WCSJ Accepting Proposals for Spark Grant Initiative

Olivier Dessibourg
Chair of the WCSJ SGI

The World Conferences of Science Journalists (WCSJ) is now accepting proposals for the Spark Grant Initiative (SGI) which funds projects that enhance the boundaries of science journalism at every level, applying novel approaches, tools, knowledge sharing, and international cooperation. The SGI will provide funding for work that strengthens science journalism locally while also benefitting the worldwide community.

Eligible applicants who can apply are those who fall into one of the following three categories:

  • An individual member of one of the WFSJ’s 67 member associations and working with independent media as a staff employee or freelance journalist
  • A group made up of such members or
  • A member association

In each case applicants are expected to obtain letters from designated representatives of the relevant member association stating how the association will be involved (or not) in the management and completion of the proposed project.

The criteria for eligibility for the grants are:

  • Proposals can be put forward by individuals or groups, but they must be presented in the name of a WFSJ member association along with a letter that defines the association’s relationship with the project.
  • Each person/group/association can submit only one project. The same individual cannot be part of two different groups.
  • Projects or initiatives must be brand new, i.e., not the continuation or renewal of existing initiative.
  • The proposed activity must be entirely journalistic, which means independent of vested interests, balanced in its perspective, and respecting ethics associated with the profession.
  • Special consideration will be given to projects strengthening the cooperation between science journalists’ communities in different countries or designed as demonstration projects that others might emulate.
  • If the project is based on digital technology, the software platform should be open source and the content ready to be shared with other interested parties.
  • Proposals must contain a detailed budget and precise timeline, with clear descriptions of at least two milestones and deliverables.
  • Proposals must be made in English, but projects themselves can be conducted and presented in another language.

Interested persons/groups/associations should send their expression of interest by email to office@wfsj.org. They will then be sent a form asking for background information about the applicant(s), including curriculum vitae, details about the proposed project, and a letter of confirmation from a representative of the member association that will be linked with this project. All this material is to be completed and returned to the WFSJ by the deadline, October 30, 2021, 12 noon Eastern Time (North America). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Announcement of winning projects will be made on December 20, 2021; while approval of final project design and launch will be January 30, 2022. SGI has been funded with US$100,000 that has been provided by the Swiss Association of Science JournalismAssociation des journalistes scientifiques de la presse d’information (France), Science Writers in Italy, the National Association of Science Writers (United States), and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. The program will run under the auspices of the WFSJ, which will showcase the results of the chosen projects as part of next year’s World Conference of Science Journalists s hedued to hold in Medellín, Colombia