Summer School


ABSW Regional Group Contacts:

The ABSW is developing a system for individuals to make contact with other ABSW members in their region/location.  The idea is to create regional groups that meet informally for networking and to discuss issues related to science journalism/writing.

The Scholarships are now closed to entry - we hope to inform individuals of their success or otherwise at early on in the week beginning Mon 26 June

The Association of British Science Writers is pleased to offer a limited number of free student places to the ABSW Science Journalism Summer School on Wednesday 5 July 2017 at The Wellcome Trust, London. To apply you must currently be in full time education within the UK. 

Closing date for entries is noon on Friday 23 June 2017

The scholarship covers your registration fee and pre-agreed travel and accommodation costs only. If you are eligible, you will also receive one year's student membership of the Association of British Science Writers.

If you have already registered and paid for the Summer School and/or already paid for student membership of the ABSW you may still apply for the scholarship and this sum will be refunded to you if you receive a scholarship.

If you are not successful but still wish to attend the Summer School a place will automatically have been held for you so you do not lose out on a place at the Summer School by applying for the scholarship.

Apply for a student scholarship

The scholarships are possible due to support from Taylor & Francis Group.

Andy Extance reports back on the ABSW Media Law training and asks for your thoughts on further training for ABSW members:

The ABSW media law training course had 12 attendees on Monday (25 September 2017) from an interesting cross-section of our membership - as far afield as York and Exeter (me), and with backgrounds ranging from staffers whose publications recognised the value group bargaining can provide to freelancers topping up their knowledge. Among many interesting points, two stuck out for me: 

A libel case verdict this month involving a French aerospace engineer seems to have put the UK libel law back to as bad as it was before it was changed in 2013. The case sees the judge's verdict on the new test for 'serious harm' that was added in the reformed Defamation Act say that libel claimants need not actually prove that any serious harm was caused. See more at the Press Gazette.

Report by ABSW board member Andy Extance

Following a letter signed by the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) and other organisations, the UK government has clarified that ‘purdah’ rules should not restrict commentary from university academics.

The clarification follows a notice from Research Councils UK that it must ‘avoid competition with parliamentary candidates for the attention of the public’ in the run-up to the country’s election on June 8. The same notice also advises scientists not to highlight their research council funding and to delay publishing press releases about research-council funded work until after the election.

Science journalists have found that these and other instructions have had an unduly chilling effect. The letter, written by the Science Media Centre, highlights several examples where scientists had inappropriately declined to talk to the media. Those examples include subjects such as a new study on climate change, the current UK drought, and the government’s draft air quality plan.

BBC's science correspondent and the ABSW's Honorary President, Pallab Ghosh,  has been hailed for his 'wonderfully enthusiastic' solar eclipse commentary.  The Evening Standard picked up the story after viewers took to twitter to praise Pallab's 'childlike excitement'.

You can view Pallab's coverage of the eclipse for BBC News at Six and read the full story here:

Winners announced ABSW Science Writers' Awards for Great Britain and Ireland

The winners of the 2017 Association of British Science Writers’ (ABSW) Awards for Great Britain and Ireland were announced at an Awards Ceremony tonight (Thursday 25 May) in London.  

Two hundred and twenty-eight entries were considered by the independent panel of science journalists and science communicators who judged the entries based on originality, appeal to a broad audience, novelty of subject matter, likely impact, style, content, entertainment, balance and depth of reporting.  

The evening was hosted by Pallab Ghosh, Honorary President of the ABSW, and Science Correspondent at the BBC.   Aoife Pauley, Head of Corporate Media, EMEA, presented the Awards on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the Award sponsors.

Dear Member Associations,

The WFSJ is pleased to announce the results of the 2017 Executive Board Election.

Out of a total of 55 Member Associations, 42 (76 %) casted their vote of which 38 (69 %) were eligible. Four (4) votes were considered ineligible either because they were cast after the deadline or because the associations hadn’t paid the WFSJ’s membership fee in the past years.

The four candidates with the highest number of votes are:

Full profiles of all candidates can be viewed here.

The four new Board Members will effectively occupy their international positions on the WFSJ’s Executive Board as of Sunday, October 29th, at the end of the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ2017) in San Francisco. Congratulations!

The WFSJ wishes to thank all nine candidates for sending in their application, as well as the Member Associations that voted and made this election possible and transparent.

The Board Election Nomination Committee
Dominique Forget & Mohammed Yahia

New Canadian Board Member Joins WFSJ’s Board in October 2017

The WFSJ is happy to announce the nomination of Mr. Tim Lougheed as new Executive Board Member. Mr. Lougheed is nominated by the two Canadian associations to replace Ms. Dominique Forget, who has served on the WFSJ’s Executive Board for two terms.

A full-time freelance writer and editor since 1991, Tim Lougheed has written hundreds of articles for specialized and general publications in Canada as well as internationally. He also edits Canadian Chemical News, a magazine published by the Chemical Institute of Canada.

He is the current president of the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, a national organization with more than 600 members across the country. His career began as a reporter with the Windsor Star and the Sault Star, then as a science writer for Queen’s University. He has degrees from the University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, and Queen’s University.

Read a more detailed resume of our new Canadian Board Member here.

The WFSJ is looking forward to working with Mr. Tim Lougheed as well as with the other Board Members to create a continues, dynamic and positive impact on science journalism around the world.


Hester van Santen, a science journalist for NRC media in the Netherlands has won this year's European Science Writer of the Year Award.

Hester was chosen from the fifteen nominees from throughout Europe and will attend the ABSW Awards Ceremony in London next week (Thu 25 May) to collect her certificate and cash prize.

On announcing the award the judging panel said: 

"In her submission, Hester has demonstrated her ability to be at ease with both popular science formats and more investigative type pieces. Her work is remarkably well researched regardless of the format or audience targeted and is full of creativity with a great range of interviews. Hester's best submission is undoubtedly the article about peer review, which represents a great case study of a big problem affecting science." 

Candidate's were assessed on three pieces of work and all were nominated by organisations representing science journalists and writers from throughout Europe. Hester was nominated by VWN the Dutch association for science journalism and communication.

By ABSW Board member Andy Extance

Last month the excellent Open Notebook carried an interview with Hakai magazine news editor Colin Schulz, where he made a remark that caught my attention as a freelance science writer:

"When I was a writer I—like many writers—was terrified of pitching. But now that I’m an editor, I get to see the other side of it. And it’s not what I expected. I’m friends with a bunch of editors, and there’s a gripe that many of us share: We don’t get enough pitches. I don’t just mean excellent, stellar, award-winning pitches. I mean pitches."

I've seen other editors complain about this too, notably Oli Franklin-Wallis, features editor at Wired UK on Twitter. I therefore asked members of the ABSW what their experience was.

Finalists announced ABSW Science Writers Awards for Great Britain and Ireland

The finalists in the 2017 Association of British Science Writers’ (ABSW) Awards for Great Britain and Ireland have been decided.  The ABSW is also pleased to announce the country nominees in this year’s European Science Writer of the Year Award.

Two hundred and twenty-eight entries were considered by the independent panel of science journalists and science communicators who judged the entries based on originality, appeal to a broad audience, novelty of subject matter, likely impact, style, content, entertainment, balance and depth of reporting.  

ABSW Calendar

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