Fifth Mary Mulvihill Award offering €2,000 for best entry on theme of water

Science media competition open to third level students on island of Ireland

Mary Mulvihill was a regular contributor to The Irish Times. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Mary Mulvihill was a regular contributor to The Irish Times. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


The 2022 student media competition in memory of science writer Mary Mulvihill will be on the theme of water, its organisers have announced.

The competition is open to all third level students of any discipline – undergraduate or postgraduate – studying at third level institutions anywhere on the island of Ireland.

The theme was selected following a Twitter poll, which attracted more than 1,000 votes. The topic may be addressed in scientific, environmental, imaginative or other terms. Entries are welcome in many – and mixed – media formats.

A relatively simple arrangement of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom – H2O – is extraordinarily important to our bodies and our planet. The tension between the bountiful availability of water and the challenges of managing this resource is an inescapable aspect of the competition theme, according to the organisers.

“Our bodies are 60 per cent water. The Earth’s surface is 70 per cent water. But billions are deprived of accessible, clean supplies. Millions of kilometres are walked daily around the world to get water,” they noted.“We encourage students thinking of entering this competition to approach the theme as almost endless; there are no prescriptions on how it might be approached.”


The theme of the award changes every year, reflecting Mulvihill’s broad interests in science and its interrelationships with other aspects of human culture and the natural world. She was a regular contributor to The Irish Times.

In addition to the overall award of €2,000, the judges may, at their discretion, make an additional award of €500 for a highly commended entry.

The award is a project of Remembering Mary, an initiative established by family and friends to honour her memory and her work in science journalism, science communication and heritage – and to promote her legacy.

Deadline for submissions is midnight on Friday April 29th, 2022. More information is available at