Terms and conditions of the IOP-STFC Award for Physics Journalism 2014

The Award

The Award is organised and funded by the Institute of Physics, 76 Portland Place, London, W1B 1NT, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1SZ, hereafter known as The Organisers. The aim of the Award is to encourage wider coverage of physics in the media so as to inspire the next generation of physicists.

The Prize

The Award winner will be offered a travel grant of up to £5,000 to enable them to investigate a physics-related story of their choice.

Opening and closing date

Entry for the Award opens at 0900 on Tuesday 14 January 2014.

Entries must be received by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) by the closing date of 1700 British Standard Time on Friday 12 December 2014.

Entries received after 5pm on 12/12/14 will not be accepted.

Method of entry

Entries are preferred in electronic format, and should be sent to:


Entries must be no more than 10Mb in size.

Alternatively, entries larger than 10Mb should be provided in standard readable formats on CD or DVD (further details can be found below), and be mailed to:

IOP-STFC Award for Physics Journalism
c/o Jill Little
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1SZ
United Kingdom

Rules governing the Award

The Award is for a work of journalism covering physics research and related areas of technology, and/or the work and related lifestyles of physicists, engineers or other people working in physics.  Articles on the application of physics in industry, or on interdisciplinary research including physics and other scientific disciplines, are encouraged.

Entry is open to journalists, students of a recognised journalism course, students of a recognised qualification in physics, or holders of a recognised qualification in physics, whose work is published or broadcast and is accessible to the general public. Employees of STFC and the IOP, including IOP Publishing, are not eligible. Freelancers who have written for one of IOP’s publications are eligible.

Entries must have been published in English in print, broadcast or online, between 14 December 2013 and 12 December 2014.

The Award is for an individual entrant, rather than for a group of individuals, or an organisation, institution, employer or publisher.

Books (published or online) do not qualify for the Award.

The Award winner will receive a travel grant of up to £5,000 to enable them to investigate a physics-related story of their choice.

Potential entrants may contact the organisers through the email address above prior to the closing date to seek clarification of the validity of possible entries.

The opinion of the judges will at all times be final in all matters, and entries failing to meet the required criteria will be deemed ineligible for consideration.


The members of the Judging panel will comprise a representative of STFC, IOP, the British Science Association, Association of British Science Writers, and a journalist.

The decision of the judges in all matters will be final. The judges will not provide individual advice or feedback to entrants.

Acceptance of the Prize

The Organisers have no right of veto in relation to the proposed Prize, but will require the Award winner to provide a detailed and costed travel proposal, which must be agreed by the Organisers prior to the commencement of any travel. The Organisers would normally expect to provide the finally agreed value of the Prize as a reimbursement against itemised receipts, but are willing to consider proposals to provide a portion of the Prize funds prior to travel so as to facilitate bookings and other arrangements.

To the extent permitted by law, the Organisers accept no liability whatsoever for any death, injury, loss or damage suffered, incurred or caused by the Prize winner in their acceptance of the Prize and/or the resulting travel. All travel is undertaken at the Prize winner’s sole risk.  The Prize winner will be solely responsible for their own travel arrangements, including bookings, passport, visa, appropriate insurance cover, medical or other preparations.

Further guidelines for entries:

Entries must be accompanied by a covering letter stating the entrant’s full name and address, contact details including telephone and email, professional affiliations or qualifications, and a statement showing how the entry meets the entry criteria.

The entrant will normally be the prime author of the entry. If not, the role of the entrant in the origination of the entry must be stated in the covering letter to accompany the entry and any other contributors or collaborators must consent to the submission of the entry by one individual. The person lodging the covering letter will be considered the author of the entry and will take the Prize if they are successful.

Entrants must also submit a biography of no more than 350 words, suitable for external use.

All entries will be judged on the quality of journalism displayed, including the breadth of journalistic research underpinning the work.  The nature and style of the work – from lengthy feature to punchy news item – will help determine the range of criteria used to judge the strength of the entry: with features credited for originality, style and strength of appeal; and news items credited for accuracy, exclusivity and impact.  Accompanying visuals and any work undertaken to promote the entry through additional channels will also be considered.

The covering letter should state how the readers, viewers or listeners experienced the material, for example whether it was a front cover article, whether it was adapted for Tablet reading or whether it was broadcast during prime time news or during an entertainment show.

Entrants should also submit in the covering letter an estimate of the audience reached by their work. This number is a plus in the evaluation, but not a decisive factor. If available, entrants should mention evidence of engagement with the article, including comments, letters, response articles, etc.

Entrants should identify in the covering letter any copyright restrictions affecting the entry. This information should include the contact details of any person or persons, organisations or corporate entities from whom the organisers would be required to obtain permission in order to allow the organisers the right to re-publish, and report on, the entries submitted. If the entrant is the copyright holder, the covering letter must include a statement giving the organisers the right to re-publish and/or report on the entry.

Individuals can only enter once and the same piece of work may not be submitted by more than one person.

Acceptable formats for entry

Radio and podcast entries should be submitted as mp3 files and on audio CD for postal applications. Film and multimedia entries should be on DVD in PAL format. In all cases, a link to the material, or a printed version of the material as it was published, should be provided with the entry, so that it can be viewed in context.

The organisers ask you to submit your entry in plenty of time to meet the deadline. But if you need to arrange to courier items please contact Jill Little on 01793 442123.

Further enquiries

Email: Journalism.Prize@stfc.ac.uk

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