Grants

In 2014, to celebrate its 20th year, the Australian Science Communicators proudly launched a competitive Grants Program to support members in undertaking professional development in the field of science communication.

The grants are supported by funding from the Australian Science Communicators and external sponsors, and the program is co-managed by Dr Ian McDonald and Dr Miriam Sullivan. The program is always evolving and we are pleased to now offer internships along with grant funding opportunities.

The 2018 ASC Grants and Internship Program is now open

Key dates:

  • February 14 to March 23: grant and internship applications open for submission
  • March 24 to April 27: grant and internship applications reviewed
  • April 27 to May 4: grant and internships offered
  • May scope issue: grant and internship winners officially announced

Please note this means applications must be received by no later than 11:59pm AEST Friday March 23, 2018.

Three grants and two internship opportunities are on offer:

To be eligible to apply and receive a grant, applicants must be current members of the Australian Science Communicators. Entries are judged by a specially selected review panels. All enquiries should be emailed to grants@asc.asn.au

Opportunity one: The Australian Science Communicators Professional Development Grant

Grant value: up to $600

This grant opportunity is open to interpretation, and offers a member the opportunity to tell us what skill you want to develop and why it will enhance and develop your current skill set in science communication. Check out below what previous recipients have gotten up to. Courses can be more than $600, and you can use the $600 towards the course in question – proof of receipt is still required.

If you are interested in this grant opportunity please fill out the application form here and email it to grants@asc.asn.au before the closing date

Opportunity two: The Peter Pockley Grant for Professional Development in Investigative Journalism.

Grant value: up to $600

Dedicated to the memory of Peter Pockley – one of the founders of the Australian Science Communicators, and a pioneering investigative science journalist and broadcaster – this special grant was established to support an ASC member to develop their skills in the crucial field of investigative science journalism.

You can get creative with your application, it doesn’t mean you have to do a specific course in investigative journalism, just tell us how you think it meets the requirements of the grant. Check out below what previous recipients have gotten up to.

If you are interested in this grant opportunity please fill out the application form here and email it to grants@asc.asn.au before the closing date

Opportunity three: Writing a journal article e-course, sponsored by MD Writing and Editing – perfect for student members or ECRs.

Grant value: $400+GST

Do you struggle to find time for writing? Do you spend endless time revising draft after draft? Or are you just not confident in your writing skills?

Wouldn’t you love to be able to write your journal articles faster, creating a good first draft that you then efficiently revise and copyedit, ready for submission?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then Clear, concise and compelling may be just what you need. In this 8-week e-course, you will be given the tools you need to write a clear, concise and compelling journal article. You will be applying everything you are learning to your own journal article and will have deadlines to motivate you to get it done!

In addition to these tools, you will become a member of a private Facebook community, where you can seek support from and provide support to others who are also writing academic manuscripts. I know from experience that professional online communities can be invaluable. And there certainly aren’t many around that focus on academic writing.

Find out more about the course here

Below is an overview of the modules, and you will receive access to a new module each week. Each module has videos to watch and worksheets to complete. You will then apply what you have learned to your own journal article.

  • Week 1: Overview, Preparing, Thinking
  • Week 2: Planning
  • Week 3: Writing – Results and Discussion
  • Week 4: Writing – Introduction and Methods
  • Week 5: Title, Abstract, Tables, Figures and References
  • Week 6: Revising
  • Week 7: Copyediting
  • Week 8: Proofreading

If you have any questions, email Malini (malini@mdwritingediting.com.au).

If you are interested in this e-course opportunity please fill out the application form here and email it to grants@asc.asn.au before the closing date

Opportunity four: Internship with Refraction Media

Refraction Media are offering an ASC member the opportunity undertake an internship with their team.

Refraction Media is a niche publisher with a global reputation and distribution, and winner of Best Small Publisher Award 2015. With clients including Google, plus Australia’s leading universities and most innovative start-ups, Refraction Media create, market and distribute content specialising in science, technology, engineering and maths, or STEM.

As a Refraction Intern, you’ll be working with a team of award-winning editors and journalists to research, write and check content about STEM. You might find yourself interviewing scientists, discussing story angles with editors, updating websites, proofreading copy, researching story ideas, and even creating your own stories in published magazines and websites with your byline. Refraction interns have gone on to work for Nature, Australian Geographic, and on TV! You’ll get an excellent grounding in science communication from the leaders in their field, the opportunity to network with other science communicators, and to learn in a fast-paced, friendly and exciting environment.

It is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to enhance their tactical communication skills.

