We are now accepting proposals for grants from $500 to $5,000 for projects in the following themes:

  • Agricultural greenhouse gases and options to reduce agricultural emissions – funded by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre – there is $10,000 available in this theme to fund up to four stories.  We particularly encourage applications that include use of innovative media such as video and infographics

  • Science on ice – funded by Antarctica New Zealand.  There is $5,000 available in this theme to fund a story or stories that feature New Zealand research into one or more of these areas:

CLIMATE, CRYOSPHERE, ATMOSPHERE AND LITHOSPHERE:  Improved understanding of the past and current state of Antarctica, its significance and implications of the role of Antarctica in global change, and implications of global change for Antarctica.

INLAND & COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS:  Improved understanding of inland and coastal ecosystems of the Ross Sea region leading to enhanced knowledge, conservation and protection priorities in Antarctica.

MARINE SYSTEMS:  Improved conservation and resource management of the Antarctic marine environment.


  • Big data: Privacy, bias and fairness – $5000 funded by Te Pūnaha Matatini.  As technology advances, algorithms and machine learning are making ever more important decisions about our lives. We invite projects that explore the wider consequences for society.

Info For Applicants

Am I eligible?

Eligible applicants for a Science Journalism Fund grant must:


  1. Be a citizen or legal resident of New Zealand.
  2. Have at least three years of professional experience in journalism (writing, reporting, editing, producing, and filmmaking). We welcome freelance and media outlet employed journalists. Please note: We do not accept blogging or academic writing as professional journalism experience.
  3. Have an interest in science-related reporting, but no previous experience is required.
  4. Submit a complete application with letters 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 – February 9, 2018
  • Successful applicants announced – February 28, 2018
  • Funded projects to be published by August 31, 2018

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 fellowship.
  • 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 essay (800 words maximum) 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 two people who are familiar with your work and can comment on your abilities and potential as a journalist.


You will also need to upload a letter of support from a media outlet.


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 publishers


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 publishers

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.

Useful Resources

Science Media Centre’s Desk Guide for Covering Science

See the judging criteria