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ABSW Event: In conversation with Professor Sir Mark Walport

Latest news:   Read about it in tweets - Storify now published

The Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) and Science Museum Lates present:

In conversation with Professor Sir Mark Walport 

19.00- 20.00, Wednesday 29 October, Science Museum (FREE) 
In his first 18 months as government chief scientific advisor, Professor Sir Mark Walport has faced his share of controversial science topics. Channel 4 science editor Tom Clarke asks him to reflect on his time on the job so far and asks where he sees science advice going as the government tries to recover from the recession.
From badger culling to the potential take-over of Astra Zeneca, Sir Mark has advised the government on numerous scientific issues. He will discuss the highlights and the challenges of his job to date, look at what he could have done differently and where there are improvements to be made.
In a brief lecture and conversation with Tom Clarke, Sir Mark will tackle the big questions of science policy and research funding in a post-recession government.
He will consider how science advice can help keep politicians’ decisions in the public eye, rather than in the dark corridors of Whitehall, how and when to use evidence-based policymaking and whether the voices of scientific advisors are heard across government.
This will be follows by a Q&A session from the audience, where you will get the chance to put your own burning questions to Sir Mark.
The event will be introduced and chaired by journalist and broadcaster Roger Highfield, who is Director of External Affairs at the National Museum of Science and Industry.
Run by the ABSW and Science Museum Lates, it's a great chance to come along and ask Mark Walport, the government's chief scientific advisor some burning questions, and you can spend the rest of the evening enjoying the other events on offer
Bookings now open


ABSW Panel Debate on Investigative Journalism - live blog

Video to follow...


Here's some of the follow-up we've found on Twitter at #abswij

and indeed it seems that the follow up was well deserved...

And do we now have a new member?

A point raised by Josh Howgego that is echoed in many places... the curse of the unpaid internship...

Here's a point well made...

And this is a very interesting point (something to follow up on?)

And of course, Rory's bagels... is this investigative tech/sci journalism?

Finally of course some big announcements about science-based investigative journalism...

Have you got other thoughts on this event? Let us know here: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ABSW Panel Debate on Investigative Journalism

The live blog for this event will kick off at 6:45pm Wednesday 5th March.

The Association of British Science Writers and City University present:

Panel Debate on Investigative Journalism

Wednesday 5 March, 7pm

City University, London

What place does investigative journalism have in today’s newsrooms? Is it in danger of becoming something only specialist publications can afford? And how can science writers use investigative reporting to their advantage?

Join a panel of journalists, editors and commentators as they ask how reporters can deliver hard-hitting investigative stories when faced with increasingly pressing time constraints, fewer resources and legal issues.

This event marks the launch of the ABSW’s investigative fellowships, which will provide financial support for a journalist experienced in investigative journalism to carry out a detailed investigation. The ABSW hopes this will be an annual award, but this will be reviewed after the first round. See ABSW website for more information.


Deborah Cohen – Investigations editor, British Medical Journal

Steve Connor – Science editor, The Independent, and winner of 2012 ABSW investigative journalism award

Connie St Louis - Director, City University Science Journalism MA, BBC broadcast journalist and former ABSW president

Other panellists TBC


Ehsan Masood - Editor, Research Fortnight

Event details

Date: Wednesday 5 March 2014

Time: 6.30pm for 7.00pm start

Venue: City University London,

The event is free, but registration is essential.


AGM Set for Thursday 27 March 2014

The date of the ABSW AGM will be Thursday 27th March 2014.   Of course further reminders and details will follow but for those who like to forward plan then you can put this date in the diary.   It will be an evening meeting in London, venue tbc.   The AGM is a key meeting at which the members of the Board are elected and the President reports on the year's activities along with presentation of the accounts and a report from the ABSW auditors.   For more on the governance of the ABSW see the newly posted Memorandum, Articles and Standing Orders.  

Biosciences for Farming in Africa invite you to an evening social in London


Biosciences for Farming in Africa invite you to meet some of Africa's leading journalists in London
During mid-May, 20 of Africa's leading journalists with an interest in science will be visiting the UK as guests of Biosciences for Farming in Africa ( On Wednesday 15 after a tour of the BBC, we will be holding an informal networking meeting for ABSW members upstairs at The Captain's Cabin you are most welcome to attend (see below for full details). This will be a unique opportunity to make contacts, share experiences and learn about the exciting world of journalism in Africa which is being revolutionised by the widespread use of smart phones, along with continuing growth in traditional radio and print media.
Date: Wednesday 15 May 2013
Time: 18:00 onwards
Venue: The Captains Cabin (upstairs room exclusively booked for this event), 4-7 Norris St  London, London, SW1Y 4RJ
Buffet and drinks provided courtesy of Biosciences for Farming in Africa 
If you can join us for the event please let us know via this very short form: 
There is no need to reply if you are unable to attend.
NB:  This event has kindly been offered as an opportunity for ABSW members to meet their African colleagues by Richard Hayhurst, Director of Communications for Biosciences for Farming in Africa.    The event is funded by Biosciences for Farming in Africa.  

