Winners Announced in the 2015 Science Journalism Awards – hat-trick for Ian Sample of The Guardian in news

The winners of the Association of British Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland 2015, supported by Janssen Research and Development were announced at an Awards Ceremony held in London tonight (Thursday 25 June 2015).   Ian Sample of the Guardian scored a hat-trick by winning in the news category for the third year in a row.

Best feature  

Ewen Callaway, Tales of the Hobbit, published in Nature, 22-10-2014

Best news item

Ian Sample, Revealed: 100 safety breaches at UK labs handling potentially deadly diseases, published inThe Guardian, 04-12-2014.

Best scripted/edited television programme or online video

Team Entry: Executive Producer: Jonathan Renouf. Producer Director: Nathan Williams. Presenter: Michael Mosley. Researcher: Shamini Bundell. Infested! Living with parasites, A BBC Science Production, London for BBC Four. First broadcast 19-02-2014

Highly commended as a short film: Team entry:Director/Editor:Charlotte Stoddart. Reporter/Narrator:Lizzie Gibney. Laniakea:  Our home supercluster, Nature.com andthe Nature Video Channel on YouTube. First broadcast 03-09-2014

The Royal Society Radio Prize (A prize for the best scripted/edited radio programme or podcast, supported by The Royal Society):

Team entry:Performer, Writer/researcher: Helen Keen. Writer/researcher:Miriam Underhill. Performer:Peter Serafinowicz. Producer:Gareth Edwards, It is Rocket Science (Life on Mars, Series 3 Episode 1), BBC Radio 4. First broadcast 02-04-2014

Best investigative journalism

Alexander Masters, A Plutocratic Proposal, published in Mosaic, the e-magazine for the Wellcome Trust, 27-10-2014

The NUJ Stephen White Award for best communication and reporting of science in a non science context.   This Award is made in memory of Stephen White a highly influential science communicator who died in 2010.   The Award is possible due to a donation from Stephen’s widow Elizabeth.

Team entry: Devised byJames Gallagher and Rachael Buchanan with additional reporting across BBC News, BBC Day of the Body Clock, published and broadcast on all BBC News platforms, 13-05-2014

Best newcomer

Maria Delaney, Freelance

Best student science blog

Matthew Warren, University of Oxford. Won’t somebody please think of the children? Technology and the adolescent brain, Neurobabble, 02-06-2014

Science blog award supported by Good Thinking

Kat Day, The Chronicle Flask,the Chronicle Flask

The IOP student science publication award supported by IOP Publishing and the Institute of Physics

Winner: Broadsheet, Imperial College – Editor-in-Chief: Ben Stockton, Sub Editors: Sophie Reid and Fiona Mashford

Runner Up: I, Science, Imperial College – Co-Editors in Chief: Jennifer Toes and Iona Twaddell and Magazine Editor: Kruti Shrotri

The winners of the first European Science Writer of the Year Award were announced earlier in June and both Tanja Rudez of Croatia and Jop de Vrieze of the Netherlands travelled to London to receive their Awards.

European Science Writer of the Year 2015

Winner: Tanja Rudez, science reporter at Jutarnji List daily, Croatia  – nominated by the Croatian Association of Science Journalists

Second: Jop De Vrieze, freelance journalist, The Netherlands – nominated by VWN (Dutch Association of Science Journalists)

Third: Ewen Callaway, senior reporter, Nature, UK – nominated by the Association of British Science Writers

The ABSW Science Writers’ Awards for Britain and Ireland 2015 attracted over 200 entries.  An independent panel of science journalists and science communicators judged the entries on originality, appeal to a broad audience, novelty of subject matter, likely impact, style, content, entertainment, balance and depth of reporting.

Award winners received a certificate and a small cash prize and enter the ABSW hall of fame that includes previous Award winners Sir David Attenborough, Sir John Maddox (Nature), and Judith Hann (BBC Tomorrow’s World).

Full details of the winners, those shortlisted, the rules and regulations for the awards, copies of articles where available, and a full list of judges can be found at http://www.absw.org.uk/jobs-awards/awards

Association of British Science Writers (ABSW)

Founded in 1947, the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) exists to help those who write about science, health and technology, and to improve the standard of science journalism in the UK. The ABSW is an association which includes science writers, journalists and broadcasters that promotes the highest standards of journalism and writing by encouraging investigation and creativity.   www.absw.org.uk @absw https://www.facebook.com/pages/Association-of-British-Science-Writers-ABSW/

Copies of the shortlisted articles/broadcasts are available on request and/or linked from the ABSW website where possible

About Janssen

At Janssen Research & Development, we are united and energized by one mission - to discover and develop innovative medicines that ease patient’s suffering, and solve the most important unmet medical needs of our time.

