The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

Koch Institute Image Awards

KI Public Galleries

About the Competition

The Koch Institute Image Awards seek to recognize the extraordinary visuals that are produced through life sciences and biomedical research at MIT. Such images serve as windows into otherwise invisible biological worlds. They exemplify the exchange of ideas between science and engineering – an interplay that is integral to the Koch Institute's approach to cancer research. Simply put, these visuals are beautiful and thought-provoking.

Winning images will be exhibited in the large (nearly 8-foot) backlit square and circular displays at the Koch Institute Public Galleries. The images will be prominently visible to passersby on Main Street and visitors to the Koch Institute website. Materials within the Galleries and on the web will engage visitors in the stories, people, and research behind the images.

See previous winners (and runners-up!) at


The submission period for the 2018 Image Awards has ended, and all winners have been notified of their awards. The 2018 Image Awards exhibition will open to the public on March 9, 2018. Submissions for the 2019 Image Awards will open summer 2018.


Any MIT students, faculty, staff, or affiliates may submit images. MIT community members at the Broad Institute and the Whitehead Institute are also eligible, as are MIT collaborators at other universities, hospitals, and private companies. Submitted images from such affiliates must have been created as part of an active collaboration with an MIT laboratory.

Submissions may be any visuals generated through the contributor’s own research, including micrographs, renderings, and any other forms of data. Submissions must relate to the life sciences, but may do so by depicting any number of subjects using any number of imaging/visualization technologies. High resolution images are required for display in the Public Galleries.

Each contributor may submit no more than five images during each competitive cycle. Image release and copyright disclosure forms will be required of all winners; any contributor submitting images whose copyright is not owned by MIT (Note: as a rule, MIT holds copyright on all images taken on MIT equipment, unless otherwise specified by the funder) will need to fill out an image release form granting MIT permission to display and reproduce these images as part of the Koch Institute Image Awards. Although we strongly encourage contributors to submit new images each year, non-winning images from previous years' competitions may be resubmitted once.

Enter the Competition

To enter, send your image(s) and the accompanying image information form(s) to Please provide the highest resolution version of your image(s) whenever possible, preferably in uncompressed .tif format (Dropbox/Google Drive links accepted). Do NOT upsample. Images with insufficient resolution will not be presented to the judges for review. Historically speaking, it has been very difficult to produce museum-quality display from images less than 1024 pixels on a side; however, the most successful enlargements have come from images with 2400-3000 or more pixels on a side (8-10 inches at 300 dpi).

Image Selection

Images will be judged by a panel representing a wide range of STEAM disciplines and organizations. Recent judges have included Paula Apsell and Dan Hart, WGBH; Leanne Burden Seidel and Paula Nelson, The Boston Globe; Jonathan Christison and Deborah Sweet, Cell Press; Catherine Draycott, The Wellcome Trust; John Durant, MIT Museum; Carrie Fitzsimmons, ArtScience Labs and Le Laboratorie Cambridge; Andrea Frank, MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology; Felice Frankel, MIT Center for Materials Science and Engineering; Janis Fraser, Fish & Richardson P.C.; Bethany Millard, Phosphorous Productions; Mary Schneider Enriquez, Harvard Art Museums; Iain Cheeseman and Wendy Salmon, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; previous award-winners and current MIT faculty members.


As a result of a partnership launched in 2011, each Koch Institute Image Awards exhibition also features one image from the Wellcome Images at the Wellcome Trust. To learn more about the Wellcome Image Awards, visit their website.

Images from the Koch Institute Image Awards have also appeared in the Cell Picture Show hosted by Cell Press, the Hall of Human Life at the Museum of Science, Boston, and Image of the Day hosted by The Scientist magazine.

Image Information Form

Download the 2018 information form

This form must accompany all submitted images. Contributors submitting multiple images of the same subject matter may use one form for all of them. If the content or information is significantly different across two or more images, please submit different forms for each. Multiple forms may be combined into a single document separated by page breaks, or sent as multiple files.