Event: Tipping Points: public perception and policy - POSTPONED



***EVENT POSTPONED - New event date will be published as soon as possible***



The Association of British Science Writers and Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) present

Tipping Points: public perception and policy


When it comes to the consequences of climate change, few are more dramatic than tipping points, where seemingly small shifts trigger larger, often irreversible, changes.


Scientists from many disciplines have been researching issues around sea level rises, ice melt and tipping points. But how does, and how should, their research influence policy?

The Association of British Science Writers and Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) are bringing together a panel, including broadcasters, researchers and policymakers to discuss this question.

There will also be a chance before the event to have a private view of the Royal Geographical Society’s Collections, with a showcase of highlights from the Society’s unique Collections, including examples of how they are used by scientists today to support contemporary research.

The event is free, but registration is essential: please register here


Event details:


Venue - Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR. (Entrance on Kensington Gore) 


Event schedule:

5:30 – Private showcase of the RGS-IBG collections (limited space – priority given to speakers and ABSW members)

6:00 – Rest of event audience arrive

6:30 – Panel event start

8:00 – Event finish. The ABSW invite you to post-event drinks at the Queen’s Arms (30 Queen's Gate Mews, London, SW7 5QL)




Event: Pecha Kucha Night with City University, London - Tuesday, 12th March, 7pm


The Association of British Science Writers and The Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training present:

Pecha Kucha Night with City University, London

Tuesday 12th March, 7pm

20 images X 20 seconds

Come and listen to six practicing scientists and engineers—who have no control over how long they take on each of their slides—talk about their work in all areas of energy research.

Pecha Kucha events are informal evenings where presenters describe their work using only 20 images, each for only 20 seconds.

There will be plenty of time for questions, as well as drinks and conversation in the local pub. (We’ll even buy you a pint!)



• Conaill Soraghan, University of Strathclyde, will tell us why wind turbines could look very different offshore

• Philippa Usher, University of Leeds, will talk about growing biofuel using algae

• Wasim Bhatti, Loughborough University, will discuss integration of hydrogen fuel cells into unmanned aerial vehicles and their future

• Tom Demetriades, University of Nottingham, will speak about transport for Carbon Capture and Storage

• Mike Fell, University College London, discussing children’s role in home energy use

 Ruth Bush, University of Leeds, UK District heating - What are we waiting for?


Event details:

Date:     Tuesday 12th March 2013 
Time:    6:45pm for 7:00pm start
Venue:  Room DLG03, Social Sciences Building, City University, London (five minutes walk   from Angel Tube Station)

The event is free, but registration is essential.  Please register your interest using the following form:-


Event: ‘The Invisible Revealing of the Dangerously Beautiful’ - Symposium at the AAAS Annual Meeting, Boston - 17th Feb'13

Limited Student Bursaries available

In celebration of the Bragg centenary, Diamond Light Source - the UK's national sychrotron - have arranged a symposium at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston on the 17th February.

The Invisible Revealing of the Dangerously Beautiful’ will explore the impact of Bragg’s law and advances in X-ray science over the past century.

There will be a plethora of other events and lectures taking place on the day; and this is an opportunity to be involved with one of the most exciting science events of the year.

For those of you with students who may be interested, we have a limited number of student bursaries available for the event. The bursary covers the cost of attendance at the AAAS for the 17th February, and the day pass entitles holders to enter other events taking place on that day within the conference. For more information, please visit

If you or your students are interested in attending then please do get in touch.

 Warm wishes,

 Mary Cruse, Press and PR Officer
 (44)1235 778548
 Diamond Light Source
 Diamond House
 Harwell Science & Innovation Campus
 Didcot, Oxon

 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 Tel: + 44 (0) 1235 778548

Event: Communicate 2012: Breaking Boundaries: The Next Ten Years for People and Nature, 24/25th Oct

Communicate 2012 – Breaking Boundaries: The Next Ten Years for People and Nature

24/25 October 2012

Brunel’s Old Station, Central Bristol

Communicate is the UK’s leading conference for environmental communicators, bringing together a blend of NGOs, media professionals, green business leaders, academics and policy makers. With over 100 different organisations represented each year, Communicate gives delegates the opportunity to stay informed on the crucial current debates in the sector, share best practice, hear from inspirational speakers, and get direct feedback on their own communication campaigns.

