Canadian students win SciShops Pitch Challenge

Brianna Wilson and Sonia Zawitkowski from Canada have been selected winners of the SciShops Pitch Challenge. Brianna and Sonia are MA students at the Research Facility for Women’s Health and Wellbeing in the Department of Psychology at the University of Guelph. They won the competition with their accomplished and informative video, presenting the unique community-based research which they undertook examining how financial abuse, as a form of intimate partner violence, manifests in the Toronto Area.   

The SciShops Pitch Challenge competition invited contestants from Europe and across the world to present a short video (maximum of 3 minutes) about a societal research project run together with partners in their local community. The video had to be original, creative and demonstrate the impact of the project. The judges were also looking for passion and enthusiasm motivating the project as well as how it impacted local communities. The winning video can be viewed below and those of the other finalists can be viewed at



There were many good entries but, for the three competition judges, Guelph University was the clear winner. The three judges, Anders Sahlman, Project and Communications Manager at VA (Public & Science), Carlos Perez Garcia, Communications Officer at the European Students’ Union, and Anna Saif, an academic and media expert, who works for both SciCo Cyprus and CAUS (the Centre for Arab Unity), were unanimous in their decision. The video presented by Brianna and Sonia scored highest across all scoring criteria. The judges particularly highlighted the good storytelling, variety of contributors (including institutions, researchers, service providers and poignant testimonials from victims), as well as logical structure and production values, which made the video engaging to a wide range of audiences.


The winning team will have their expenses covered to attend the SciShops Symposium in Italy on 30-31 January 2020, where their video will be screened and they will have the opportunity to discuss their project with participants. The Symposium is organised by the Horizon 2020 SciShops project  and provides a platform for skills development, knowledge exchange and networking within the field of Science Shops and community-based participatory research (CBPR).


The winners would like to acknowledge the following people who made their research possible and who participated in the video:

  • Lieran Docherty – Program Manager at the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (our community partner)
  • Harmy Mendoza – Executive Director at the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto
  • Melissa Tanti – Community Engaged Learning Coordinator at the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute
  • Dr. Paula Barata – Associate Professor at the University of Guelph (Research Facility for Women’s Health and Wellbeing)
  • Emma Currie – Research Assistant at the University of Guelph (Research Facility for Women’s Health and Wellbeing).