The WFSJ launched the Louise Behan Reporting Grants in 2019, with kind support and encouragement from Louise Behan and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
The Louise Behan Reporting Grants support science journalists in low-income countries (as defined by the World Bank) to report on stories of importance to that country or region.
Because of its experience in training journalists and to maximize the grants’ impact, WFSJ ensures the grants are used in synergy with its regular activities, such as training programmes and the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ).
Louise Behan graduated from Ottawa’s Carleton University School of Journalism in 1978, and subsequently worked for the IDRC for 13 years. The IDRC has a long history of supporting science journalism in the developing world and has been a key donor to WFSJ projects, such as SjCOOP and the 4th WCSJ in Montreal.
The funding provided by Louise Behan is held in a bank account and the grants are provided from the interest generated by the initial donation. To make the best use of available funds, amounts between CA$ 300 and CA$ 800 will be granted to enable completion of projects. WFSJ has often seen how grants at this level, for example to fund travel to a specific region of a recipient’s own country, can help produce award-winning reporting.
Depending on the scope and nature of the reporting project, the grant may be divided into two payments, with an amount made available upon acceptance and the remainder provided after the publication of the reporting piece.
The Louise Behan Reporting Grants are exclusively awarded to journalists already selected to participate in WFSJ activities or as recipients of scholarships to attend forthcoming WCSJs. The grants therefore help journalists already involved in WFSJ training activities to produce more stories meeting the criteria of good science journalism, by putting into practice skills developed during these activities.
The WFSJ Board of Directors identify potential grant recipients and invite them to provide applications. Eligible reporting projects must meet the basic criteria of science journalism. As such, they must include a scientific perspective on an issue and interviews with researchers or scientists.
The grants are organized in partnership with the IDRC and managed by the WFSJ thanks to a generous donation from Louise Behan in support of science journalism.