Sponsored by Janssen Research and Development
Please note these rules do not apply to the European Science Writer of the Year Award, see separate information and guidance re making your nominations for this award
The Awards are for works of science journalism/science writing in print, broadcast or online published within the UK or Ireland and are intended for British and Irish based journalists/writers or those working for audiences in these two countries. You do NOT need to be an ABSW member to enter.
The Awards are for individual journalists/writers, or teams of up to four, rather than for the organisation, institution, employer or publisher. (Exceptions to this rule apply see specific guidance for each category below.)
The Awards are for science journalists/writers whose work is published or broadcast and is accessible to the general public (in the case of the IOP Student Science Publication Award it is accepted that the audience may be restricted to a particular institution rather than available to the general public).
Books (published or online) do not qualify for any of the award categories.
The Awards are for journalism/science writing in science and technology (excluding consumer technology) and do not cover items exclusively concerning health or medical treatment.
Entries must have been first published or broadcast between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2015 inclusive. The cover date on the issue in which an article appears will be considered the date of publication. The date/time of posting will be considered for online articles, podcasts, blogs. The date/time of first broadcast will be considered for radio or television. For a series, the item submitted for the Awards must fall within these dates.
Judges of the ABSW Awards 2016 may not enter the ABSW Awards 2016.
The judges reserve the right to reallocate an entry to a category different from the one in which it has been entered, as well as the right to withhold an award in any category. The decision of the judges in all matters will be final. The judges will not provide individual advice or feedback to entrants.
Entries for the 2016 awards opened on Wed 10 February 2016 and closed at midnight on Wed 16 March 2016.
The shortlist will be announced in June. Shortlisted entrants (all members of a team) will be invited to attend the awards ceremony to be held at the 3rd European Conference of Science Journalists in Manchester. There is no shortlist for the Lifetime Achievement Award, the winner will be chosen by the ABSW Executive Board and they will be notified in advance in order to make arrangements to attend the Awards Ceremony.
Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony, winners will not be notified in advance.
Expenses are not available to cover accommodation and/or travel for shortlisted entrants/winners to attend the awards ceremony.
Guidelines for filling out the online form:
Do read the guidelines first before completing the form.
The judges will focus on the quality of journalism/writing and will look for originality, style and flair in all categories. Entrants can summarise their entry and indicate the impact of their work on their entry form.
The awards are for individuals or a team (see specific category rules for exceptions to this rule). No more than four names should be included per entry and these should only be the names of those primarily responsible for the quality, clarity and originality of the content presented. The role of the entrant in the origination of the entry must be stated on the entry form and any collaborators must consent to the submission of the entry. Whoever completes the application form will be considered the corresponding (and lead) author and will take responsibility for the fair disbursement of prize money.
Individuals or teams can only enter ONCE in each award category, but individuals or teams may submit entries for a number of different award categories (entering one piece in news and one piece in features, for example).
Only one article, clip or programme PER CATEGORY may be submitted by an entrant or team. If the entry is part of a series, this can be indicated on the application form. (For exceptions to this rule see specific category rules below).
A separate entry form should be used for each entry.
Important Information on File Formats/Submission of Entries
TV Programmes/Online Video:
Printed Student Science Publications:
All entries that include radio programmes or podcasts must be submitted in mp3 format. Only entries under 10MB may be uploaded via the entry form. For larger files these may either be submitted by post or by dropbox or other large file transfer system. Those who wish to submit material larger than 10MB must still submit an online form.
You are encouraged to submit your material in plenty of time, however, if you need to arrange to courier items please contact Sallie Robins on 07733 330344
Specific guidance relating to individual categories:
The best feature (words only: print or online)
The award is for a science or technology feature published in any print medium or online. Only one item may be submitted, although this feature may be part of a series. If this is the case this should be indicated on the entry form. The judges will be looking for excellent writing and substantial science reporting. Submit online by uploading a Word or PDF file.
The best news item (words only: print or online)
The award is for a science or technology news item published in any print medium or online. The award is for a single news item rather than a series of items. Entrants should explain on their entry form why it should be considered in this category eg: breaking news story, first in-depth report. Judges will be looking for evidence that the story is new to the relevant audience. Judges will also look for excellent writing and original reporting. Submit online by uploading a Word or PDF file.
The best scripted/edited TV programme or online video
The award will be judged on the quality of science reporting demonstrated through the script and programme content and will be made to the individual or team responsible for the content of the script/programme. The award is for a programme where science or technology is the primary issue covered. The award can be for a single programme or a series, although only one item in the series can be entered for judging. Submission by post after completion of the online form. DVD format. Or if readily available online throughout judging process by URL. (Please scroll back for 'important information on file formats')
The Royal Society Radio Prize: A prize for the best scripted/edited radio programme or podcast.
The award will be judged on the quality of science reporting demonstrated through the script and programme content and will be made to the individual or team responsible for the content of the script/programme. The award is for a programme (or podcast) where science or technology is the primary issue covered. The award can be for a single programme or series, although only one item in the series can be entered for judging. Submit as mp3 format either online, by post, or dropbox or other large file transfer system, after completing online form, depending on file size. (Please scroll back for 'important information on file formats')
The best investigative journalism (any format).
