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ABSW Event: In conversation with Professor Sir Mark Walport

Latest news:   Bookings now open

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


Nigel Calder Memorial Meeting

Advance notice regarding a memorial meeting for long standing ABSW member, Nigel Calder
Nigel Calder 1931-2014
Memorial meeting
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
London W1J OBQ
Tuesday 2 December 2014 at 4pm
Followed by an informal reception 5-6pm 
This is to let you know that we are arranging an hour-long programme of talks celebrating the life and work of the science writer Nigel Calder.  Speakers are to be confirmed but will include his co-writer and friend Professor Henrik Svensmark.   This event will take place on 2 December, which would have been Nigel’s 83rd birthday. 
Further details, including how to reserve a seat, will be published on Nigel's blog,, on 11 November.  In the interim, any enquiries may be made by phone to 07771 620433.

Beyond facebook, Twitter, print & TV: communicating environmental messages in the new reality

Beyond facebook, Twitter, print & TV: communicating environmental messages in the new reality

Ever heard of Pheed,, Medium, Chirp, Sulia or Learnist? These are just six of the new information networks whose emergence tests whether our well-formed, well-rehearsed environmental messages and communication tools are still working in a time of fast and massive change.

Communicate 2014 in Bristol this November 4th and 5th will meet this question head on in what is superb forum for environmental communicators to learn, share best practice and debate the latest challenges to engaging people with the natural world. This year, Communicate is themed around ‘Changing Stories’, the idea of ensuring our efforts to communicate environmental narratives are hitting the right sweet spots, the best networks, the biggest audiences. With new and powerful social media platforms emerging all the time, how do we change the stories we tell about people and nature in a way that reflects our achievements but still acknowledges the huge and growing threats to our planet home.

Communicate is the UK's leading conference for environmental communicators, bringing together more than 150 delegates for inspirational presentations, practical workshops, searching discussions and outstanding networking opportunities.

The Communicate 2014 conference speaker line-up includes Conference Chair Ed Gillespie from Futerra, Ben Summerskill, Maddy Carroll – 38 Degrees, Tim Scoones and Ruth Peacy - BBC Natural History Unit, Kathryn Cook - National Parks UK, Andy Gouldson – Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Dan Burgess - Swarm and Project Wildthing and Lisa Sargood - Horton Wolfe.

Delegates can join Communicate 2014 for either or both days and there is a gala dinner for all.

Registration is now open at £150 + VAT for a single day, £250 + VAT for both.

Closing Date: Monday 3 November 2014

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

Communicate 2014: Changing Stories

EVENT: Communicate 2014: Changing Stories
4 and 5 November, At-Bristol Science Centre, Bristol
Register now at:
Two day delegate pass: £250+ VAT; one day delegate pass: £150+VAT
We are living through a time of immense and accelerated change: environmental, technological and social. Are our well-rehearsed environmental messages and our tried and trusted communications tools still relevant in today’s rapidly evolving world? Communicate 2014: Changing Stories will address this question. 
Join us for two days of inspirational sessions, thought-provoking discussions, practical workshops and outstanding networking opportunities at the UK’s leading conference for environmental communicators. Develop your skills, share best practice and debate the latest challenges with over 150 delegates from NGOs, public sector, media, academia and beyond.
Confirmed speakers include conference host Ed Gillespie (Futerra), Tim Scoones (BBC Natural History Unit), Kathryn Cook (National Parks UK), Dan Burgess (Swarm/Project Wild Thing) and Steve Micklewright (Birdlife Malta).
See the latest programme at, follow @communicate2014 or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

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

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