Summer School

Events

The scandal surrounding Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, the company she set up to develop a new generation of blood-testing equipment, is still unfolding. Apart from anything else, we’ve yet to find out whether Holmes will go to jail. However, the case has already been well documented: there’s a book (Bad Blood), a podcast (The Dropout), a documentary (The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley). From what we know already, journalists were – at least in part – complicit in this company being able to fool investors, partners, patients, and the wider public. They were also instrumental in uncovering the Theranos fraud.

We are planning to run a regional meetup at the British Science Festival in Coventry on Friday September 13 as part of a festival takeover of the local arts quarter, Fargo Village. We will most likely run the meetup for members and other science writers at the festival in a bar in this area. However, the festival has offered to provide an author from the ABSW a slot at an evening of 'lightning talks' by science authors held at a local independent bookshop.

Monday 8 July 2019, UCL, London

  • Considering a career in science journalism?
  • Taken a career break and want to get back into the field?
  • Thinking of moving to the science or tech beat?

Gain new skills and insights and get the chance to network with key editors and journalists at the Association of British Science Writers Science & Technology Journalism Summer School.

The summer school is an official satellite event of the WCSJ2019 and for those registered to attend the WCSJ the summer school is free to attend (proof of WCSJ registration required on registration for the summer school by upload of your registration receipt) you will also then receive a 100 Swiss francs refund (50 for students) on the registration fee paid for the WCSJ19 after the WCSJ has taken place by providing evidence of attendance at the summer school which ABSW will provide on request. 

Registration Costs:

ABSW members/UCL staff and students/WFSJ members: £45 inc VAT

Registered for WCSJ - FREE (proof of registration required by upload of your registration receipt through summer school registration form)

You can join the ABSW to enjoy all our member benefits and the registration fee of £45 - our registration form allows you to pay for reduced registration and membership in one payment, however you will still need to complete our membership form once you have made the payment.

Register now

 

Programme 

Time

Tech Stream

Essential Skills Stream

09:00-09:30

Registration

09:30-10:30

How to break into science and tech media job market - and how to make it a success once you're in 

Panel: 

Eleni Courea, reporter at  The Times

Aamna Mohdin, news reporter at The Guardian

Timothy Revell, assistant news editor, New Scientist

Matthew Warren, reporter at Nature

Moderator: Mico Tatalovic, chair of the ABSW Executive Board and freelance science journalist

10:30-11:00

Coffee and tea networking break

11:00-12:30

Workshop

Reporting on emerging technologies: The next big thing or vaporware?

Sunny Bains, ABSW Executive Board member and UCL

Workshop

Writing Features: The elements of narrative journalism

Richard Fisher, managing editor, bbc.com features (RoW)

12:30-13:30

Lunch break

13:30-15:00

Workshop

Investigating companies

Bill Goodwin, premium content editor, Computer Weekly

Workshop

Incorporating visuals into your story

Charlotte Stoddart, filmmaker and science journalist

15:00-15:30

Coffee and tea networking break

15:30-16:30

Panel

The law around company investigations: NDAs, libel, trade secrets, whistlblowing, protecting sources

Panel:

Cathy James, Senior Legal Consultant and former Chief Executive of Protect

Louis Charalambous, partner at Simons Muirhead & Burton and head of the Media Content and Disputes team

Stephanie Kleyman, Director of Kleyman & Co Solicitors 

Moderator: Sunny Bains, ABSW Executive Board member and UCL

Workshop

Reading a research paper: Why the full story probably isn’t in the press release, and how to find out what really is

Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics, The Open University

16:30-17:30

Panel

Pitching to technology, engineering and trade publications

Panel:

Nitin Dahad, EE Times

Katia Moskvitch, business and space editor, Wired UK, British Science Journalist of the Year 2019

Dickon Ross, editor-in-chief, Engineering & Technology

Clare McDonald, Business Editor, Computer Weekly

Moderator: Aisling Irwin, secretary of the ABSW Executive Board and freelance science journalist

Panel

Building a satisfying portfolio career   

Panel:

Dr Kat Arney, award-winning writer and broadcaster, founder and director of First Create The Media - a multimedia storytelling consultancy for people who do science

Chris Edwards, freelance technology Journalist

Dr Helen Pilcher, science writer, performer and author of 'Bring Back the King: The New Science of De-extinction'

Moderator: Wendy Grossman, ABSW Executive Board and freelance

          

17:30-18:30

Meet the Editors (individual short appointments with editors)

18:30-19:00

Reception

19:00-20:30

Keynote speach followed by Q&A (then continued Reception)

Professor Mark Miodownik, professor of materials & society, UCL: We need to talk about stuff

 

Workshops and panels: details and speakers

Programme at a glance with room details

 

The ABSW, UCL and EurekAlert! - supporting and developing the next generation of science journalists. 

