About the Peggy Girshman Idea Grants

Since its inception in 2010, more than $475,000 has been awarded in the Peggy Girshman Idea Grants program.

Special thanks to our Grants committee members who have crafted from scratch a program that rewards the creativity and initiative of science writers and has helped create projects and programs that benefit the field and the writers in it. It is their hard work and management of the initial charter funds that allow the Peggy Girshman Idea Grant program to become an annual part of NASW's budget and commitments.

The National Association of Science Writers invites proposals from individuals or groups to apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 for projects and programs that are designed to help science writers in their professional lives and/or to benefit the field of science writing. Proposals can serve non-members as well as members. We encourage creative thinking, thus the guidelines for these proposals are consciously broad.

Applications typically open in October each year.

Projects awarded to date

Click on the links for more information, updates, and other information, which are updated as available.

  • $5,700 to Shayla Love of Vice Media to host a workshop focused on the ways culture and diversity can influence the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions.

  • $4,700 in February 2020 to The Appalachian Science Communicators (AppSciComm) led by Arvind Suresh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) to organize an Appalachian regional science workshop in Pittsburgh for science writers and communicators.

  • $3,000 to freelance science journalists Wudan Yan and Jenni Gritters to develop a podcast about building a business as a freelance writer.

  • $1,600 to the DC Science Writers Association (DCSWA) to develop a hands-on video course specifically for science journalists and communicators and led by journalists Tien Nguyen and Helen Thompson.

  • $18,000 in February 2019 to Charles Seife to build LegalEye, an automated research service that will help journalists find new lawsuits that are relevant to their beats and notify them of developments in interesting cases.

  • $4,900 in February 2019 to Katherine Mast, Allison Mills, and Phil Weaver-Stoesz for a two-day, intensive improv workshop to be held in Santa Fe, NM August 3 -4, 2019, using live performance, in which the plot, characters, dialogue, and movements develop in the moment, to help science writers become better storytellers.

  • $2,200 in February 2019 to Diana Crow and Anne Berlin to further develop 'The Best Shortform Science Writing Project' (SciShortform), a roundup of excellent short science writing pieces in a variety of genres.

  • $9,372 in February 2018 to Diana Yates, life sciences editor for the University of Illinois News Bureau, for a professional development workshop 'Amplify the Signal' to help public information officers and science journalists better understand and evaluate the scientific studies they write about. The workshop was held at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Watch the archived videos.

  • $7,548 in February 2018 to Elizabeth Pennisi, senior correspondent for Science, for an advanced workshop,'Science Writing by Storytelling Master Class,' in narrative storytelling for science writers, in Washington, D.C. Check out the workshop materials.

  • $4,980 in February 2018 to the newly formed Austin Texas Science Writers for a series of professional development workshops to foster a network of science communicators in central Texas and to connect area scientists with science media. The workshops were held in Austin, Texas.

  • $3,100 in February 2018 to Katharine Gammon, freelance science writer, for a Southern California Science Writers Symposium for up to 100 science journalists and public information officers with the goals of spawning a regional science writers network and highlighting science in the area. The symposium was held in Los Angeles, Calif.

  • $10,000 in March 2017 to the NASW Information Access Committee for a mini-conference on government transparency.

  • $3,450 in March 2017 to Kasha Patel for a workshop on science and humor.

  • $2,350 in March 2017 to the Northern California Science Writers Association to hold a career planning workshop.

  • $2,400 in March 2017 to Juli Berwald to hold the South Central States SciComm Mini Conference and kickoff a regional network.

  • $6,500 in March 2017 to Liza Gross to publish the ScienceWriters' Investigative Reporting Handbook.

  • $11,000 in February 2016 to Ashley Smart and Jermey Matthews, on behalf of HBSciU, to fund the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Student Freelancer Fellowship program

  • $12,000 in February 2016 to Duke University, on behalf of Karl Bates, to produce a 2-day regional conference "Measure Globally, Respond Locally:The Business and Science of Climate in the Southern Appalachians"

  • $10,000 in February 2015 to Michelle Nijhuis to produce "The ScienceWriters' Essay Handbook"

  • $15,000 in February 2015 to to Community Partners, on behalf of awardees Alberto Roca of Diverse Scholar and Danielle Lee, to support and enhance diversity in science writing.

  • $5,000 in February 2015 to Louisiana State University on behalf of Paige Jarreau, to produce theday-long workshop "Telling Stories and Using Visuals for Coastal Environmental Communication”

  • $6,000 in February 2015 to the D.C. Science Writers Association for support of their regional Professional Development Day.

  • $13,000 in February 2015 to the University of Arizona, on behalf of Susan Swanberg, to produce a workshop on "With Conviction: Reporting on Science in the Courtroom." Watch videos of some of the sessions here.

