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Last week, the University of Oregon welcomed their first-ever UK Civic Science Awardee, Melanie Brown, who will be embarking on her year-long programme at their prestigious Center for Science Communication Research.
Now in its second year, the award - which is offered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission with the support of The Rita Allen Foundation, grants the opportunity for a journalist with a deep knowledge of science, and a passion for public engagement to play a role in building public awareness of civic science.
Melanie will join as part of the wider Civic Science Fellowship initiative 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.
Melanie is an award-winning multimedia journalist and has spent the past decade working for the BBC in factual programming with a focus on making science documentaries for the BBC World Service. She is passionate about telling complex science stories in ways that are accessible to a broad audience and foster engagement with the most pressing scientific, environmental, and health issues. Some of her past stories have covered; brain computer interfaces, China’s scientific development and its implications for geo-politics, wildfires, AI in warfare, underwater noise pollution, memory loss, the future of toilets and gene editing.
Over the period of the award, Melanie will pursue her 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, Melanie 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.