As one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, our strategy is to identify the biggest unmet medical needs and match them with the best science, internal or external, to find solutions for patients worldwide. We leverage our world-class discovery and development expertise, and operational excellence, to bring innovative, effective treatments in five therapeutic areas:

• cardiovascular and metabolism

• immunology

• infectious diseases and vaccines

• neuroscience

• oncology

We think of the world as our laboratory and we look for innovation wherever it exists. This drives our relentless search for the best science, and our pursuit of collaborations and partnerships. We believe there are no limits to what science can do. And we never lose sight of those who rely most on our discoveries. www.janssenrnd.com

IOP Publishing

IOP Publishing provides publications through which leading-edge scientific research is distributed worldwide. 

Beyond our traditional journals programme, we make high-value scientific information easily accessible through an ever-evolving portfolio of books, community websites, magazines, conference proceedings and a multitude of electronic services.

IOP Publishing is central to the Institute of Physics, a not-for-profit society. Any financial surplus earned by IOP Publishing goes to support science through the activities of the Institute.

Go to ioppublishing.org  or follow us @IOPPublishing.

The Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.

In September 2013, we launched our first fundraising campaign. Our campaign, Opportunity Physics, offers you the chance to support the work that we do.

Visit us at www.iop.org or follow us on Twitter @physicsnews.

The Royal Society

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The Society’s strategic priorities emphasise its commitment to the highest quality science, to curiosity-driven research, and to the development and use of science for the benefit of society.

These priorities are:

1.       Promoting science and its benefits

2.       Recognising excellence in science

3.       Supporting outstanding science

4.       Providing scientific advice for policy

5.       Fostering international and global cooperation

6.       Education and public engagement

For further information please visit http://royalsociety.org Follow the Royal Society on Twitter at http://twitter.com/royalsociety or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/theroyalsociety

Good Thinking Society (http://goodthinkingsociety.org)

Good Thinking Society is a charity founded by Simon Singh, aimed at promoting science and challenging pseudoscience.  Its motto is: “Encouraging curious minds and promoting rational enquiry”.

The report commissioned by the ABSW on Sexism in Science Journalism has been published to tie in with the World Conference of Science Journalists currently taking place in Seoul


A response has been received to the ABSW letter sent to the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General expressing concern about revisions to the Civil Service Code that could prevent scientists responding to the needs of journalists.

The response does little to reassure those that signed the original letter (ABSW/SMC/Stempra) as highlighted in an article written by Fiona Fox, Chief Executive of the SMC in Research Fortnight.

The BMJ has also taken up this issue in a Feature published at the end of April (NB: the full article is behind BMJ paywall)

The ABSW, alongside the SMC and Stempra will continue to monitor changes to the Code, its effect on civil service scientists and on the freedom for such scientists to speak with journalists. 


Connie St Louis, former President of the ABSW and currently the Board's European Representative, has been elected to the Board of the World Federation of Science Journalists.

Connie was elected alongside Mohammed Yahia of Egypt, a further vote is currently taking place for the third available post as the first round of voting resulted in a tie between Olivier Dessibourg (Switzerland) and Wolfang Goede (Germany).

For a full run down of the candidates and the votes see the WFSJ website.