  • $25,000 in February 2014 to Christie Wilcox, Bethany R. Brookshire, and Jason G. Goldman to produce "The Complete Guide to Science Blogging."

  • $25,000 in February 2014 to Double X Science, LLC to address issues of gender inequality in science writing with the Women in Science Writing: Solutions Summit June 13-15, 2014 in Cambridge, MA.

  • $15,000 in February 2014 to New England Science Writers to produce the workshop "Telling Science Stories with Code and Data" and archived audio or video of the workshop.

  • $12,000 in February 2014 to Community Partners, on behalf of awardees Alberto Roca and Danielle Lee, to support and enhance diversity in science writing.

  • $5,000 in February 2014 to Nidhi Subbaraman and Apoorva Mandavilli for an online effort to keep minority journalists connected to each other and to the larger science writing community and a mixer at ScienceWriters2014

  • $4,800 in February 2014 to the D.C. Science Writers Association for support of their regional Professional Development Day.

  • $3,629 in February 2014 to Regina Nuzzo to produce self-study, online modules: stats for science journalists.

  • $1,000 in February 2014 to the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science for an International Science Essay Competition for High School Students.

  • $13,000 in February 2013 to the Christopher DiFrancesco and A'ndrea Messer to produce a regional workshop for public information officers "Sharing Science: Writing and Communications Skills in the 21st Century", scheduled for June 26-27, 2014 in Madison, WI.

  • $12,500 in February 2013 to Friedmann Communications to hold the Cross Border Science Journalism Workshop in San Diego, CA Spring 2013.

  • $35,000 in September 2012 to Science Online, Inc. to produce ScienceSeeker

  • $25,000 in November 2012 to Double X Science, evidence-based science writing for women

  • $10,000 in August 2012 to the Christie Aschwanden and the Aschwanden Group to produce two workshops: one at Ghost Ranch (New Mexico) on long form writing and one at Red Cedar (Missouri) on career-building strategies

  • $4,800 in November 2012 to The Story Collider, Inc., to produce Open Studio: The Best Science Media Online, 2013

  • $10,000 in June 2012 to the Open Notebook, LLC, in June 2012, to fund ongoing expansion of the project (Submitted by Siri Carpenter and Jeanne Erdmann) _Second Award

  • $4,560 in June 2012 to the Northern California Science Writers Association for support of a Data Journalism Workshop

  • $3,000 in June 2012 for support of the D.C. Science Writers Association Professional Development Day

  • $1,200 in June 2012 to the New England Science Writers to produce a video Web archive of their regional workshop Building Online Communities

  • $35,000 in February 2012 to EXPLORE Utah Science, a project to bolster scientific literacy among Utahns, provide jobs to freelance writers and train new science writers (Proposal submitted by Julie Kiefer, Kim Schuske, Ross Chambless, and Jennifer Napier-Pearce) Project journal.

  • $10,000 to Science Writers in New York, The Hastings Center and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism in December 2011 to fund a one-day spring 2012 Bioethics Bootcamp workshop (Proposal submitted by Carol Milano)

  • $10,000 to ScienceOnline2012 to fund travel scholarships and 450 complementary copies of A Field Guide for Science Writers for ScienceOnline2012 attendees (Proposal submitted by Anton Zuiker and Bora Zivkovic)

  • $10,000 to University of Wisconsin-Madison in August 2011 to fund Science Writing in the Age of Denial workshop for Spring 2012 (Proposal submitted by Terry Devitt, Sharon Dunwoody, Deborah Blum, and Jill Sakai)

  • $43,000 to SciLance Writing Group, LLC, in July 2011, to fund writing and editing of a guide to freelance writing. (Submitted by Kendall Powell and Thomas Hayden) Read the proposal. Update

  • $20,000 to the Open Notebook, LLC, in May 2011, to fund expansion of the project (Submitted by Siri Carpenter and Jeanne Erdmann) Read the proposal.

  • $2,500 to High Country News in March 2011, to fund customized, in-depth training in investigative reporting techniques for the publication’s editors (Proposal submitted by Michelle Nijhuis)

  • $6,000 to DCSWA in April 2011, to fund travel expenses and defray registration fees and A/V support for annual regional day-long Professional Development Day conference (Submitted by Elia Ben-Ari and Andrea Widener) Read the proposal

  • $900 to NESW in February 2011, to fund video archive costs for a regional health and science blogging event (Proposal submitted by Carol Morton) Watch the video here.

  • $10,000 to ScienceOnline2011 for live streaming of the conference (Proposal submitted by Anton Zuiker and Bora Zivkovic)

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Feb. 27, 2018