Summer School


The money continues to flood into Public Engagement with Science and Technology (PEST). Research Councils UK (RCUK) has just announced 8 million GBP for new initiative to boost public engagement.

This is for academics, it seems.
"Public engagement encompasses all university and research institute activities that establish and maintain a dialogue with the wider public. The funding will also be used to establish a UK-wide co-ordinating centre to work across the initiative and promote best practice."
Coordination isn't a bad idea, given the number of people engaged in similar activities. But let's hope that there is no heavy hand of central control involved.

With luck these academic PESTs will have a rare flash of humility and will accept that they could use the skills of professional science writers. If so, there could be some opportunities in their for ABSW members.

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These fellowships have proved controversial in the past, but that's no reason not to pass on the news of this year chance to apply for a Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowships in Science & Religion. The choice is yours.

"The Fellowships enable journalists to pursue an intensive two-month course of study in issues of science and religion. The programme includes three weeks of seminars at the University of Cambridge in the UK, featuring eminent authorities in the field. Fellows will be paid a stipend and travel expenses to Cambridge. The awards are open to journalists with a minimum of three years’ experience; priority will be given to mid-career and senior journalists. The programme is looking for journalists who show promise of making a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of the complex issues in this field."

Only last week we were talking to the EPSRC's press person in chief, Jane Reck, about RSS feeds. "Soon," she said. Quick as a flash, they have added one for EPSRC Press Releases.

You may have to search for the link. It isn't on the press releases page. Click the above link, or look on their home page.
Science communicators in the northern hemisphere can get some summer Sun by going to the African Science Communication Conference in December. ASCC 2006 will happen at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa from 5 - 7 December.

They've just put up their draft programme. This includes a session on journalism, including: Manoj Patairiya, of National Council for Science & Technology Communication, India, on Scientist – Journalist conflict: A barrier to science communication; and Diran Onifade, of the World Federation of Science Journalists, Nigeria, on Professionalising science journalism in Africa.
As a fan of Naked Scientist, it is good to see that they have won a science communication award. The podders from Silicon Fen have picked up a Science Communication award from the Biosciences Federation (BSF).

Sponsored by Pfizer, the award "recognises research-active bioscientists from UK universities and institutes who make an outstanding and consistent contribution to communicating science to the public".

The £1000 award went to Dr Christopher Smith from the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge. Somehow, Chris manages to put together this entertaining podcast while also working as a clinical virologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. In his spare spare time, he also helps the journal Nature in its own podcasting.

Science books, as a category, go in and out of favour. At the moment, we seem to be on a high point, with plenty of web sites offering their "best of" lists. This page of Science/Technology Book Reviews describes its list as "a few of the best, most thought-provoking popular science texts to be found. From extraterrestrial life and quantum computing to nanotechnology and artificial intelligence."
The Bayer Press Server, BAYNEWS, has details of the European Medical Journalists’ Prize 2006. You will be pleased to know that "Scrupulously researched articles dealing with a topic from the worlds of medicine or health care in a critical, comprehensible yet objective manner have an excellent chance of winning the 2006 European Journalists’ Prize."

Bayer HealthCare AG, the sponsor, is working with the Association of German Medical Journalists, but it really is intended to be European. The detailed announcement says that "the European Journalists’ Prize is intended to reflect the significance of medical news reporting both within the borders of Germany and beyond".

The rules (pdf file) say that "Work published during the year in question may be submitted in German or in the language of the country in which it appeared with an English translation. The submitted work must be intended for the public."

The closing date is 31 December. "The prize is endowed with EUR 7,500 and may be split."

ABSW Calendar

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