Last year's winning greeting card design
Last year's winning greeting card design. Image: Kira F. Robinson/Office of the Vice President, Research.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

We found out how students can get their artwork featured on the annual holiday greeting card.

What does innovation look like to you? 

If it looks like something that can go on the front of a holiday card, then you might win $2,000. 

While spending more time indoors due to COVID-19, many students have dusted off old paint pallets and drawing pencils to revisit and immerse themselves in old hobbies. 

Whether you are a seasoned painter or a beginner doodler, this greeting card contest put on by the University of Ottawa’s Office of the Vice President, Research (OVPR) could be a chance to unleash your inner artist and maybe even grow your bank account.

First founded by Dr. Mona Nemer in 2007 (who is now the Chief Science Advisor of Canada),  the contest has been designed as an initiative to bring the arts and sciences together, and for the past fourteen years, has produced winners from all different faculties. The 2019 winner was Kira. F Robinson from the faculty of social sciences.

The contest allows students of any faculty to submit up to three creative drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc. of what innovation means to them. Applicants must also include a short paragraph to accompany their artwork describing how it ties together with the theme of innovation. The winning artwork will be purchased for $2,000 and placed on the front of all holiday greeting cards sent by the OVPR. 

The Fulcrum spoke with Monique Roy-Sole, director of communications and marketing, research at the U of O, to get insider knowledge and tips for making a great submission. 

When asked to offer advice and tips for students looking to submit to the contest, Roy-Sole wanted to encourage students to send in well thought-out submissions. 

“Put thought into your written paragraph, let your imagination go, and remember the end product goes on a holiday card, so keep that in mind,” she said.  

You may be wondering: do you need to be a modern-day Picasso to enter? And the answer is no. Of course, though, it helps to tap into your creative side and think outside the box. 

The winners will be selected by a U of O professor from the visual arts department and a curator from the Ottawa Art Gallery, said Roy-Sole. Both art critics sifted through over 100 submissions last year, which was their biggest year yet; however they are always welcoming more. 

Roy-Sole recognizes the broadness of the term “innovation” and encourages students from all disciplines to take advantage of the opportunity; whether you are a student in engineering or English, there is an opportunity to win and showcase your interpretation of what innovation means to you. 

“All students can join!” 

If you want to enter the contest here’s everything you need to know:

  • The contest is available to all current full-time and part-time students. You can submit up to three art pieces to
  • You must include a short paragraph explaining how your work illustrates innovation.
  • The deadline to submit is Nov. 2, 2020.


  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper