Summer School


When: arrive from 18:30 on Thursday 15 August, with talk with John starting from 19:00
Where: The Castle Farringdon, 34-35 Cowcross St, Farringdon, London EC1M 6DB
Join us for the annual drink and chance to mingle with like-minded folks from Stempra - the organisation for science PR, comms and media professionals, and the MJA - Medical Journalists’ Association.
This year, we've changed up the format a little and will be hosting a Q&A with John von Radowitz (formerly of the Press Association) following his retirement to reflect on his work over the years.

Prof Mark Miodownik, writer, broadcaster, materials scientist, and teacher, will be giving the keynote lecture at the ABSW Summer School event on Monday July 8th and this lecture is open to all members, regardless of whether or not you are attending the Summer School.

Miodownik is the author of Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World and LIQUID: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programmes. He is a professor at UCL, and the founder of its Institute of Making. Full details here

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.

Many thanks to all those who took part in the Summer School 2019, why not search #abswss19 on twitter or posts from our account @absw, to find out what happened?  If further downloads become available (eg: speaker presentations) they will be posted on our Summer School downloads page.

Monday 8 July 2019, UCL, 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. 

Registration Costs:

ABSW members/UCL staff and students/WFSJ members: £45 inc VAT

ABSW members may attend the evening reception and key note speech without attending the Summer School - just select evening event only on the registration form - this event is FREE to ABSW members

Registered for WCSJ - FREE (proof of registration required by upload of your registration receipt through summer school registration form)

You can join the ABSW to enjoy all our member benefits and the registration fee of £45 - our registration form allows you to pay for reduced registration and membership in one payment, however you will still need to complete our membership form once you have made the payment.

Registration now closed as event has taken place.




Tech Stream

Essential Skills Stream




How to break into science and tech media job market - and how to make it a success once you're in 


Eleni Courea, reporter at  The Times

Aamna Mohdin, news reporter at The Guardian

Timothy Revell, assistant news editor, New Scientist

Matthew Warren, reporter at Nature

Moderator: Mico Tatalovic, chair of the ABSW Executive Board and freelance science journalist


Coffee and tea networking break



Reporting on emerging technologies: The next big thing or vaporware?

Sunny Bains, ABSW Executive Board member and UCL


Writing Features: The elements of narrative journalism

Richard Fisher, managing editor, features (RoW)


Lunch break



Investigating companies

Bill Goodwin, investigations editor, Computer Weekly


Incorporating visuals into your story

Charlotte Stoddart, filmmaker and science journalist


Coffee and tea networking break



The law around company investigations: NDAs, libel, trade secrets, whistlblowing, protecting sources


Cathy James, Senior Legal Consultant and former Chief Executive of Protect

Louis Charalambous, partner at Simons Muirhead & Burton and head of the Media Content and Disputes team

Stephanie Kleyman, Director of Kleyman & Co Solicitors 

Moderator: Sunny Bains, ABSW Executive Board member and UCL


Reading a research paper: Why the full story probably isn’t in the press release, and how to find out what really is

Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics, The Open University



Pitching to technology, engineering and trade publications


Nitin Dahad, EE Times

Katia Moskvitch, business and space editor, Wired UK, British Science Journalist of the Year 2019

Dickon Ross, editor-in-chief, Engineering & Technology

Clare McDonald, Business Editor, Computer Weekly

Bill Goodwin, Investigations Editor, Computer Weekly

Moderator: Aisling Irwin, secretary of the ABSW Executive Board and freelance science journalist


Building a satisfying portfolio career   


Dr Kat Arney, award-winning writer and broadcaster, founder and director of First Create The Media - a multimedia storytelling consultancy for people who do science

Chris Edwards, freelance technology Journalist

Andy Extance, freelance journalist and treasurer ABSW Executive Board

Dr Helen Pilcher, science writer, performer and author of 'Bring Back the King: The New Science of De-extinction'

Moderator: Wendy Grossman, ABSW Executive Board and freelance



Meet the Editors (individual short appointments with editors) or networking 


Reception - open to all ABSW members not just Summer School delegates


Keynote speech followed by Q&A 

Professor Mark Miodownik, professor of materials & society, UCL: We need to talk about stuff

Open to all ABSW members not just Summer School delegates


Workshops and panels: details and speakers

Programme at a glance with room details


The ABSW, UCL and EurekAlert! - supporting and developing the next generation of science journalists. 

Find out more about our previous Science Journalism Summer Schools held in 2017 and 2015.

With thanks to our supporters:

EurekAlert logo
Lead Professional Development Partner
ukri small
Logo Research Professional Primary RGB
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.

STEMPRA-ABSW-MJA summer social

When: 18:00 on Thursday 23 August 2018

Where: The Edinboro Castle, 57 Mornington Terrace, London, NW1 7RU

Join us for a well-deserved drink and a chance to mingle with like-minded folks from Stempra (the informal network of science PR, comms and media professionals) and the Medical Journalists’ Association (MJA).

This is a members' event but you can of course join the ABSW in order to attend.


ABSW Calendar

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EurekAlert! is the ABSW's lead professional development partner and supports all ABSW professional development and training events.