537



New Scientist - SCI-FI-LONDON VR challenge title card