The themes for the 2019 funding round are: 

  • Sea level rise in Aotearoa New Zealand $5,000

    Funded by the NZ SeaRise programme. Researchers from NZ SeaRise are working to improve sea-level rise projections for New Zealand so we can better anticipate and manage future impacts. We invite applications for any projects concerned with sea level rise in New Zealand.

  • Improving New Zealand’s resilience to earthquakes $5,000

    Funded by QuakeCoRe. QuakeCoRE is transforming the earthquake resilience of communities and societies through innovative world-class research. We invite applications from projects showing how current research is helping to create an earthquake resilient New Zealand.

  • Stronger homes on better land $5,000

    Funded by EQC. EQC is on a mission to reduce the impact of natural disasters on people and property, and ensure New Zealanders are living in stogner homes on better land, and have access to natural disaster insurance. We invite applications on how New Zealand homes and homeowners can become more resilient to natural disasters. Stories with a science/business/consumer focus are welcome.

  • Science in the public interest $5,000

    Funded by Te Pūnaha Matatini.  Te Pūnaha Matatini – ‘the meeting place of many faces’ – is a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland that will develop methods and approaches for transforming complex data about New Zealand’s environment, economy, and society into knowledge, tools, and insight for making better decisions. What do you want to write about? CRISPR? Mātauranga Māori? Another contemporary issue in science today? We invite applications on topics of strong interest and relevance to the public of Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Open call! $1,500

    Funded by our PressPatron supporters (thank you!) and the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize. This open call is for any science-focussed stories. Priority will be given to new journalists and freelance science communicators and journalists.

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 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 –   February 28, 2019
  • Successful applicants announced – no later than March 31, 2019 
  • Funded projects to be published –  during 2019

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