Join us for our tenth anniversary as we break the boundaries of environmental communication – crossing the barriers to engagement; challenging the boundaries between sectors; overcoming the gap between awareness and action – and look ahead to the next ten years for people and nature.

• Keynote speeches from David Shukman, BBC Science Editor, broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Halls, and Wendy Darke, recently appointed Head of the BBC Natural History Unit.
• The Carnegie Challenge Debate: Head versus Heart – Changing Behaviour or Influencing Core Values – our expert panel debate different approaches to environmental communication, with panellists, John Thøgersen, Theresa Marteau, Ed Gillespie and Richard Hawkins.
• The Next Ten Years for People and Nature – inspirational visions of the future and how to achieve them, with speakers Chris Baines, Rob Hopkins and Keri Facer.
• Engaging audiences – from the next generation to hard to reach groups. Breaking down the barriers to engagement with speakers including Stephen Moss and Judy Ling Wong
• A chance to influence government strategy through Defra’s People Engagement Group – where should our priorities lie?
• The Psychology of Partnership – examining the challenges and processes of partnership, including working productively with business and communicating The Wettest Drought on Record
• The Delegate Showcase – share your own innovative campaign with Communicate delegates and hear practical case studies from other leading communicators.

Register now to secure your place at this annual event.

We look forward to welcoming you to Bristol in October.

For further details visit

Ben Connor
Bristol Natural History Consortium
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Conference: Internews' Earth Journalism Network

Internews' Earth Journalism Network is organising a conference to investigate the issues surrounding the Common Fisheries Policy and it's upcoming reform in the European Parliament. Fisheries is a huge topic that is both economic, social and environmental in nature and top of the agenda before a key plenary vote at the end of November.

The conference is going to be held in Lubeck, Germany and focus on the Baltic Sea as well as look at the broader European context of fisheries. The conference will be in German with simultaneous English translation. The list of speakers includes Franz Lamplair from the European Commission and key stakeholders from within the German fishing industry, leading fisheries scientists and NGOs.

This is a rare opportunity to have all the key players in the same room - ready to answer questions and debate the issues infront of an audience of journalists.

Please don't hesitate to contact me for more information. Internews are able to cover travel and hotel costs for anyone who wishes to attend.

Morgan Williams
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ABSW's biennial conference for members - UKCSJ

ABSW's biennial conference for members - UKCSJ

 UK Conference of Science Journalists – Monday 25th June – a one day conference organised by the ABSW for its members

It is now just over a month until the Association’s biennial Conference – the UK Conference of Science Journalists (UKCSJ).   There are fourteen sessions at the Conference, so you could view it as an opportunity to take part in a whole year’s worth of events in one go.   We know that it is difficult for members to travel into London for one off evening events so hope that by putting on a whole day of events that this makes the visit much more worthwhile.  

The Conference’s target audience is first and foremost you as an ABSW member and this is why we have held the rates as low as possible at £55 plus VAT for full and student members.     Not only do you get an opportunity to take part in all the discussions and debates but it is also a great time to network, meet other members and for those that are freelance, pick up some new contacts for future collaborations and work.

A coup for the ABSW is the booking of Jay Rosen, media critic, writer and professor of journalism at New York University.   Rosen will explore the concept of ‘Wicked problems’ in science journalism with the tantalising view that “Journalists who covered wicked problems differently than they covered normal problems would be smarter journalists.”   You’ll need to come and hear Rosen speak to find out more.

A deliberately provocative closing plenary will ask ‘Is Science Journalism Special?’  Evan Davis of the Today Programme will give the non science specialists view when the Conference is asked if the reporting of science, health, technology or the environment should set itself apart from the rest of journalism and be allowed to bend or break the standard rules.

Three distinct strands make up the rest of the day; contemporary issues, essential skills and professional development.    Leveson will of course be up for discussion and what this might mean for science journalists.   Will it lead to higher quality science journalism or could reformed regulation have a negative effect?   Pitching skills will come under the spotlight in a science journalism version of Dragon’s Den, and for those lost in the sea of new technology journalists will provide their top tips on new tools and technology that can increase productivity and help uncover stories.  

From those members new to the field of science journalism, to those who have been working this beat for years, and all shades in between, the UKCSJ should really be a fixed point in your calendar.  

For full details of the programme and to register visit or join us on Facebook/Google Plus/Twitter @absw

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