The city of Lausanne will be hosting the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ2019) that will be held from 1 to 5 July 2019 at the SwissTech Convention Center on the campus of the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne (UNIL).
Every two years, this gathering attracts over a thousand science journalists and communicators representing 70+ nationalities. The World Conference in San Francisco (WCSJ2017) was attended by 1,360+ attendees from plus 70 countries.
For the first time, three host science writers’ associations will join forces to organize the conference: the Swiss Association for Science Journalism (ASJS), the French Association of Science Journalists in the news media (AJSPI) and the Science Writers in Italy (SWIM).
The conference’s focus will be on “Reaching new heights in science journalism”. It uses the mountains shared by the three organizing countries as a symbol and common thread running through the event.
A preliminary conference program overview can be consulted here.
WCSJ2019 will present to organizations, foundations, and companies interesting opportunities to showcase their research and products. More information on the sponsorship opportunities coming soon.
MANAGING HIGH EXPECTATIONS: INFORMATION REGARDING THE SELECTION PROCEDURES FOR TRAVEL FELLOWSHIPS AND SESSIONS OF THE CONFERENCE PROGRAM
In the spring of 2018, close to 400 science journalists and others from around the world submitted a proposal to organize a session at WCSJ 2019 – almost 10 times more than the number of slots available. In November, 646 individuals applied for 100 available travel grants. The hopes and expectations in the community were extremely high. Inevitably, many people were disappointed, either because their proposal session was rejected or because they did not receive a travel grant. WFSJ would like to explain how the selection for both was made.
Both the WCSJ2019 Program Committee and the travel grant selection committee included representatives from the five continents. Both adopted strict criteria and invested much time to ensure that proposals and participants were of a high caliber, with due consideration for geographic, gender, seniority, background, and other strong criteria. Particular attention was paid to ensuring that young journalists, new skills, and fresh experiences will be given exposure at the Lausanne conference.
Each World Conference for Science Journalists is larger than the previous one, in part because science journalism is still growing as a profession; there are science reporters in almost every country now. Many journalists have attended the World Conference several times, reflecting the growing importance of the meeting for the field. We are happy to see them again. But we hope established and veteran journalists will increasingly find their own means to attend the meeting. The strength of a community depends in part on the personal commitment of its members.
We trust that the quality of the program, the first class field trips, and the possibility to interact with colleagues will lead many professional science journalists to decide to attend the only global conference in their field.
Travel Fellowships specifics:
Members of the selection committee from around the world were appointed based on member association recommendations. All continents were represented. They reviewed all 646 applications carefully in November and December 2018. Their mandate was to focus on quality. Candidates were asked to explain and motivate what difference attending the next World Conference would make to them and their careers. Many sponsors of the grants had their specific criteria as well, including geographic representation.
Committee reviewers graded each application with a score from 0 to 40 based on a 10 question evaluation grid. The 300 highest scores were then carefully assessed and the final list of 100 successful applications adopted. Click here for the Travel Policy of the WCSJ2019 International Fellows.
Conference Program specifics:
The Program Committee, consisting of 15 science journalists from around the world, rated nearly 400 proposals, Names of the submitters were “blinded” to reduce the chance of bias, but not the names of proposed moderators and speakers. Key selection criteria included strength, relevance, timeliness, and originality. The committee met in person for a day and exchanged thousands of emails to come up with a final list of 40 proposals that, together, will offer attendees ample reflection on our trade, our audience, and our relationship to science; opportunities for professional development, skill-building, and networking; the latest developments in several hot scientific fields; and a dose of science-related fun and entertainment.
In the selection of sessions and speakers, the committee is striving to strike a fair balance in terms of geography and gender. In many cases, the committee has asked session organizers to add speakers from underrepresented regions. Committee members also helped improve sessions and organized from scratch several sessions that had not been proposed but were deemed important to the community. The Program Committee believes WCSJ2019 will be rich and well-balanced.
- Conference website: www.wcsj2019.eu
- Conference hashtag: #WCSJ2019
- Olivier Dessibourg, President of the Swiss Association of Science Journalism (ASJS)
- Yves Sciama, Vice President of the French Association of Science Journalists in the news media (AJSPI)
- Fabio Turone, President of Science Writers in Italy (SWIM)
- Christophe Bourillon, Executive Director of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ)