Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award 2024 for Mid-Career Science Journalists

Opportunity Detail

  • Gender MaleFemale
  • Level Non-Degree /Short program
  • Eligible Region/Countries


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  • Medium of Instruction English
  • Field of study Journalism
  • Opportunity ID 77039
  • Funding Type Partially Funded

Opportunity Description

Applications are open for the 2024 Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award, presented by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW). This award honors and supports mid-career science journalists who exemplify Sharon Begley’s high standards.

Sharon Begley, a dedicated science journalist, is remembered for her commitment, skill, moral clarity, and dedication to mentoring. The award consists of a career prize and a grant of at least $20,000, enabling the winner to pursue a significant reporting project.

Key Details and Dates

  • Application Deadline: April 30, 2024
  • Result Announcement Dates: Late summer
  • Funding Type: Partially Funded
  • Organizer: Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW)
  • Eligible Countries: All
  • Eligible Gender: Male/Female
  • Target Group: Experienced mid-career science journalists
  • Focus Area/Field: Science journalism, including topics such as health/medicine, environment, mathematics, and technology

Prize and Benefits

The Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award consists of the following items:

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  • The award includes a career prize recognizing the accomplishments of a mid-career science journalist.
  • The winner receives a grant of at least $20,000 to undertake a significant reporting project.
  • CASW covers additional costs, including registration, travel, and lodging, for the winner to attend the ScienceWriters2024 conference.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants should fulfill these eligibility criteria:

  • Candidates must be experienced journalists with 8–10 years of work, including significant experience in science journalism.
  • Editorial experience contributes to meeting eligibility requirements.
  • No entry fee is required, and applications are accepted online.
  • Staff and independent journalists worldwide are eligible if they have published in news outlets available to international audiences.
  • Current CASW board members, staff, contractors, and their households are ineligible.
  • Former Sharon Begley Award Advisory Committee members become eligible three years after their service ends.

Project Mentoring and Requirements

Please read this part carefully:

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  • CASW provides the award winner with a mentor, preferably a senior science journalist with similar project experience.
  • The awardee agrees to use the grant for a science journalism project within six months.
  • Publications resulting from the grant must acknowledge the Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award.
  • The awardee keeps CASW informed about the project’s progress, including any changes to the original plan.
  • Tax consequences of the award are the recipient’s responsibility.

Required Documents

The components of an Award Entry are as follows. Please prepare them all and submit them as part of your application:

Work Samples

  • Submit 3-5 published clips or work samples showcasing the candidate’s best work in science journalism.
  • Eligible work includes news, features, columns, analysis, commentary, newsletters, book chapters (not entire books), podcasts, and multimedia storytelling.
  • Collaborative work requires details on the candidate’s role, especially in multi-author reported features.
  • Submissions must be in English, and self-published work is excluded.
  • Video and audio stories must be scripted and reported by the candidate.

Supporting Documents

  • Attach a cover letter making the case for the candidate and the proposed project. Elements of a successful letter are as follows:
  1. Summary of the applicant’s impactful work in science journalism.
  2. Personal statement conveying motivation and commitment.
  3. Additional personal information related to journalism advocacy, teaching, mentoring, or innovation.
  4. Overall, the “Why now? Why me?” pitch for the proposed project.
  • Submit a resume detailing contributions to science journalism, including volunteer service, advocacy, teaching, mentoring, innovation, and outreach activities.
  • Include one to three supporting letters:
  1. A nomination or Letter of support from an editor or publisher.
  2. One or two additional letters from senior colleagues or second editors.

Project Proposal

Provide a project proposal outlining the reporting and writing project intended to be pursued with the awarded grant. The proposal must

  1. Demonstrate the project’s viability, novelty, and a well-conceived plan.
  2. Show that the candidate has done enough research and thought through the project approach.
  3. Describe the research, outline a work plan, and include a project timeline.
  • There is no need for a publication agreement, but letters from editors expressing an interest may be necessary.
  • A simple budget, including reporting and living expenses, pitching costs, and multimedia production costs, is required to support the work plan.
  • Provide enough information for judges to form a clear opinion, but the proposal need not be highly detailed.
  • Start reporting within six months of the award.
  • Projects, including book proposals, may be submitted, with a plan for securing a publishing contract within 18 months for books and publication within two years for other projects.

 Selection Process of the Sharon Begley Science Reporting Award

The selection process comprises the following steps:

  • A panel of judges consisting of the CASW Board of Directors reviews entries over three months.
  • The award winner is announced in late summer.
  • The winner receives an award letter with the purpose and terms of the project grant.
  • An initial $10,000 is disbursed upon signing the award letter.
  • The award is formally presented at the ScienceWriters2024 conference.

An Award Honoring Sharon Begley

This award is designed for science, health, and environmental journalists whose careers embody the extraordinary qualities of Sharon Begley’s journalism, known for:

  • Depth: Especially in scientific understanding.
  • Writing Helping readers comprehend complex scientific concepts.
  • Precision and Care: Explaining scientific evidence with precision and care.
  • Authority: Demonstrating authority in their reporting.
  • Approachability, Humor, and Respect: Maintaining approachability, humor, and respect for the reader.
  • Exhaustive Reporting: Conducting thorough and careful sourcing.
  • Powerful, Vivid, Clear, Humane Writing: Mastering storytelling with powerful, vivid, clear, and humane writing.
  • Fearless Pursuit of Truth: Engaging in the fearless pursuit of truth.
  • Myth-Busting and Ground-Breaking Reporting: Breaking new ground and challenging myths.
  • Insight: Demonstrating insightful reporting.

While the award does not explicitly recognize character or virtue, judges may consider proof of a candidate’s:

  • Advocacy: For journalism, public accountability, fact-based public discourse, and quality in science communication
  • Collaborative Skill: Successful work as a member of a team.
  • Mentorship and Professional Generosity: Providing mentorship and professional generosity.
  • Courage and Leadership: Demonstrating courage, toughness in the face of barriers, leadership, and trailblazing.
  • Attention to Social Issues: Addressing equity, inclusion in newsrooms, sourcing, and coverage of marginalization and injustice
  • Commitment to High-Quality Journalism: Demonstrating commitment to high-quality service to readers and journalism

Previous award victories are not a prerequisite for eligibility in the selection process.

How to Apply?

  • Entries are acceptable through until April 30, 2024.
  • Candidates submit work samples, supporting documents, and a project proposal.


Apply Now


Do you still have any questions or need more details? Please visit the official CASW website.


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