The internship length is open for discussion, you would be working with the team in the Sydney office and would need to provide your own accommodation while in Sydney however, Refraction Media will reimburse flight costs for those travelling interstate.

The recommended time to achieve the best outcome is 3 weeks, however for those who need to travel this could be negotiated with aspects of the internship moving online if required.

Download the application form here

Opportunity five: Internship with Cosmos Magazine

We are pleased that Cosmos Magazine are again offering a special opportunity for an ASC member to undertake an internship with their team. Cosmos is a general interest science magazine that explores the frontiers of scientific knowledge, from medicine to astronomy to archaeology.

The internship would give a member the opportunity to work with the Cosmos team and understand how a printed magazine goes from inception to final product, working with the designers, writers and editorial team. The intern would be given the opportunity to write short news pieces for our Digest section, and learn how an issue is put together. She or he could also contribute to writing photo captions and other aspects of compiling the magazine, depending on interest. The intern would also have the chance to learn how magazine features are reported, written and edited. Working with the Cosmos editorial team you would develop the skills needed to identify and develop a good feature idea and write a strong pitch.

It is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to enhance their long-form writing skills and network with some of Australia’s best feature science writers.

The internship length is open for discussion, you would be working with the team in the Melbourne office and would need to provide your own accommodation while in Melbourne.

The recommended time to achieve the best outcome is 3-4 weeks, however for those who need to travel this could be negotiated with aspects of the internship moving online if required.

Download the application form here


Learn about what previous recipients have done and what they got up to.

2017 Grant winners

2016 Grant winners

2015 Grant winners

2014 Grant winners

2017 Grant winners

In 2017, two grants, and one online writing program were awarded. We’ll be updating this page soon with more information about how the recipients intend to use the grants.

  • The Australian Science Communicators Professional Development Grant.
  • The Peter Pockley Grant for Professional Development in Investigative Journalism.
  • The MD Writing and Editing ‘Writing a Journal Article’ e-Course, sponsored by MD Writing and Editing.

The ASC Professional Development Grant worth $600 was awarded to student member Shanii Austin.

The Peter Pockley Grant for Professional Development in Investigative Journalism worth $600 was awarded to Viki Cramer.

The MD Writing and Editing ‘Writing a Journal Article’ e-Course was awarded to student member Ravindra Palavalli Nettimi.

Read about Ravi’s experience here

2016 Grant winners

In 2016, two grants, one coaching program, and one internship were awarded.

  • The Australian Science Communicators Professional Development Grant.
  • The Peter Pockley Grant for Professional Development in Investigative Journalism.
  • The MD Writing and Editing Coaching Program, sponsored by MD Writing and Editing.
  • The Cosmos Magazine Internship Internship, sponsored by Cosmos Media.

The ASC Professional Development Grant worth $600 was awarded to Lydia Hales. Lydia will be using the grant to attend the 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat. The Writers Retreat includes five workshops, a welcome dinner, receptions, and writing tours. The workshops are capped at a maximum of 15 people, with an emphasis on interaction between the featured authors and the attendees.

Read more about Lydia’s adventures in Iceland here.

The Peter Pockley Grant for Professional Development in Investigative Journalism worth $600 was awarded to Claire Farrugia to develop her radio skills, particularly her technical skills in podcasting, using different production techniques and mixing different sound effects. She will be using the grant to undertake the Advanced Podcasting workshop at the AFTRS in Sydney.

The MD Writing and Editing Coaching Program was awarded to student member Sarah Bradley. Sarah wants to undertake a PhD in the future and hopes that through this experience she can write more clearly and in a form that is easy to understand. We are sure she’ll benefit from Dr Malini Devadas tuition, and again thank Malini for offering this experience to our members.

Read about Sarah’s experience here

The Cosmos Media Internship was awarded to Andrew Stapleton. Andrew plans on starting his internship in mid-late January, 2017, where he will gain invaluable experience from other writers and editors and learn the ins and outs of one of Australia’s most respected science magazines.

Read about Andrew’s internship here

2015 Grant winners

In 2015, three grants and one internship were awarded to ASC members:

  • The Australian Science Communicators Professional Development Grant.
  • The Peter Pockley Grant for Professional Development in Investigative Journalism.
  • The Cosmos Media Grant for Professional Development in Feature Writing, sponsored by Cosmos magazine.
  • The Science Alert Social Media Internship, sponsored by ScienceAlert.

The Australian Science Communicators Professional Development Grant

This year, the ASC Professional Development Grant was awarded twice, to Donna Lu and Jaclyn Drake. Donna used the grant to complete a journalism course on feature writing through the Extension program at the University of California, Berkeley, and Jaclyn was able to fund her attendance at the 2015 Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association.

