This is a research project of run by the University of St Andrews. The University attaches high priority to the ethical conduct of research. We therefore ask you to read and understand the following points before signing up to to take part in our contests. Clicking ‘Accept’ below confirms that you consent to participate in the study.

Project title

St Andrews MATLAB Contest

What is the study about?

We invite you to participate in an online competition that involves solving a programming problem. The data will be used in research as part of a PhD thesis in the School of Biology.

Do I have to take Part?

This information has been written to help you decide if you would like to take part. It is up to you and you alone whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part you will be free to withdraw at any time without providing a reason. Disclaimer: We reserve the right to deactivate users after appropriate warning in case of signs of malicious activity such as attempts to compromise the contest machinery, or overwhelming the queue, or other activity contrary to the spirit of the contests.

What would I be required to do?

Once your account is registered, we will email you the details of upcoming contests. To participate, you submit MATLAB solutions to the contest problem through the web interface you are creating this account on. You can add as many or as few solutions as you would like. You will be able to see solutions other people have entered, along with their usernames, and your solutions will also be available for others to see, along with your username. Your involvement can vary from merely watching other participants to full participation throughout the whole 7 days of one or more contests. In addition, by posting your contributions you confirm that all intellectual property rights in the content posted belong to you,, and you grant the University of St Andrews the right to use, reproduce, modify, publish, and distribute the content for the purposes of research communication (statistical analysis, and communication with peers such as conference presentations, student theses, and academic publications).

Will my participation be Anonymous and Confidential?

We recommend you choose a username that cannot be used to identify you. This username will be displayed on contest leaderboards and associated with your code submissions during the contests. Only the named researcher and supervisor will have access to the information linking your username to the email address you provide, and once the experiment is over and a short debrief emailed to you, we will delete our record of your email address. The data we store from that point will be fully anonymised and confidential, and it will be accessible only by the researcher and supervisor involved in this study.

Storage and Destruction of Data Collected

Your data will be stored, in an anonymised format on an encrypted and password-protected computer system, for a period of at least 5 years before being destroyed.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

The initial experiments will be written up as part of Elena Miu’s PhD thesis. The results may then be published in scholarly journals and disseminated at professional scientific conferences and public engagement events. You may email us at any point to ask about the results once you participation is finished, although bear in mind it will take us several months to complete the analysis.


There will be several MATLAB branded t-shirts available as prizes awarded at different stages throughout the contest, as detailed in the Contest Information material that will be provided for each contest.

Are there any potential risks to taking part?

There are no specific risks involved with this study. Nonetheless, if you feel you have been affected in any way by taking part, we invite you to discuss your concerns with the researchers. Additionally, a full outline of the procedures governed by the University Teaching and Research Ethical Committee is available at


Feel free to contact us at any time over email if you have any questions.

Consent and Approval

This research proposal has been scrutinised and approved by the St Andrews University Teaching and Research Ethics Committee (UTREC:

Contact Details

Researcher: Elena Miu

Contact Details:

Supervisor: Dr. Luke Rendell

Contact Details:; (44)(0)1334 463499

Your Registration Details

By clicking ‘Accept’ I confirm that I have read and understood the information sheet. I understand that I can withdraw from the study at any point, and that only the researchers will have access to my data, which will be stored confidentially in an anonymised format for 5 years before being destroyed. I agree to take part in this study.