ABSW Lifetime Achievement Award 2021

The ABSW Board is seeking nominations for its 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award; this award recognises contributions in leadership and service to science journalism or science writing, including but not limited to:

  • Championing independence and excellence in the reporting of science, medicine, engineering or technology
  • Communicating science, medicine, engineering or technology and holding them to account
  • Journalistic achievement and impact
  • Professional development of colleagues, including mentoring
  • Exemplary professional behaviour

The 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award went to former ABSW Chair, Wendy Barnaby:

Citation, read by ABSW President Pallab Ghosh:

"I’m very pleased to present the lifetime achievement award, which goes to a member of the UK journalism science community who has consistently set an exemplary standard in his or her work throughout their career. 

This year the award goes to a journalist who has been a great example for women looking to make a career in science journalism. Most recently she has been teaching on Imperial College’s Science Communication Masters course. But she’s done excellent work for many outlets and institutions including Nature, New Scientist, the Times Higher, the Royal Society, European Commission and Grantham Institute for Climate Change. She has contributed to decades of science programming on BBC and ABC radio. She has made many audio and video podcasts for the British Journal of Surgery, the Royal Society and the British Psychological Society. From 2001 to 2014 she was the Editor of People & Science, the magazine of the British Science Association.  

Perhaps most importantly she’s never shied away from controversial reporting. You can see that in her book, The Plague Makers, an introduction to biological warfare, and her reporting on The Water Wars in Nature, stressing that conflicts really were originating from access to water. 

She has media-trained hundreds of scientists in organisations including the Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the National Trust and the British Psychological Society.  She has served as an adviser to the BBSRC as a member of its Bioscience in Society panel, and on the BBSRC’s Institute Assessment panel.

She’s also done great service to the ABSW itself, long serving on our committee, becoming our second female chair from 1993-1995, and judging our awards. She helped set up the Wellcome Trust bursaries, which funded science journalism training and placements."


Former winners of the ABSW Lifetime Achievement Award

2020Robin McKie
2019Philip Campbell
2018Steve Connor
2017Andy Coghlan
2016Deborah Cohen
2013Dick Ahlstrom
2012David Dickson
2011Fred Pearce
2010Geoff Watts
2009John Gribbin
2005David Attenborough
2004Tim Radford


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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