MDPI English Writing Prize 2020
Subjects: Linguistics

The MDPI Writing Prize is an annual award supported by MDPI Author Services, which provides services including language editing, reformatting, plagiarism checks. The winners of the 2020 MDPI Writing Prize about the theme “My work and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals” are posted on Encyclopedia. In this competition, we received many excellent submissions from entrants who shared their inspirational and thought-provoking work.

  • English Writing

1. Introduction

Good communication is fundamental to scientific research. With over 20 years’ experience in publishing and research communication, MDPI understands how crucial good writing is. For this reason, we have held the annual MDPI Writing Prize since 2018. It aims to promote clear, high-quality prose that powerfully communicates key scientific concepts.

2. About the Organizer

MDPI ( is a publisher of over 200 scholarly open access journals covering all disciplines. It also offers author services, including English editing, to academic authors ( MDPI aims to support the rapid communication of the latest research through journals, conferences, and other services to the research community.

3. Target User

The competition is open to non-native English speakers who are Ph.D. students or postdoctoral fellows at a research institute.

4. About Awards

Essays of up to 1000 words are invited on the following topic:

“My work and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”

1st prize (one winner): 500 CHF and certificate

2nd prizes (two winners): 250 CHF and certificate

3rd prizes (three winners): 100 CHF and certificate

Submissions should be made via email to with the subject line “MDPI writing prize 2020”. Entries will be judged by the MDPI English Editing Department and evaluated on grammar and spelling, content and overall presentation.

5. Winning Prize

5.1.  From Local to a Universal Commitment to Achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Author: Diogo Guedes Vidal

Affiliation: UFP Energy, Environment and Health Research Unit (FP-ENAS), University Fernando Pessoa (UFP), Praça 9 de Abril 349, 4249-004 Porto, Portugal

Once I start doing research I knew that the main goal was to make things done better. As a young environmental and health sociologist, believing in a more balanced and fair world, the motivation that triggered the passion for research has started since I contacted with the 2030 Agenda [1]. This ambitious and truly inspiring document contains the most powerful message: no one lefts behind. This mote has been, since them, side by side with my research goals and targets. Working in the field of environmental and health justice, namely in the urban green spaces fairly provision across all social groups, independently of their socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic background, is a small step to contribute to the UN 2030 Agenda. More than never, in a world experiencing socioenvironmental challenges, that gain more expression in urban spaces, urban green spaces research should be more intense and based on transdisciplinary approaches. The classic methods and techniques no longer make sense, once the potential to analyse the complex interaction between ecological and social systems is reduced. It is time to develop innovative approaches, to combine different perspectives and methods to be able to pursue this ambitious agenda that represents a global commitment towards a more fair and sustainable world. Urban green spaces are an essential part of SDG 11 [2], thus it is necessary to deeply understand what users feel, believe and expect from these spaces. The current scientific evidence states that these spaces are not fairly distributed within the cities: disadvantage communities are more likely to have less access to urban green spaces with quality than the wealthier ones [3,4]. This is a clear example of an environmental injustice issue that compromises the physical and mental health of these communities, and that does not lead the opportunity to promote social cohesion and empowered public open spaces [5–7]. Within this background, my research aims to contribute to a deep understanding of these dynamics, namely in the city of Porto, a coastal city in the north of Portugal. Many studies have assessed the ecosystem services potential in the urban green spaces of the city, and the conclusions are clear: urban green spaces ecosystem service potential differs from the city area and this relation is mediated by the socioeconomic and environmental vulnerability variables [4,8–10]. These results are extremely important to highlight this complex issue, but something is missing in these approaches, and that is the peoples’ voice. My work aims to fill this gap, to contribute with people perception about the urban green spaces that they visit, about its preferences, motivations and expectations. Science should be made to improve people life and in this case, urban green spaces interventions should fulfil the users, and potential users, expectations. Alongside, this research applies an innovative technique called behavioural mapping [11]. Behavioural mapping joins direct observation and practices mapping, which is a powerful combination to identify patterns of peoples habits, practices and behaviours concerning space. This small contribution from a local city in a small country of the western part of Europe intends to be a “puzzle piece” towards global commitment that we all have been called to assume. At the present, the well know saying “Thing global, acting local” is more comprehensive than never. Small actions can make big things and this should be the mindset. The United Sustainable Development Goals are more than just a vague and political document. It is undeniable that this agenda has changed the way we do science, the way that we publish and write, and, more importantly, the way that we think.


  1. United Nations Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, A/RES/70/1; Geneva, 2015.
  2. Vidal, D.G.; Barros, N.; Maia, R.L. Public and Green Spaces in the Context of Sustainable Development. In Sustainable Cities and Communities, Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals; Leal Filho, W., Azul, A.M., Brandli, L., Özuyar, P.G., Wall, T., Eds.; Springer Nature Switzerland AG: Cham, 2020; pp. 1–9 ISBN 978-3-319-95718-0.
  3. Hoffimann, E.; Barros, H.; Ribeiro, A.I. Socioeconomic inequalities in green space quality and Accessibility—Evidence from a Southern European city. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, doi:10.3390/ijerph14080916.
  4. Vidal, D.G.; Fernandes, C.O.; Viterbo, L.M.F.V.; Vilaça, H.; Barros, N.; Maia, R.L. Combining an Evaluation Grid Application to Assess Ecosystem Services of Urban Green Spaces and a Socioeconomic Spatial Analysis. Int. J. Sustain. Dev. World Ecol. 2020, 1–13, doi:10.1080/13504509.2020.1808108.
  5. Moran, M.; Van Cauwenberg, J.; Hercky-Linnewiel, R.; Cerin, E.; Deforche, B.; Plaut, P. Understanding the relationships between the physical environment and physical activity in older adults: a systematic review of qualitative studies. Int. J. Behav. Nutr. Phys. Act. 2014, 11, 79, doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-79.
  6. Jennings, V.; Bamkole, O. The Relationship between Social Cohesion and Urban Green Space: An Avenue for Health Promotion. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, doi:10.3390/ijerph16030452.
  7. Gao, T.; Zhang, T.; Zhu, L.; Gao, Y.; Qiu, L. Exploring Psychophysiological Restoration and Individual Preference in the Different Environments Based on Virtual Reality. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, doi:10.3390/ijerph16173102.
  8. Graça, M.; Alves, P.; Gonçalves, J.; Nowak, D.J.; Hoehn, R.; Farinha-Marques, P.; Cunha, M. Assessing how green space types affect ecosystem services delivery in Porto, Portugal. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2018, 170, 195–208, doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.10.007.
  9. Vieira, J.; Matos, P.; Mexia, T.; Silva, P.; Lopes, N.; Freitas, C.; Correia, O.; Santos-Reis, M.; Branquinho, C.; Pinho, P. Green spaces are not all the same for the provision of air purification and climate regulation services: The case of urban parks. Environ. Res. 2018, 160, 306–313, doi:
  10. Vidal, D.G.; Fernandes, C.O.; Viterbo, L.M.F.; Barros, N.; Maia, R.L. Healthy Cities to Healthy People: a Grid Application to Assess the Potential of Ecosystems Services of Public Urban Green Spaces in Porto, Portugal. Eur. J. Public Health 2020, 30, ckaa040.050, doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckaa040.050.
  11. Ng, C.F. Behavioral mapping and tracking. In Research Methods for Environmental Psychology; Gifford, R., Ed.; John Wiley & Sons: Nova Jersey, 2015; pp. 29–51 ISBN 9781119162124.
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