Summer School

The ABSW Science Writers' Awards for Britain and Ireland, the "Oscars" of science writing, have been running for over half a century ­– and only a handful of people have won on more than three occasions.

Overall, there have been some 372 winners since our records started in 1966. That’s an average of around 7 award winners a year.

The vast majority of the winners, 251 of them, only won once; 32 people won twice.

Nine people won 3 times; three people won 4 times; and two people won 5 times.

But only one person – the late Steve Connor of The Independent – won a grand total of 7 awards, the record number of ABSW awards netted by anyone.

Steve Connor won in 1985, 1993, 1999, 2002, 2012, 2016 and 2018 in categories including news, features, and investigation, as well as the UK science writer of the year and lifetime achievement awards. The ABSW committee has named our investigative award to honour his work.

The next top winners were Ian Sample and Tim Radford, both of The Guardian, who each won five awards.

Geoff Watts, broadcaster and journalist, and Andrew Luck-Baker, producer and presenter – both of whom worked for BBC Radio 4 – have each won four times, as did Roger Highfield, mostly for his work at The Daily Telegraph.

And the nine people who won three times each are: Frank Close, Deborah Cohen, Louise Dalziel, Oliver Gillie, John Gribbin, Robin McKie, Martin Redfern, Colin Tudge, and Ed Yong.

The list of top winners is dominated by men, with only two women featuring in the top 15 winners with three awards each – Deborah Cohen and Louise Dalziel, both broadcast journalists at the BBC. This gender skew could be partly because journalism was long dominated by men, and perhaps in part becuase of a possible bias in application rates. Hopefully, we are making those reasons a thing of the past and we’ll see more women winners in years to come. In fact, last year we had ten women winners out of a total of 19; and in 2017 we had eight women winners out of 15.

The 2019 awards are now open for entry in 16 categories. The deadline is 31 January.

(These numbers are preliminary and come from our publicly-available records of award winners. They don’t include runners-up or special mentions.)

ABSW Calendar

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