Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses will be awarding a new national sculpture prize for artists.

The Plants and People - Partners for Life-theme competition will be looking for a sculptor who demonstrates originality and excellence in the outdoor sculpture field, whose art work will enhance the gardens and will be designed from suitable material for an exterior display.

The winner will receive a £750 prize and a £2,500 contribution to the construction costs of a sculpture, which will be put on long-term display as a major garden feature.

Hilary Hall, Birmingham Botanical Gardens chairman of the trustees, said: "It is hoped that this competition will become an annual event and provide the gardens with an exciting sculpture trail." Potential applicants must be UK or Ireland citizens, who are final year undergraduates or practising artists who graduated from a recognised art school in the last 15 years.

They will be expected to provide a concept outline, budget details, drawings and a CV by December 31.

A panel of judges will shortlist a maximum of five sculptors, who will be asked to further develop their proposals, create a maquette no smaller than 50cm tall, produce a construction schedule and give detailed costing of their planned project by March 31 next year.

The shortlisted projects will then be exhibited in the Botanical Gardens' Lawn Aviary Concourse.

A winner will be selected at a presentation ceremony at the end of 2006.