The competition is now closed - the winners were announced on the Postgrad blog on Monday 4th July.

View the Postgrad blog now>>


Postgrad Teams Up With David McCandless to Announce New Data Visualisation Competition

Win an iPad2 and Signed Copy of Information is Beautiful...


It Started With A Tweet...

Data journalist and information designer, David McCandless recently gathered data revealing surprisingly low numbers of black students accepted into Oxford and Cambridge.  However, despite being genuinely passionate about the data, David didn’t have time to visualise it himself.  So he posted the following message on Twitter...

We contacted David and offered to put up a prize as a competition for the best visualisation of this data. To our delight, David accepted our offer.

Like David, we feel strongly that this data should be made visible to many. And we’re challenging you to do it.

UPDATE:  Although the initial findings related to the number of black students, there's a lot of information within the datasets about the ethnic heritage, and socioeconomic background of students attending different institutions.  You are free to pick out whatever story you wish and present it in a visual format.

Enter Now To Win...

It's easy to enter the competition and you could win:

  • Recognition from our panel of industry experts in journalism, data visualisation and design
  • Your name and work promoted across the web
  • A proud and noteworthy addition to your portfolio, website or CV
  • A full post profiling you and your work, and the design process you followed
  • A signed copy of Information is Beautiful by David McCandless
  • A brand new iPad2

Expert Judges From The BBC, .net Magazine And More...

Assisting David in the judging, we are thrilled to have judges from the BBC, .net Magazine, Tableau Software, Visualising Data, and marketing agency 97 th Floor.

The judges will consider a range of criteria including design, effective visualisation, and presentation of the story.


Andy Kirk, Founder, Visualising Data Ltd

Andy Kirk is the founder and creative lead for Visualising Data Ltd and editor of the blog . Visualising Data Ltd is a design consultancy and training service based in Leeds (UK) offering a wide range of  services to clients wishing to communicate information effectively. provides readers with insights into the skills, techniques, applications and trends around the rapidly emerging world of data visualisation.


Chris Bennett, President, 97 th  Floor

Chris Bennett founded 97th Floor 7 years ago, after years as an independent SEO consultant. 97 th Floor specialise in organic SEO , reputation management and social media/viral marketing.  They have quickly become one of the largest infographic houses creating some of the most popular graphics on the net . They have helped entire companies launch from viral marketing and effective data visualisation.


David McCandless, Author, Information is Beautiful

David is an author, data-journalist and information designer, working across print, advertising, TV and web. His work has appeared internationally in over forty publications including Wired and The Guardian. Recently, he has championed the use of infographics and data visualisation to explore new directions for journalism and design. His  blog  and  book “Information is Beautiful”  are dedicated to visualising ideas, knowledge, and data - with the minimum use of text.


Elissa Fink, VP Marketing, Tableau Software

Elissa Fink is Tableau Software’s Vice President of Marketing. With 20+ years helping companies improve their marketing operations through applied data analysis.  Tableau Software  are one of the leading providers of data visualisation software in the world.  Tableau spun out of Stanford University in 2003 with a system that makes working with data more intuitive. The software allows you to work with data visually, rather than the traditional method of manipulating rows and columns.


Katherine Mann, Director,

Katherine has been in the education field for 14 years, and was previously Group Publishing Director at Hobsons Plc. She has led the British Council Education UK publishing project, launched global student recruitment initiatives with NAFSA and Edexcel, and directed international student recruitment projects for UK boarding schools. Katherine has also worked alongside clients such as UK Visas advising them on research projects, as well as curating events and exhibitions for The British Council.


Rob Bowen, Art Editor, .net Magazine

After surviving several years of vigorous training and cider drinking Rob emerged from the West Country with his full graphic design honours and now has 14 years experience in print and magazine design. With Edge, MacFormat, Digital Camera and now .net magazine experience under his belt he now also parades himself as an illustrator with extensive photographic knowledge. Whether it be print, digital or crayons, Rob has dabbled with the best.


Russell Smith, Editorial Development, BBC News

Russell Smith has worked for the BBC News website for a decade in a number of journalistic roles and now in editorial development. Russell says, "The news business is evolving at breakneck speed - and so are the ways we can tell stories. I strive to ensure we adapt and are able to do this as effectively as possible on different platforms." You can follow Russell on Twitter here.


It's An Open Brief

The competition is based on the data collected by David , and other sources listed within the dataset.  However, you are free to mashup the data with any other source you wish, provided the sources are publicly available and cited in your entry to the competition. 

Your visualisation can be static, moving or interactive

You can include as little or as much text as you like

It can be as simple as a single chart or a full-blown infographic

You've A Good Chance of Winning...

People are often put off entering competitions assuming there will be hundreds of entrants. In reality, this is rarely the case. Simply entering really could put you in the running for a prize. 

There’s a brand new iPad2 for the winner. And the top 3 will receive signed copies of ‘Information is Beautiful’ by David McCandless.

Entries from amateurs and newbies are very much welcome. We’d love to see what you come up with.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. A simple yet effective piece of visualisation could be just the ticket.

And all highly recommended pieces, will receive recognition by our expert panel alongside the winners when results are announced.

Remember The Important Stuff

The competition rules are posted here .

You can grab the data here (be sure to check out the other sources listed within it).

To enter the competition, simply email your visualisation as a jpeg attachment to and include your Full Name and the best email address to reach you on. As an alternative to sending your entry as an attachment, you are welcome to post your entry on your own site, and simply send us the link. In fact, we'd love it if you did that.

If your entry is interactive or moving, you will have to publish it on a separate site (your own site is preferable but social sites like YouTube are perfectly acceptable). Just remember to send us the link.

The competition closes at 11pm GMT on Monday 20th June 2011.

Winners will be announced by Monday 4th July 2011.

The Datasets

You can find the data collected by David McCandless here.

You may also find the following resources useful:

Guardian DataBlog post on Oxbridge Elitism

UCAS Annual Datasets

And Remember, the C ompetition Closes at 11pm GMT on Monday 20th June 2011.

The competition is now closed - winners will be announced on the Postgrad blog on Monday 4th July.

View the postgrad blog now >>

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