The recipients for Round 5 – 2019: 

  • Living on the edge $5,000

    $3,350 to Paul Gorman for “Has Dunedin learnt from the Christchurch earthquake?”, a multimedia exploration.

    $1,650 to Katie Todd for “It won’t happen here – Is it time our policy makers shifted their thinking on natural hazards?”, a radio package and long form written piece for Radio New Zealand.

    Funded by the Earthquake Commission (EQC) 

  • Surviving (and thriving after) the next big quake $5,000

    $5,000 to Baz MacDonald from Re: News for “Isolated”, video episodes on New Zealand communities preparing to be cut off by the next big quake.

    Funded by QuakeCoRE

  • Can soil carbon save the world? $5,000

    $2,000 to Alex Braae from The Spinoff for “How large scale composting could transform farming and waste management in New Zealand, and sequester far more carbon”.

    $3,000 to Eloise Gibson “The Aussies can claim carbon credits for soil. Why can’t we?”, for publication in Newsroom.

    Funded by Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

Info For Applicants

Round 5 2019

Applications have closed for our fifth call for proposals. There were three specific themes:

  • Living on the edge?

Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, tsunami, land slips — risks from a range of natural hazards are a defining feature of life in Aotearoa NZ. Decisions made every day by families, businesses, and communities addressing or ignoring these risks have consequences that may not be apparent for years or decades. This category invites projects focused on any aspect of natural hazard risk and resilience, including consumer, economic and outcomes from recent research.

Funded by EQC. EQC is on a mission to reduce the impact of natural disaster on people and property. 

  • Surviving (and thriving after) the next big quake

Earthquakes are an ever-present hazard that NZ can’t afford to ignore. What lessons have been learned from major quakes like Kaikōura and Canterbury and how are these being applied on the ground in communities the length and breadth of New Zealand? What has actually changed when it comes to the country’s infrastructure, attitudes and outlook? How far is there still to go before the next big one hits?

Funded by QuakeCoRE. QuakeCoRE is transforming the earthquake resilience of communities and societies through innovative worldclass research.

  • Could soil carbon save the world?

As well as providing nearly all our food and helping to regulate the earth’s atmosphere, soils are one of the main global stores of carbon. We invite proposals relating to the science of soil carbon, investigating how New Zealand’s soil carbon is now being measured, monitored and managed – and what the future effects of changes in soil carbon might be on our changing climate.

Funded by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research. Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research is the Crown Research Institute for our land environment, tasked with helping New Zealanders understand and care for our land and the rich biology that shares this land with us.

Am I eligible?

Eligible applicants for a Science Journalism Fund grant must:

  1. Be a citizen or legal resident of New Zealand.
  2. Have professional experience in journalism (writing, reporting, editing, producing, and/or filmmaking), science communication, or another relevant field. We welcome freelance and media outlet employed journalists.
  3. Have an interest in science-related reporting, but no previous experience is required.
  4. Submit a complete application with a letter of recommendation (see more details below).
  5. Awarded grantees must attend a meeting with the Science Journalism Fund before beginning the project.

What’s the timeline?

  • Deadline for applications –   November 10, 2019
  • Successful applicants announced – before Christmas, 2019 
  • Funded projects to be published –  by 1 July 2020

What do I need to apply?

Before completing the official application form, please read the following Guidelines for Applicants. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

General information that includes:

  • Contact details, website information if applicable, employment information and eligibility, media experience, years of journalism experience, and how you heard about this funding opportunity.
  • A CV/resume that includes a list of representative publications, and any major journalism prizes or awards and year awarded.

Project description that includes:

  • The proposed project title
  • An informal statement (max. 800 words) providing a clear outline of the proposed project, a plan for completion, and project timeline, plus:
    • Discussion of the significance and timeliness of the topic with an explanation of the feasibility of completing the project.
    • An outline of the potential impact of the published work on the public’s understanding of a science-related issue.
    • Details of how this grant could benefit and support your development as a journalist.
  • The project budget. The amount of funding ($500 to $5,000) you are applying for, and a breakdown of how you propose to spend this money.

Samples of professional work:

  • Submit a total of three samples of your work (at least one of the samples should be in the form of media proposed for your project).
  • Articles, if possible, should be in the original format they were published (e.g., digital scans of originals; direct link to the article). Mailed materials cannot be returned and are not encouraged.

Note that it is not required that the submitted pieces be related to science. We suggest submitting your highest quality work.

Details of supporters:

The application will require: Name, title, email address, and phone number of one referee who is familiar with your work and can recommend on your abilities and potential as a journalist.

You will also need to upload a letter of support from a media outlet. There is a template available for this purpose.

If you work at an established media outlet:

  • Name, title, email address, and phone number of your organisation’s publisher / editor / manager / producer.
  • One letter submitted by the above individual.
  • This individual should outline how the media outlet intends to publish the content resulting from the project and the potential audience reach for the content*.

If you are self-employed/independent/freelance:

  • Name, title, email address, and phone number of your intended partner organisation’s publisher / editor / manager / producer.
  • One letter submitted by the above individual.
  • This individual should outline how the media outlet intends to publish the content resulting from the project and the potential audience reach for the content*.

*See section below on information for partner media outlets

Note: Both freelance applicants and applicants in salaried employment as journalists will be eligible for grants to cover research and travel expenses. If funding is required to support a journalist’s time researching and preparing stories for the media, priority will be given to freelance applicants, unless a salaried journalist can demonstrate that the story or stories they plan to work on would not otherwise be possible.

Information for partner media outlets

The Science Journalism Fund’s success depends on the quality and relevance of its funded projects, but also on the ability of the partnering media outlet to deliver an audience for the project content. We, therefore, expect your supporting letter as a publisher, editor, manager or producer to include the following:

  • A brief outline of how you plan to publish the project’s contents.
  • A brief outline of the potential audience reach of publishing the project’s contents via your media outlet.
  • An undertaking that the project will conform to your media outlet’s editorial standards.
  • An undertaking that one month following the project being published via your media outlet, the project contents will be made available for publication elsewhere under a Creative Commons licence.

Template text for letter of support

To be submitted on the supporting media outlet’s letterhead. Additional words of support for the project are welcome, but please be sure to include everything below.

  • I support__________________ (applicant) ‘s application to the Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund to investigate _____________________ (topic) for publication / broadcast in ________________________ (outlet) by _____________(date).
  • Potential audience reach for the project outlet will be ___________________(further details).
  • I undertake that the project will conform to my media outlet’s editorial standards.
  • I confirm that the resulting story will be made available under Creative Commons license 1 month after initial publication / broadcast date.




Useful Resources

Science Media Centre’s Desk Guide for Covering Science

See the judging criteria