Find out more about our previous Science Journalism Summer Schools held in 2017 and 2015.

EurekAlert! is the ABSW's professional development partner and supports all ABSW professional development events.

 

 

Dr Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser

Did you miss this ABSW and Science Museum event, would you like to know more? 

Board member and organiser of the event Bob Ward has written a blog post on the event along with a full audio recording.

https://blog.sciencemuseum.org.uk/government-chief-scientist-on-brexit-gene-editing-and-ai/

ABSW member Alison Cooper has also provided a brief review:

 

 

Dr Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser outlined his vision and priorities for science, within the current international climate.

Science relies on international collaboration across the world.  The UK ‘punches above its weight’ in terms of research output.  Brexit presents a risk of the scientific community not being open to individuals, and these interactions are essential.  He will aim to keep the UK as close as possible to EU research initiatives, whatever happens.

Globally scaled case studies can demonstrate the UK’s contribution e.g the ‘Ebola Crisis in Conga’ gives insight into how vaccines work in a real situation.  This is under reported because of war.

There are exciting developments in genetic editing, such as CRISPR babies and germ line therapy, for example to treat HIV.  It is important to bear in mind, there may be off target, unintended, ‘late effects’ that can’t be known for many years.  Preventative therapy is a big step if a person may not be at risk.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a disruptive technology.  There are some areas where it could be beneficial, such as finding patterns in data, and opportunities to look at processes.   Public expectations about AI, for example replacing people in jobs, present a danger of it not being used when it could be effective and save time.  We should resist this, recognise potential biases, regulate, and aim to improve it for the NHS.   Increasing the diversity of algorithm builders and coders is important.  

Information from NHS and stored in the Biobanks positions the UK ahead in international research. He wants to ensure that use of public data benefits the NHS.  

The newly formed UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), previously RCUK, has an influential agenda for multidisciplinary research.  This is needed for translational research (route to public/patients).   Gaps in the funding landscape need to be addressed, to resource all parts of the pipeline, recognising research is not a linear process.   This includes support for fundamental, ‘blue skies’ research. The pull through to innovation (products) needs strengthening and could make use of Systems Engineering Processes, with a move towards an ‘investment’ rather than ‘grants’ culture.

He is fascinated by the potential for emerging data visualisation tools.  These can transform policy decision making. 

He recognised the importance of supporting diverse career pathways for opportunities in science and to consider broader practical and people implications for research.

Here's how we promoted the event:

 

Would you like to know how Brexit will affect British science? Or the threats that antimicrobial resistance and climate change pose to the UK? Or the impact of the UKRI/research council shake up? Or how we should manage the risks and opportunities of artificial intelligence? 

These are some of the searching questions that you could ask Dr Patrick Vallance in one of his first public outings as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government.
 
Dr Vallance took up his new post in April 2018 following a distinguished career in medical research and the pharmaceuticals industry, including a period as President of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline.
 
In a unique appearance at the Science Museum's Lates, Dr Vallance will begin by outlining his priorities before being quizzed by Dr Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs at the Museum, and former editor of New Scientist and science editor of The Daily Telegraph, and will also take questions from the audience.
 
If you are a member of the Association of British Science Writers and want to hear answers from the UK Government’s top scientist, without the intervention of a spin doctor, then join us at the Science Museum on Wednesday 28 November.

What’s the role of science in informing social and personal choices in an era of ‘alternative facts’? Do emotions and worldviews have a place in our ability to decipher what we see as the truth?

The ABSW held a panel discussion around these issues on September 14th in the city of Hull, as part of this year’s British Science Festival.

It explored how science can respond to the ongoing crisis of ‘truth’ and better inform our lives.

STEMPRA-ABSW-MJA summer social

When: 18:00 on Thursday 23 August 2018

Where: The Edinboro Castle, 57 Mornington Terrace, London, NW1 7RU

Join us for a well-deserved drink and a chance to mingle with like-minded folks from Stempra (the informal network of science PR, comms and media professionals) and the Medical Journalists’ Association (MJA).

This is a members' event but you can of course join the ABSW in order to attend.

 

Join the ABSW for Finding truth: is science enough? Part of the British Science Festival in Hull

Details:

Friday14 September 2018 15:00 – 16:00
Lecture Theatre 2, Allam Medical Building, University of Hull

Organised by:
Association of British Science Writers
Suitable for: 16+

Science helps us stay informed and make decisions about things like climate change and vaccinations. But in a ‘post-truth’ era of ‘alternative facts’, is scientific ‘fact’ facing its limitations? Join a panel of experts to discuss whether evidence alone is enough, or if emotions and worldviews have a more significant role in our ability to decipher what we see as the truth. 

This event is free and open to the public

Book tickets

With thanks to Board member Anita Makri for organising this event

 

ABSW Calendar

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EurekAlert!

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EurekAlert! is the ABSW's professional development partner and supports all ABSW professional development and training events.