Summer School


Our Uganda twin association, the Ugandan Science Journalists' Association, has developed an agenda for action over the coming year. William Odinga, the Association Chair, would value anyone's comments! He writes:

Dear Twin, these are the ideas we are grappling with (at least to take USJA through the coming year). I am sharing them with anybody who cares to listen:

1. A retreat to develop the USJA constitution: A small group of journalists and scientists, plus a facilitator (a lawyer) should see to the success of this. This should take place in December 2007.

2. A secondary schools science challenge (read "quiz") on TV for January - June, 2008. It will run one hour a week. We have the technical capacity to make it both educative and entertaining. If the show becomes popular, we carry on with it even after June.

3. Four science journalism training workshops per quarter, starting early 2008. We have divided our target group into four regions (Central, North, East and West). Each region will have a workshop per quarter.

4. The Uganda National Conference for Science Communication (the first of its kind) in November 2008. Lessons learned from the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists and Barbie’s book on setting up science journalism associations. If it goes as I wish, this event shall take place every year preceding the WCSJ. During the 2008 conference we shall hold our Annual General Meeting and elect a new executive committee.

5. A science communication workshop for scientists facilitated by experienced science communicationists -- preferably our counterparts from developed countries. Emphasis is to be put on how scientists can enhance their communication skills.

Item No.1 is the most urgent as it establishes the association (recruitment of members depends a lot on that).

Please join us in developing the concepts for the items mentioned above. We have started making local alliances and hopefully they will pay off to a substantial degree.

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The twinning programme created by the World Federation of Science Journalists has begun to bear fruit. Nadia El-Awady, President of Arab Science Journalists Association, has written a note on WFSJ News about a visit to Washington to attend the annual meeting of the US's National Association of Science Writers (NASW). "The visit was supported by a generous US$10,000 grant provided equally by NASW and CASW." That's the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.
Here is a Competition for science journalists with a real prize, "a week aboard an Arctic icebreaker". And that includes "transportation from your home country".

In April 2008, you could join "journalists from all over the world for a week aboard the Canadian research icebreaker Amundsen".

The World Federation of Science Journalists—in collaboration with the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the International Polar Year Circumpolar Flaw Lead Project—announces a competition offering science journalists the chance to win one of three week-long trips aboard the Canadian research icebreaker Amundsen. You will fly all the way to Inuvik (Canada), and hop aboard a Twin Otter aircraft to the famous icebreaker, where you will get first hand experience of global warming where it is unfolding the fastest.

The last time I was in Inuvik, a good 20 years ago, it was like the Wild West with snow. But a very interesting church building. That was back when the oil business was booming. And, boy, did the ice need breaking? The oil rigs were miles out to "sea" beneath many feet of ice, which our plane landed on.
It was only while browsing the web site of the World Federation of Science Journalists that we discovered that someone has quietly assembled a site for the 6th World Conference of Science Journalists. It isn't just a marker in the sand either, there is some real detail there of the aspirations for the programme.

We'll have to add a link to the ABSW's various web sites. Then we can ask them to put all link back to use on the page about the ABSW.

Only two years to go before the big event. Start preparing now! Especially if you can sponsor the event in some way.
It is always interesting to see what crops up in the Cision Media Bulletin. It is where I first discovered that Damian Carrington had defected from New Scientist, where he ran the web team, to take up a similar role at the Financial Times.

It isn't often, though, that the newsletter provokes a chuckle. The latest issue has an item that will appeal to anyone who reads Private Eye and appreciates its "Solutions" column.
Environmental Technology Publications Ltd are due to launch a new title in April 2008 which will be titled Pollution Solutions and covers water and waste water equipment, air clean up, consultancy services, soil remediation and waste handling. The contact for the title is Marcus Pattison the Publisher and he can be contacted on 01727 858840 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
As well as raising a smile, it may also offer an outlet for science writers, which is our excuse for passing it on, with all the gory details.
Yet another attempt to create a "social network" for specialists. This time the idea is to give scientists the opportunity to "upload published papers, as well as a podcast presenting the paper".

We read about SciVee on CORDIS, the EU's news site, which tells us that the people backing the venture include the Public Library of Science (PLoS); the US' National Science Foundation (NSF) and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). This probably explains why "authors must have published their paper in an open access journal in order to upload it to SciVee."

The site itself says that "Created for scientists, by scientists, SciVee moves science beyond the printed word and lecture theater taking advantage of the internet as a communication medium where scientists young and old have a place and a voice."

As the note on Cordis points out, it is mostly biological material at the moment. But these are early days.
The Cision bulletin, open only to subscribers, tells us that:

Rob White is now Producer and and main contact for press releases for the ITN Science and Health Unit. Rob takes over from Clare Donaldson and his contact email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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