Civic Science Storytelling

The Civic Science Storytelling Award supports an early-career UK journalist to establish a home for the practice and teaching of civic science storytelling at the University of Oregon, as part of the Civic Science Fellows network.

The US-UK Fulbright Commission in partnership with the Rita Allen Foundation is offering an award for an early-career journalist with a deep knowledge of science, and a passion for public engagement, to play a role in building public awareness of civic science

The award is part of the Civic Science Fellows programme, which invests in a cohort of leaders to foster new collaborations, allowing science and research to more meaningfully connect with diverse communities and our shared civic life.  

Science has never been more central to public life, or more disconnected; for society to successfully navigate our enormous challenges and ensure extraordinary breakthroughs in science, health, and technology are available to all people, we need to connect science and civic life in fundamentally new ways.

Hosted for up to a year by the University of Oregon’s Center for Science Communication Research (SCR), the Civic Science Storytelling Fellow will:    

  • Produce and curate a body of journalistic work reporting on civic science  
  • Develop a teaching tool kit for telling stories about civic science  
  • Work with researchers at SCR to assess the impact of civic science journalism on communities traditionally wary of science and scientists  
  • Play an active role in the Civic Science Fellows network   

Over the period of the award, the fellow will pursue their own reporting on civic science for a variety of media outlets while working with colleagues at the SCR to source best practice examples of civic science journalism and to establish a teaching framework that can be used for both university students and professional journalists. Alongside the journalistic activity, the awardee will also be part of the Civic Science Fellows cohort and will participate in regular webinars and in-person as well as online convenings, helping to build connections and collaborations between communities of interest in the UK and the US.  

The University of Oregon, established by the Oregon legislature in 1872, is a premier public research university that serves its students and the people of Oregon, the nation, and the world through the creation and transfer of knowledge in the liberal arts, the natural and social sciences, and the professions. It is designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a top-tier research university and is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a group of 66 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. The UO offers over 300 degree and certificate programs, and its tradition of interdisciplinary research continues in major centers and institutes involving hundreds of researchers, students, and supporting staff members.

Housed within the UO’s School of Journalism and Communication, the Center for Science Communication Research (SCR) makes complex science useful to improve people’s lives. Center faculty associates lead and teach about cutting-edge science communication research that addresses complex problems and advances evidence-based decision making. Through research, education, and outreach, the center aims to enhance conversations between scientists and society.

Proposed programme of study

  • Summer until December 2022:  the Fellow begins to curate a body of civic science storytelling work that they will make available to the public (potentially on a dedicated website) by early 2023 and to which they would continue to contribute across the award period. During this same period, the Fellow should start their own civic science reporting focusing on communities in and around Eugene, Oregon. (NB there is flexibility in the start time of the award – as long as the Fellow is able to start at the beginning of the academic year at the University of Oregon, September 15, 2022). 
  • Early 2023: the Fellow works with UO Professor of Practice Mark Blaine to develop a course on civic science narrative for the Spring 2023 semester and collaborates with the researchers at SCR to start work on drawing up a framework for assessing the impact of civic science storytelling.  
  • Spring 2023: the Fellow teaches (or co-teaches with Mark Blaine) the Civic Science Narrative Course.

Grant amount

The selected Fellow will be paid a monthly stipend of $6670 (or the equivalent of $80,000 for 12 months) plus benefits (health insurance for the Fellow). There will also be a travel allowance. The Fellow’s J-1 visa will be sponsored by the University of Oregon.

Application requirements

  • UK citizen – we also welcome candidates from British Overseas Territories
  • Science journalism professional, preferably early career, looking to engage in the practice and teaching of journalism in order to further the understanding of civic science 
  • Available for 9 to 12 months  from June/September 2022 to June 2023 
  • NB: Dual US-UK citizens, US Green Card holders, or individuals who are resident in the US at the time of application are ineligible to apply 

Application process

Please apply by 11.59PM Sunday 8 May through our application portal where you will be asked to complete the following:

  • Supply your CV
  • Upload a cover letter (no more than 300 words)
  • Provide an essay of no more than 500 words that tells a story about civic science (that you have either reported or learned about elsewhere) and also explains why you believe the story to be a good example of civic science.
  • Complete the US-UK Fulbright Commission Supplemental Form

In addition to completing the online application, you will need to supply two recommendation letters. Recommendation letters should be sent by referees with the candidate's name in the subject line to civicscience@fulbright.org.uk.

Please note, applications for this award close on Sunday 8th May 2022.