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Science Writer wins Scholarship to UK

Media Statement
Thurs 3 July 2003

Science Writer wins Scholarship to UK

A journalist’s dedication to writing about science and technology in New Zealand has won him a scholarship to attend the biggest science festival in the UK in September.

Simon Collins, Science and Technology Reporter for the New Zealand Herald, will attend the British Association’s (BA) Science festival at Salford near Manchester as part of a scholarship offered jointly by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the British Council New Zealand. His prize also allows him to spend time with one of the top UK Science writers, Tim Radford at the Guardian Newspaper in London.

Announcing the decision, the Chief Executive of the Foundation, Gowan Pickering and the Director of British Council New Zealand, Paul Atkins said that Simon Collins was one of New Zealand’s top science writers with a very long and distinguished career in the news media. He has worked as the Science and Technology Reporter for the New Zealand Herald for the past 18 months, but prior to that had worked in a similar role on the NZ Herald in the 1980’s. Simon has covered politics, trade, economics and business and also edited an excellent community newspaper in Wellington – City Voice.

“We believe that Simon is a very worthy winner of this scholarship and will benefit hugely from this opportunity to meet with science communicators from Europe and the UK. We also believe that as a result of awarding this scholarship there will a greater awareness of the importance and value of science communication in New Zealand”, said Mr Pickering and Mr Atkins.

According to Simon Collins the trip to the festival will offer him a 'fantastic educational opportunity.' "The programme looks amazing - everything from the collapse of the Antarctic ice shelf to ‘sexual chemistry’ and ’unsustainable Maori forestry practices’, with a lot of GM and stem cell research and other controversial issues thrown in,” he said.

Simon is also grateful to his employer for giving him the chance to write about science full-time. He says traditionally in New Zealand, science has been covered as an adjunct to other rounds such as environment, agriculture, health or education.

“I am very fortunate to have been able to spend all my time on science and technology stories. I believe that reflects the Herald's perception that New Zealanders are increasingly interested in science and technology developments, and understanding both, they will have a huge influence on all our lives and that they are crucial to lifting our economic, social and environmental performance. I hope that whatever stories I file from the UK will contribute towards increasing that understanding. “

The journalism scholarship was established by the Foundation and British Council New Zealand to encourage people to write and/or broadcast more stories about research, science and technology in New Zealand. It is hoped that this award will give the winner an international perspective of RS&T, and foster links between New Zealand and overseas RS&T journalists.

The British Association's (BA) Festival of Science attracts 400 of the best scientists and science communicators in the world. This year the festival runs from 8 - 12 September at the University of Salford with the theme of 'Sustainable Science'. The programme will encompass all aspects of how and whether science is sustainable, how science is working towards sustainability in all its forms and how science and technology can help us gain and maintain a high standard of living.


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