The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) aims to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of science, engineering and technology in South Africa. SAASTA is business Unit of the National Research Foundation.

Developed in conjunction with


SA Science Lens

The Southern African Science Lens competition is running again in 2015. Entries will close on 11 December 2015. 

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For some inspiration, view the list of the 2013 competition winners.

Submit your entries here or download the entry form here (PDF).

Southern African Science Lens
Several rounds of the popular Southern African Science Lens science photography competition have been conducted since 2002 and both professional and amateur photographers have entered wonderful images, illustrating and communicating the excitement and impact of science. The competition, the only of its kind in Southern Africa, is open to all residents in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

About the competition

The challenge
Never let your camera (or your smartphone) leave your side… Capture stunning, dramatic, spectacular images related to science and technology. It may explain something about science in our everyday lives, show something the human eye never sees, or simply be an attention-grabbing image of the beauty of science.

The 2015 competition will have two legs:

1) The traditional photographic competition, is open to scientists, science communicators and scienece enthusiasts, as well as professional photographers and amateurs with an enthusiasm for science and technology. Researchers and scientists are encouraged to participate to open a window into the world of their science we may never otherwise see.

Send us your original images from all aspects of science: nanotechnology, biotechnology, space science, hydrogen and fuel cell technology, biology, medicine, physics, astronomy, chemistry, technology, engineering, earth sciences, mathematics or any other field of science, engineering or technology.

Short-listed entries and winning photographs will be published and will be displayed by SAASTA at public science events and in science centres all over the African continent.

2) An Instagram competition, open to all ages and encourages all to find and appreciate science in their everyday lives.

Publish and tag your photos on Instagram and you could win. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for information on and updates to the competition.




Capture science as it happens, either in the natural world or in the workplace of scientists, doctors, researchers, etc. Please note that this excludes nature photography that does not depict a specific event of scientific importance. Images can be taken using standard film/digital camera equipment, scientific equipment, or specialist photographic techniques such as time lapse/stroboscopic/high speed photography.


Images should reveal aspects of science that cannot be seen with the naked eye and can be taken with macro lenses or by using techniques such as microscopy, x-ray, satellite or astronomical photography, magnetic resonance imaging, etc.


Produce images that illustrate the beauty of science or show natural subjects in abstract ways. Images entered should be able to stand alone as a work of art and will be judged on their aesthetic values only. Images can be taken with film/digital camera or scientific equipment and can be computer-enhanced or manipulated. The entrant must have copyright of all the elements used in the artwork.


2015 is the United Nation's International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies. This theme is very relevant to photography due to the impact of light in the art. It offers an opportunity for an array of photographs depicting the influence and impact of light-based technologies. For more information, visit the International Year of Light website.


How to enter

Entries to the traditional photographic competition can be done by post, email or online. All images must be accompanied by an entry form. Entry forms will be made available soon.



What's in it for you?
Great cash prizes are up for grabs!

The winner of each of the categories of the traditional competition will win R10 000, and runners up will be awarded R5000.
The Instagram competition will be awarding data bundles as prizes.


The competition is organised and sponsored by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), a business unit of the South African National Research Foundation. SAASTA is dedicated to engaging people with science and technology.




2007 winner
Photographer: Simon van Noort
Title: Splendid cuckoo wasp
A close-up shot of the thorax of a splendid cuckoo wasp.


2005 winner
Photographer: Lambert Smith
Title: Green eyed monster?
A close-up of a robber fly (Asilidae) showing iridescent green eyes and robust proboscis.


2009 winner
Photographer: Ms Camilla Floros
Title: Coral polyp mouth
Description: This is a macro shot showing the mouth of a coral polyp surrounded by tentacles. Corals are actually animals and not plants as many people think. They have tiny algae cells that live in their tissue. These algae cells are called zooxanthellae and provide the corals with nutrients. Corals also feed via their tentacles, which have stinging cells that are lethal to tiny prey. Despite the tiny size of individual corals, they are the building blocks of coral reefs and are responsible for building the largest living structure on earth, the Great Barrier Reef. Corals are under threat due to global climate change. This coral is one of many that are being grown in a research aquarium. The aim is to cultivate corals in aquaria to reduce the pressure of collecting colonies from the wild and disturbing the coral reefs.


2004 Winner
Photographer: Miranda Waldron
Title: Life on a sundew
Description: This is an image of a small fly caught in the sticky covering on a sundew leaf.







Competition Rules


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