This category is for any form of journalism, print, online, broadcast, podcast, or blog on a scientific issue. Entrants are expected to have undertaken an in depth investigation into a topic of interest and produced a conclusion. The ABSW anticipates entries that may have involved lengthy or complicated evidence gathering, and entrants should indicate any difficulties involved in this work on their entry form. It is also anticipated that the entrant should have pursued an issue that others do not want the audience to know about. The award can be for a single item or a series of items, although only one item in the series can be entered for judging. (Please scroll back for 'important information on file formats')
The NUJ Stephen White Award for best communication and reporting of science in a non science context.
The award will recognise a journalist or team of journalists who have reported science on any platform in a way that when they are reporting science make complicated scientific ideas accessible to the non-specialist general public. The Award will celebrate the achievements of science journalists who use their skills in covering science for a non-specialist audience. Science publications and programmes, or science sections of publications are not eligible (eg: New Scientist, Eureka - The Times, Material World – BBC Radio, Bang Goes the Theory – BBC TV). The entry can be in any format. If the entry is part of a series then it will be judged on one submitted episode only. The Award is made in memory of Stephen White a highly influential science communicator who sadly died in 2010. This Award is made in memory of Stephen White a highly influential science communicator who sadly died in 2010. The Award is possible due to a donation from Stephen’s widow Elizabeth. (Please scroll back for 'important information on file formats')
The best newcomer award
This award is for individuals only and not for teams. There are no age restrictions for this award. But the entrant should have published their first piece of journalism within the last three years (so for 2016 Awards between Jan 1 2013 and Dec 31 2015). Entrants should be currently working in science and technology journalism, either freelance or staff, full-time or part-time. Entrants should use the Summary of Entry area of the form to outline their relevant achievements, and why they deserve the award. FOUR samples of work are required to support this statement (the general rules on time of publication/broadcast apply to ALL these samples ie: they must have been published or first broadcast between 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015 inclusive) . The judges will be looking for evidence of initiative and career progression. (Please scroll back for 'important information on file formats')
The IOP student science publication award
Sponsored by IOP Publishing and the Institute of Physics
The Award will recognise and reward student journalists who produce a regular popular science publication ie: newspaper or magazine, either in print or online.
The Award will be for a specific magazine/publication rather than for an individual and will be made to the editor of that publication, although the award will of course recognise and reward the skill of all those emerging science journalists and editors who contribute to the publication.
As with all other ABSW awards the judges will focus on the quality of journalism/science writing and will look for originality, style and flair. The publication will be judged on its content (i.e. emerging skills in science writing and journalism; creativity in choice of content; and appropriate content for target audience) and the way the content is presented (i.e. the overall design, look and feel and layout)
Only one issue of the publication must be entered and the Award will be judged on this issue alone. This issue of the publication must have been published within the appropriate calendar year for the Awards (see main rules above). If the publication exists in printed form then the online form needs to be completed and the publication submitted by post (see guidelines above on file formats). Publications that only exist online will need to include a link to the appropriate issue in the entry form (see guidelines above on file formats). If the online publication is not produced as distinct issues, then a month’s time frame should be selected and all content published within that time frame will form part of the judging process.
The Editor of the publication must make the entry on behalf of all contributors and will be the named entrant. In the event of winning; the Award will be made to the individual named on the entry form. In the Summary of Entry part of the online entry form the Editor should provide the names and posts of the full editorial team of the publication, and details of the history and background to the publication (i.e. date of first ever issue, circulation figures, funding, intended audience).
The best student science blog award
The Award is for student science bloggers who produce a regular science blog. The Award will be judged based on a specific blog post rather than for the blog overall. Only one article should be submitted via the online entry form for judging. Submission is by upload of a word or PDF file of the blog post. Students are classified as those studying full time or part time for an undergraduate, or postgraduate degree.
The Awards are for individuals only rather than teams.
Scientists winning this award will be offered media skills training through the Dr Katharine Giles Award.
The Dr Katharine Giles Science Blog Award
The Award is for a regularly produced science blog. The Award can be entered by an individual or a team (up to four named individuals – see main rules on teams) and is for the blog overall rather than for a specific post/article. Up to five blog posts can be submitted via the online entry form for judging the overall quality of the blog (all must have been first posted in the relevant entry year – see main rules). Submission is by upload of a word or PDF file of the blog post (s). (Please see separate award for students if you are a student science blogger)
Scientists winning this award will offered media skills training through the Dr Katharine Giles Award.
Now you have read the rules and regulations please complete your entry form. (NB: entries for 2016 have now closed)
Lifetime Achievement award
Lifetime Achievement awards are granted in some years by the ABSW Executive Board, the Award is not made by self entry (as for all other Awards) but by nomination of an individual to the ABSW Executive. There is no cash prize associated with this award.
The Lifetime achievement award is made to an individual nearing the end of their career, or who is retired (the Award may also be made posthumously). The award celebrates the work of a journalist or writer whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting excellence and creativity in science journalism/science writing. The recipient is recognised for entertaining and informing audiences, and/or for inspiring new generations of journalists and writers, and/or for making a lasting impact in their main area of expertise (i.e. could be within broadcasting, popular science writing, blogging for example). Nominations are requested from ABSW members and should include a statement outlining why the individual meets the criteria above. The ABSW Executive Board receives nominations and makes a final decision on who should receive the Award. It is entirely within the Executive Board’s discretion as to whether or not the Lifetime achievement award should be made in that year.
Nominations for this award have now closed (midnight Wed 16 March 2016.)