2012 Science in Society Awards

Entries for the 2012 Awards are now closed. Entries for next year's awards will open in December.

Already know what we're about? To enter, please visit the entry page.

Entries close at 11:59PM EST on February 1, 2012

The Purpose

NASW established the Science in Society awards to provide recognition — without subsidy from any professional or commercial interest — for investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact on society. NASW especially encourages entries of critical, probing pieces that would not receive an award from an interest group. Beginning with the first award in 1972, previous winners have demonstrated innovative reporting that goes well beyond the science itself and into the ethical problems and social implications. A committee of accomplished peers judges the entries each year.

The Awards

NASW will award separate cash prizes of $2,500 for writing judged best in each of four categories: books, commentary or opinion, science reporting, and science reporting for a local or regional audience. With the exception of the book category, prizes will be platform independent. We’re open to entries from print, broadcast, and online journalists. Winners and their publishers/broadcasters will also receive certificates. The 2012 awards will be presented at an awards dinner the weekend of October 27, 2012, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Reasonable travel and hotel expenses of the award winners will be reimbursed. In cases of multiple authors or producers, only one person’s expenses will be covered.


Any writer (or team) is eligible to submit one entry in each category.

Categories for 2012

  • Books
  • Commentary and opinion
  • Science Reporting
  • Science Reporting for a local or Regional Audience

Except in the book category, an entry will consist of a maximum of three articles or broadcasts on separate topics or a single series. Work must be written or spoken in English, intended for the lay person, and first published or broadcast in North America between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2011. Winners of last year’s awards and individuals who have won three times are not eligible.

Rules for Submission

Please follow the rules carefully. Submissions that do not follow these procedures will not be considered.

Any person, including the author(s), may submit material.

There is no submission fee.

Entries must meet the purpose stated above. Material about significant advances in science, no matter how well written, will be ineligible if the relevance to the broader society is unclear. If you wish, you may include a cover letter of not more than one page explaining why the entry deserves to win the Science in Society Award.

Only online entries will be accepted. With the exception of the Book category, in which hardcopies are required, all entry material must be uploaded to be part of the entry. Once submitted, an entry may not be altered or edited.

To Enter: Visit the entry page and complete all steps of the online entry process by 11:59PM Eastern on February 1, 2012. Your entry is not complete until you receive a confirmation email.

Please adhere to the following file formats and sizes:

  • Documents: PDF, max 10 MB (to minimize file size embedded images should be JPG/JPEG, 96 DPI, which is sufficient for web resolution)
  • Audio: MP3, max 70 MB
  • Video: MPG or .WMV, max 70 MB

Those entering websites need only provide a working URL (with a password allowing cost-free access if necessary).

Note: There is a 70 MB limit for uploaded audio and video, which should be sufficient for the majority of entries, e.g. ~24 minutes of audio with a 3:1 compression ratio that allows for excellent sound quality preservation falls under 70 MB. For audio or video pieces larger than 70 MB, a one to three minute clip should be uploaded and the complete entry should be shipped on DVD or CD (see below). Shorter radio or television entries must be submitted entirely online. If shorter pieces are mailed rather than uploaded, they will not be considered.

To Mail Book Entries or Audio/Video Files over 70MB: Complete all steps of the online entry process. Once entry is complete online, print 10 copies of the confirmation sheet, attach one sheet to each of 10 copies of the book, CD, or DVD, and mail all 10 in a single package to

Attn: Science in Society
PO Box 7905
Berkeley, CA 94707

Must be postmarked no later than February 1, 2012, to be considered. Submissions will be accepted only at the provided P.O. Box. NOTE: FedEx and UPS do NOT deliver to P.O. boxes.

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