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Science in Society Journalism Awards

 Call for Entries and Rules  Create an Entry    Past Winners      Contact



Read details and Rules below then use the link in the menu to create your entry and complete all steps of the online entry process by 11:59PM Eastern on February 1, 2023. Your entry is not complete until you receive a confirmation email.


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 modern society. Beginning with the first award in 1972, winners have demonstrated innovative reporting that goes well beyond the science itself and into ethical problems and social implications for communities and society at large. We especially seek to recognize science writing that is shaped by a variety of perspectives, because such writing enables us to tell more broadly relevant stories that better serve our readers and communities. Therefore, we consider diversity in topics, sources, audience and authors to be a critical component of excellence. A committee of accomplished peers judges the entries each year. 


For works first published or broadcast in North America OR works first published or broadcast outside North America with international readership between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Categories are platform-independent.

  • Books: An entry consists of a book-length work that has been published and made commercially available, either in print or as an ebook. 
  • Commentary: An entry consists of a single article or broadcast that is an opinion piece, essay, or work written from a subjective point of view or perspective.
  • Science Reporting:  An entry consists of a single article of fewer than 1500 words or a single broadcast of up to 4 minutes in length. If an entry consists of a combination of media (text + video, text + audio, etc.), each minute of audio/video is considered equivalent to 350 words. A mixed-media entry may not exceed the total word limit for the category.  Entrants must indicate whether judges should consider text only, or multiple media.
  • Science Features: An entry consists of a single article of 1500-4000 words or a single broadcast of 4 - 12 minutes in length. If an entry consists of a combination of media (text + video, text + audio, etc.), each minute of audio/video is considered equivalent to 350 words. A mixed-media entry may not exceed the total word limit for the category.  Entrants must indicate whether judges should consider text only, or multiple media.
  • Longform Narratives: An entry consists of a single article of 4000 words or more or a single broadcast of 12 minutes or more in length. Entrants must indicate whether judges should consider text only, or multiple media.
  • Series:  An entry consists of a series of articles/broadcasts published/produced as a coherent, named series in a single publication (or publications working together on the series). Written entries should total 6,000 words or more; broadcast pieces, 15 minutes or more. Series entries may be for any market.

Rules for Submission

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

1. Entries must meet the purpose stated above. Material about significant advances in science will be ineligible if the relevance to the broader society is unclear, no matter how well-written the entry. 

2. Any author (or team) is eligible to submit one entry in each category as an Entrant. All entries should be attributed to bylined authors and producers. Generally, only authors and producers attributed in the submission will be recognized in the award. An individual is eligible to be an entrant (referred to herein as an “Entrant”) if such individual (a) is eighteen (18) years or older as of January 1, 2022 and is residing and located in a jurisdiction where the awards contest is lawfully allowed; (b) did not win last year’s awards; and (c) has not won the awards three times. The awards contest is void where prohibited.

3. Publishers/Publications/Media outlets may enter, or be represented by, multiple entries in any category. Authors may be represented only once in each category. In the case of multiple entries in a single category on the same author’s behalf, only the entry provided by the author themselves will be considered. If none was submitted by the author, the one with the earliest timestamp will be considered. If an author enters multiple of their own works in the same category, none will be considered. If an Author is part of a team(s), they may also enter a solo work as an individual in the same category using the rules above.

4. It is an Entrant’s responsibility to enter in the appropriate category. Miscategorized entries (e.g., a feature or news article in the opinion category) will be disqualified. Entrants may NOT enter the same article in more than one category.

5. Work must be written or spoken in English, intended for the lay adult, and first published or broadcast in North America between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022. Publications based outside North America are eligible if their readership is international.

6. Only online entries will be accepted. With the exception of the Book category and some broadcast content, all entry material must be uploaded online to be part of the entry. While we do provide for submission of hard copy books, we strongly encourage electronic submission of ALL materials. If you submit your book online, please DO NOT send a hardcopy as well. If judges are unable to access the entries because of paywalls at any time during the judging process, entries will be disqualified. We recommend all entries include a PDF version or multimedia file in addition to any links to the online version. 