“As a science teacher, my profession is science communication, my true audience is not just limited to my classroom but is the entire community I live in.” – Jaclyn Drake

Read about what Donna got up to here

Read about what Jaclyn got up to here

The Peter Pockley Grant for Professional Development in Investigative Journalism

Peter Pockley was one of the founders of the Australian Science Communicators, and a pioneering investigative science journalist and broadcaster who was instrumental in establishing the ABC’s Science Unit. After he died in 2013, this grant was established in his honour, to support an ASC member to develop their skills in the crucial field of investigative science journalism.

This year, the grant was awarded to Emma Donnelly, who undertook professional development with ABC Radio National in Brisbane, working with the producers of ‘Conversations with Richard Fidler‘.

During the week I gained experience in pitching stories for the show, the intricacies of an outside broadcast, putting a show to air, how to use the media program and database, researching for the show, how guests are selected and how putting together scripts for the show.” – Emma Donnelly

Read about Emma’s visit to ABC RN here

The new Cosmos Media Grant for Professional Development in Feature Writing

Cosmos magazine is Australia’s leading literary science magazine, with an international reach. Edited by by award-winning science journalist Dr Elizabeth Finkel, Cosmos has earned 47 awards for high-quality journalism and design.

This year, the Australian Science Communicators was delighted to be able to offer a new grant, supported by Cosmos, to support a member to develop their skills in science feature writing. The winner, Upulie Divisekera, used the grant to undertake two feature writing workshops: the Art of Feature Writing course at the NSW Writers Centre, and Maria Tumarkin’s the Hard Bits in Literary Non-Fiction.

As a scientist branching out into science writing, learning more about writing and the basics of journalism and feature writing was essential and this grant provided the opportunity to do so.” – Upulie Divisekera

Read about Upulie’s experiences here.

The Science Alert Social Media Internship

Science Alert was established in 2004 by the Australian Science Communicators’ Founding President Julian Cribb, with the aim of sharing knowledge and promoting science. Through the website, blog and Facebook page, the site reaches more 7 million readers around the world.

This year, Science Alert offered the unique opportunity for an ASC member to undertake a week-long internship with their team, learning about social media and writing side of Science Alert from the Senior Writers and Managing Editor but also the business side with the Managing Director. The winner of this internship was Jacinta Bowler.

Since that morning in the office, I have done close to six original articles, one that has been posted on ScienceAlert and about the same amount of reposts of Business Insider and the Conversation, two of their business partners. One of the original articles has been published, and there are more on the way.” – Jacinta Bowler.

Read about Jacinta’s awesome internship here

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2014 Grant winners

In 2014, to celebrate its twentieth anniversary, the Australian Science Communicators launched its inaugural grants program, offering members the chance at one of three professional development grants.

  • The ASC Grant for Professional Development (two grants $300 each)
  • The Peter Pockley Grant for Investigative Journalism (one grant $600)

The ASC Grant for Professional Development

Two grants of $300 each were awarded to ASC members for the purposes of professional development. The first winner, Abbie Thomas, undertook a two day digital marketing course as part of her ASC professional development grant, which included the skills to show you how to measure and report the effectiveness of your social media activity.

What this told me is that no matter what area of communication you work in, we all need to know about social media. How big a role it should play in our work, how much effort we should put in to it, and what rewards it can reap we hoped to find out.” – Abbie Thomas.

Read about Abbie’s course experience here

The second winner, Amanda Neihaus, completed an online course on short story writing at Stanford University – called ‘creating invented worlds’.

I think we can teach important scientific concepts through stories, too; and no, not just science fiction stories. I’m interested in the idea that science might be integrated into stories just like spinach can be baked into chocolate brownies (yes, it’s possible!)—I love science, and I also love spinach, but I recognise that not everyone feels that way.” – Amanda Neihaus.

The Peter Pockley Grant for Investigative Journalism

Dedicated to the memory of Peter Pockley – one of the founders of the Australian Science Communicators, and a pioneering investigative science journalist and broadcaster – this grant was established to support an ASC member to develop their skills in the crucial field of investigative science journalism.

This year’s winner, Sarah Keenihan, undertook the The Walkley Foundation Digitial Media Bootcamp. She learned new approaches for social media news gathering, management, verification and analytics, becoming familiar with and apply tools for web scraping, data cleaning, data conversion and data analysis, updating her skills in creating graphs, charts, maps and timelines, and identifying new platforms and methods for multimedia reporting and production.

Rather than aching muscles, I came home with a renewed understanding of how digital media can be used for communicating science.” – Sarah Keenihan.

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