The Science for Africa Foundation (SFA Foundation) is launching the inaugural Africa Science Journalism Awards (ASJA) to uplift credible health, science and development reporting. The awards recognise and honour excellent reporting on science and innovation in Africa and also aim to improve and increase coverage of science on the continent. The ASJA is a project of the SFA Foundation implemented with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Rationale of the Awards
The ASJA will be given to African journalists whose stories cover the SFA Foundation’s thematic focus areas of health, climate change and environment, and agriculture. The awards include a category for scientists to uplift credible science voices to eliminate misinformation and disinformation that sometimes characterises conversations on science particularly on social media.
Preceding the announcement of the awards will be a science journalism workshop that will be attended by those shortlisted for the prize and science editors. Two of the prize winners will also be given an opportunity to spend 3 days to a week at a partner institution meeting scientists to gain in-depth knowledge about a specific science subject at a partner academic or research institution within their country or regionally.
ASJA seeks to:
- Establish an annual award that recognises excellence in science journalism
- Contribute to the pool of science journalists in the continent
- Build the capacity of African science journalists through workshops and site visits that enable them to gain in-depth knowledge about a specific science subject.
Entry Categories and Prizes
- Innovative science journalist will be awarded to the journalist whose coverage demonstrates the impact of science or ignites conversations or systemic or policy changes that have contributed to improving the lives of Africans. The prize will be $3,000
- Science journalism media organisation of the year will be awarded to a news organisation whose coverage of science is shaping public perceptions. The prize is $5,000
- Best news story or feature will be given to a journalist who creatively provides insight into topical issues in science and whose consistent coverage is contributing to raising public awareness of issues related to health, climate change and environment and or agriculture. The prize will be $2,000
- Innovator editors/editors award to be given to editors whose newsrooms have championed the coverage of science with the goal to incentivise more editors to cover science. The prize will be $2,500
- Science champion: Here, recognition will be given to scientists and innovators who have used on and offline media platforms to raise the profile of their work and science on the continent. The prize will be $1,500.
In addition to the monetary prize, winners will be given plaques at a key pan African science conference. There is an opportunity for one or two of the winners to spend 3 days to a week at a partner academic or research institution within their country or regionally meeting scientists to gain in-depth knowledge about a specific science subject. A pitch fee will be paid for a story that is published after spending time at the partner institution.
All categories are open to print, broadcast and online media.
Applications must focus on the thematic focus areas of the SFA Foundation, which are health, climate and environment and agriculture.
Applications can be submitted as follows:
- 1 for innovative science journalist
- 2 stories for the best news story
- 1 story for best feature stories
- 3 stories for editor’s award
Applicants are allowed to submit one entry per category via the Agaseke Grants Management System (Agaseke GMS).
The awards seek to recognise:
- Journalists and media houses who demonstrate the impact of science, ignite conversations or systemic or policy changes that have contributed to improving the lives of Africans.
- Editors who are advancing science and innovation on the continent.
- Scientists who have raised the profile of their science and that of science on the continent.
Stories will be judged based on:
Relevance and Reach
- Stories must be topical, informative, interesting and highlight how science is improving lives of Africans
- Has catalysed changes in policy or attracted wide readership
- Demonstrates use of other platforms, such as social media to give the story legs.
Quality and Creativity
- Presents complex scientific concepts in a way that is accessible to non-scientific audiences
- Unique and engaging storytelling that is interesting, well-written, researched and balanced
- Original or new angle to a running story.
- Applicants will be allowed to submit the prescribed number of entries per category of stories published between January 2022 to 30 August 2023
- All categories are open to African journalists who write for local or global print, broadcast and online media outlets
- Applications must focus on the thematic focus areas of the SFA Foundation, which are health, climate and environment and agriculture
- Editors must only be for African publications
Deadline for Applications
Applications are to be submitted through Agaseke GMS, the SFA Foundation grants portal, by 31 August 2023 at 5 PM EAT.