Summer School


Science Talks – An Educational Webinar Series for Journalists

Science Talks is an educational webinar series for journalists presented by Wiley in partnership with the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) and the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). These complimentary, one-hour sessions are hosted by The Wiley Network to provide journalists with on-going training in science topics of particular global importance.

The next webinar, Science Talks with the American Geriatrics Society: What Journalists Need to Know About Healthy Aging, will take place on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 11:00 am EDT. In this session media will learn:

  • What are the dynamics of the aging process and why are we living longer?
  • What do geriatricians mean by “healthy aging”?
  • How does prevention reduce the risk of serious medical issues?
  • What are some of the most common medical issues associated with aging and increased longevity?
  • How much physical activity do people over age 50 need? How important is diet in the health of older individuals?  What other lifestyle issues are important in healthy aging?

We are planning to run a regional meetup at the British Science Festival in Coventry on Friday September 13 as part of a festival takeover of the local arts quarter, Fargo Village. We will most likely run the meetup for members and other science writers at the festival in a bar in this area. However, the festival has offered to provide an author from the ABSW a slot at an evening of 'lightning talks' by science authors held at a local independent bookshop.

All ABSW members are invited to attend the ABSW Awards Ceremony 2019 to celebrate the very best in science, technology, engineering and mathematics journalism in UK and Ireland.

Join us at the Science Museum's brand new Illuminate event space on Tuesday 28 May 2019 to find out the winners of this year's awards and then afterwards at the same venue for the annual Scientists Meet the Media reception organised by the Science Museum and Royal Society. RSVP is essential by Friday 10 May via the RSVP link below.

The ABSW Awards are sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, plus individual category support from The Royal Society, The Dr Katharine Giles Fund and NUJ Stephen White.

Registration now open 

Monday 8 July 2019, University College London

  • Considering a career in science journalism?
  • Taken a career break and want to get back into the field?
  • Thinking of moving to the science or tech beat?

Gain new skills and insights and get the chance to network with key editors and journalists at the Association of British Science Writers Science & Technology Journalism Summer School.

The summer school is an official satellite event of the WCSJ2019 and for those registered to attend the WCSJ the summer school is free to attend (proof of WCSJ registration required on registration for the summer school by upload of your registration receipt) you will also then receive a 100 Swiss francs refund (50 for students) on the registration fee paid for the WCSJ19 after the WCSJ has taken place by providing evidence of attendance at the summer school which ABSW will provide on request. 

Dr Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser

Did you miss this ABSW and Science Museum event, would you like to know more? 

Board member and organiser of the event Bob Ward has written a blog post on the event along with a full audio recording.

ABSW member Alison Cooper has also provided a brief review:



Dr Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser outlined his vision and priorities for science, within the current international climate.

Science relies on international collaboration across the world.  The UK ‘punches above its weight’ in terms of research output.  Brexit presents a risk of the scientific community not being open to individuals, and these interactions are essential.  He will aim to keep the UK as close as possible to EU research initiatives, whatever happens.

Globally scaled case studies can demonstrate the UK’s contribution e.g the ‘Ebola Crisis in Conga’ gives insight into how vaccines work in a real situation.  This is under reported because of war.

There are exciting developments in genetic editing, such as CRISPR babies and germ line therapy, for example to treat HIV.  It is important to bear in mind, there may be off target, unintended, ‘late effects’ that can’t be known for many years.  Preventative therapy is a big step if a person may not be at risk.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a disruptive technology.  There are some areas where it could be beneficial, such as finding patterns in data, and opportunities to look at processes.   Public expectations about AI, for example replacing people in jobs, present a danger of it not being used when it could be effective and save time.  We should resist this, recognise potential biases, regulate, and aim to improve it for the NHS.   Increasing the diversity of algorithm builders and coders is important.  

Information from NHS and stored in the Biobanks positions the UK ahead in international research. He wants to ensure that use of public data benefits the NHS.  

The newly formed UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), previously RCUK, has an influential agenda for multidisciplinary research.  This is needed for translational research (route to public/patients).   Gaps in the funding landscape need to be addressed, to resource all parts of the pipeline, recognising research is not a linear process.   This includes support for fundamental, ‘blue skies’ research. The pull through to innovation (products) needs strengthening and could make use of Systems Engineering Processes, with a move towards an ‘investment’ rather than ‘grants’ culture.

He is fascinated by the potential for emerging data visualisation tools.  These can transform policy decision making. 

He recognised the importance of supporting diverse career pathways for opportunities in science and to consider broader practical and people implications for research.

Here's how we promoted the event:


Would you like to know how Brexit will affect British science? Or the threats that antimicrobial resistance and climate change pose to the UK? Or the impact of the UKRI/research council shake up? Or how we should manage the risks and opportunities of artificial intelligence? 

These are some of the searching questions that you could ask Dr Patrick Vallance in one of his first public outings as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government.
Dr Vallance took up his new post in April 2018 following a distinguished career in medical research and the pharmaceuticals industry, including a period as President of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline.
In a unique appearance at the Science Museum's Lates, Dr Vallance will begin by outlining his priorities before being quizzed by Dr Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs at the Museum, and former editor of New Scientist and science editor of The Daily Telegraph, and will also take questions from the audience.
If you are a member of the Association of British Science Writers and want to hear answers from the UK Government’s top scientist, without the intervention of a spin doctor, then join us at the Science Museum on Wednesday 28 November.

What’s the role of science in informing social and personal choices in an era of ‘alternative facts’? Do emotions and worldviews have a place in our ability to decipher what we see as the truth?

The ABSW held a panel discussion around these issues on September 14th in the city of Hull, as part of this year’s British Science Festival.

It explored how science can respond to the ongoing crisis of ‘truth’ and better inform our lives.

ABSW Calendar

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