Deadline extended until midnight on Sunday 31 May 2015
NB:   The extended deadline is to try to encourage a larger number of entries and is no reflection on the quality or suitability of any entries already received
An article by Martin Ince, President of the ABSW has been published by The Guardian today (Tuesday 28 April 2015) to publicise further the ABSW's Investigative Science Journalism Fellowship.   The Fellowship was established by the ABSW last year but has so far failed to attract a significant number of entries.   The ABSW has therefore decided to have one last push on getting applications by writing the piece for the Guardian and extending the deadline until the end of May.    
Details of the Fellowship and how to apply:
The Association of British Science Writers would like to encourage investigative science journalism within the UK and has therefore established a Fellowship to enable a journalist experienced in investigative journalism to carry out a detailed investigation.  It is hoped that the Fellowship might be made annually however this will be reviewed after year one.  The Fellowship is to support an experienced journalist who would otherwise not be able to carry out this work (ie: employer cannot support the necessary timescale/freelancer that cannot financially support themselves for a longer term investigation).   The ABSW is also looking at ways of encouraging newcomers to the field and of encouraging investigative journalism in science more widely.
There will be two stages to the Fellowship Programme:   
In stage one three individuals will be selected and provided with ‘seed funding’ to further develop their proposal and to secure commitment from an editor for publication or broadcast of their investigation.  
In stage two one individual will be selected to receive full funding to complete their investigation. The Fellowship is open to ABSW full members whether they are staff or freelance (to join the ABSW see here). You may apply for the Fellowship whilst your application for ABSW membership is considered; you do not have to wait for confirmation of membership. 
The Fellowship does not support overseas travel and proposals need to have implications nationally or locally within the UK.
Applying for the Fellowship (stage one):
To apply for the Fellowship the applicant must write a detailed proposal for the full investigation that they wish to carry out.  NB: Even though this is for stage one ‘seed funding’ the ABSW will require full details of the investigation that would be undertaken at stage two.
The ABSW encourages proposals that offer groundbreaking stories. However, if the subject has been covered previously, please acknowledge that coverage and explain how the proposed investigation would significantly advance the story. 
Proposals must be journalistic and break ‘news’ and be able to be completed within three months (full time) or the equivalent timescale if being completed part time. NB: Flexibility will be built into the stage two fellowship so that the investigation can be completed.  Reviews at various time points will be built into the stage two fellowship to monitor progress and allow for any time extension deemed necessary by the ABSW 
The proposal should outline the story, what you expect to uncover, how this will be done, and the types of sources to be used.  The ABSW will expect evidence of a strong case for the investigation which will require the applicant to already have carried out some initial investigative work to support their case.   The stage one fellowship will not support initial development of a ‘hunch’ or ‘idea’.  The proposal should outline the further work that the seed funding would support to develop the investigation.
Proposals should not run to more than 1000 words and should include, details of the exiting evidence already gathered by the journalist, a paragraph or two summarizing the crux of the story and details of how the seed funding would be used.  
Include the anticipated start and completion date of the full investigation in the proposal. 
Proposals will remain the intellectual property of the applicant and will be treated with the strictest confidence.
The ABSW will expect the applicant to have considered any legal implications of their investigation and to have outlined them within the proposal. The ABSW will have no legal responsibility for the actions of the Fellow or the final published/broadcast work.
The proposal must be supported by the following documents:
Detailed budget for the full investigation
Two examples of published/broadcast investigative work 
The budget should give a detailed breakdown of the costs identified by the journalist for carrying out the full investigation, the main costs will be expected to be a salary costs for freelancers and for staff journalists who will be required to take an agreed unpaid sabbatical from their employer to complete the project (either full or part time).
The Fellowship will not cover capital costs such as the purchase of computers/cameras etc but could for example include the purchase of software for data analysis.  
In the case of journalists with staff positions the application for the Fellowship must be discussed and agreed with their employer before submission.  The ABSW will of course discuss the Fellowship with your employer if they have particular queries or concerns. 
Selection/Notification Process:
From the stage one proposals three individuals will be selected to receive seed funding of between £500 and £1000 to further develop their ideas and to obtain a statement of commitment from an editor stating that the project will be published or broadcast if completed according to the proposal and in accordance with the outlet’s news standards (the editors contact details will also be required and the ABSW reserves the right to contact the editor if necessary).  
Those selected to receive ‘seed funding’ will be notified within a month of the closing date for applications and will be required to further develop their proposal for submission to the ABSW within one month of payment of the seed funding.
Stage one awardees will be notified within one month of submission of their secondary proposal re their success or otherwise in receiving the full funding (stage two).
Payment of stage one Fellowship funding:
Payment will be made in full for those selected for stage one ‘seed funding’
Payment of stage two Fellowship funding:
Two thirds of the funding will be made to the successful applicant at the outset of the fellowship period.   The remaining third will be paid on the successful completion of the project.
Application Process:
Please ensure you have read all of the above requirements before completing the application form.  You are strongly advised to prepare your proposal, budget and CV in a separate programme so that you may then save it and copy and paste into the application form.   The application form can not save part completed applications.
Closing Date: Midnight Sunday 31 May 2015
Notification of Fellowship seed funding (one month after closing date - Tuesday 30 June 2015)
All enquiries should be directed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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