Scientists in Residence – putting scientists into newsrooms

The Australian Science Media Centre has embarked on a national effort to embed scientists within newsrooms around the country in a new program called Scientists in Residence.  Over the next six months, outstanding Australian scientists in various disciplines will take up residence in TV, radio, print and online media outlets, helping mainstream media report on a range of issues from extreme weather, bushfires and coal seam gas to obesity and sleep disorders.

Funded with a grant from Inspiring Australia, the program aims to improve linkages between scientists and the media by encouraging them to generate collaborative content and build ongoing relationships. Unlike a trainee program, scientists are not there to learn how to be journalists but to provide independent, evidence-based scientific advice to newsmakers.

The first ‘cab off the rank’ was Dr Sophie Lewis, a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, who investigates extreme climate events in Australia. Sophie has just spent three weeks at The Age, where she has been helping journalists report on the findings of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“This is a great opportunity to see how science and especially climate science is approached by the mainstream media,” says Sophie.  “A major international climate report was released this week and I’ve been able to provide insight into why this is important and what it means for Australia.”

“It’s also been useful for me to see how a newsroom works, how stories evolve throughout the day and what makes an interesting article.  I’m still reeling from the pace of life at a newspaper.”

The program is based on a pilot project in Victoria in 2012 that was funded by the Victorian Government and saw scientists placed with The Age, the Herald Sun and Crikey.

The Australian Science Media Centre would like to hear from well-established scientists who are keen to engage with the media about their research, and editors interested in hosting a scientist.

For more information, please contact:

Abbie Thomas, program manager, Scientists in Residence, Australian Science Media Centre, abbie@smc.org.au or 0414525492;

Susannah Eliott, CEO, Australian Science Media Centre, info@smc.org.au or 08 7120 8665
Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)
Street address: The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, ADELAIDE SA 5000
Postal address: PO Box 237, RUNDLE MALL SA 5000
Ph: (08) 7120 8660 | Mob: 0424 676 136 | susannah@smc.org.au | smc.org.au

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