Aisling Irwin and Ruairi Mackenzie, ABSW members, were among the seven European journalists chosen for the inaugural round of the FRONTIERS Residency Program. Together with Javier Pérez Barbuzano, Jacopo Pasotti, Samuel Schlaefli, Vedrana Simičević, and Zuzana Vitková, they will be awarded a monthly grant of up to 6,000€. Frontiers announced the programme on Wednesday, May 22.

"I'm delighted to get this residency," says Aisling Irwin. "It's such a luxury for me to be able to spend a few months with scientists who are doing cutting-edge research into a subject that fascinates me."

The news about their selection comes a week after the ABSW Awards 2024 were announced, where Irwin and Mackenzie are both finalists for the "Feature of the Year: Specialist Audience" award.

FRONTIERS Residency Program is a European Research Council-supported initiative that will finance journalists to spend three to five months at a European research institution. European institutions in Spain, Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Croatia will host the first residencies. 

Aisling Irwin will begin her residency at Aalto University in Finland. "Researchers there do a lot of work with biomaterials, finding out how they can push the capabilities of substances such as wood, in the hope of replacing less sustainable materials that are in use today," she says.

CIC bioGUNE in Bilbao, Spain will host Ruairi Mackenzie. Mackenzie's project will focus on rare disease research, including molecular science which is helping us understand these conditions, emerging treatments, and patient stories.

"I'm delighted to be selected as a FRONTIERS Fellow," says Ruairi Mackenzie. "I think the project is a model for how science journalism should be funded - cross-border, independent, and accessible to writers at all stages of their careers. As a mid-career writer, this residency will help me carve a specialism in my reporting and gain valuable experience in close proximity to cutting-edge science. I'm grateful to the ERC for funding the project and to the judges for selecting my application."

The first call of the FRONTIERS Residency Program closed on March 5, 2024. The journalists were chosen from a pool of 33 applicants, representing 20 nationalities from five continents. The second call of the program will open in June 2024.

The Association of British Science Writers is registered in England and Wales under company number 07376343 at 76 Glebe Lane, Barming, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 9BD.
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