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 will 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.
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.
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)