Important Legal Information

By submitting any entry, each Entrant represents, warrants, and agrees that:

  1. The Entrant has the necessary rights and authorizations to submit the entry and is an author, creator, publisher, or producer (or authorized representative thereof) of the entry.  Each Entrant and/or Awardee agrees to indemnify NASW and its officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives for any costs or expenses of any kind related to a claim or assertion by a third party that the Entrant submitted the entry without authorization to do so.
  2. NASW and its officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives shall not be responsible for any losses, damages or injuries of any kind relating to Entrants’ or Awardees' participation in the Awards or from Entrants’ acceptance, receipt, possession and/or use or misuse of any prize.
  3. NASW shall have no liability whatsoever concerning or in any way related to Entrants’ or Awardees' travel. International Awardees shall solely be responsible for obtaining any required travel documents.
  4.  Awardees shall be solely responsible for all taxes, fees, and/or costs associated with any prize.
  5.  Acceptance of an award or honorable mention constitutes the Awardee’s permission for NASW to use Awardee’s name and likeness for promotional purposes in all forms of media in perpetuity without further authorization or compensation.
  6. NASW assumes no liability, and shall not be liable, for typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of the awards including, without limitation, errors in the printing or display of the official rules, selection, notification and announcement of the winners, or distribution of the awards. NASW is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by internet users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the awards and assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction, or unauthorized access to any systems associated with the awards. 

NASW reserves the right to disqualify any entry or Entrant or Awardee or revoke an Award if NASW determines, in its sole discretion, that an Entrant or Awardee has violated these Rules or taken actions that undermine, or are intended to undermine, the legitimate operation of the Awards; or that an Entrant or Awardee has engaged in, or is the subject of investigation of claims of, fraud, harassment, unlawful conduct, or any other act that is inconsistent with the Purpose of these Awards or with any NASW policy, including but not limited to NASW’s Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct, and Operating Principles.

Information provided by or on behalf of Entrants to enter these awards will not be sold to third parties but may be shared as necessary for the purposes of judging and awarding prizes. NASW may occasionally contact Entrants via email concerning the awards, and each Entrant consents to receiving such communications via email.  Each Entrant accepts our Privacy Policy, available at https://www.nasw.org/sites/default/files/NASWPrivacyPolicy.pdf, and our Terms of Use, available at https://www.nasw.org/sites/default/files/TermsofUse1214.pdf.

To Enter

       Use the link in the menu to create your entry and complete all steps of the online entry process by 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1, 2023. Your entry is not complete until you receive a confirmation email.

  •        Entries should not include a cover letter.
  •        Entries can be provided either as a PDF, multimedia file, or as a URL where the piece can be accessed - for free and without a password - at least through October 2023. Entries that are not accessible at the time of judging will not be considered  
  •       There is no submission fee for current members of NASW. The entry fee for non-members and those entering on behalf of members but who are not members themselves is $45 per entry. Curious about membership and want to save on fees? Visit nasw.org/membership-information  to learn more and apply.        

      In an effort to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field and cast the widest possible net for excellence, members of AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ, NAJA, NLGJA, SACNAS, SAJA, and the Trans Journalists Association are invited to enter at no cost.


Please adhere to the following file formats and sizes:

•    Documents or e-books: 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

You may also provide the entry as a web address, particularly if the file is too large for these limits. Those entering websites need only provide a working URL below (URL must not require a fee or password). Please ensure that the URL will be active and correct through October 2023. Entries that provide a nonfunctional URL will be disqualified.

File too large or have a hard copy book?  We strongly encourage electronic uploads for all entries, including books. If you submit a book online (preferred), please consider the environment and DO NOT send hard copies as well. The 70 MB limit for uploaded audio and video 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 for which you cannot provide a URL, a one-to-three minute clip should be uploaded and the complete entry should be shipped on DVD or CD. 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 Books or Audio/Video Files over 70MB:  We encourage you to submit ALL material electronically. If you are not able to upload the entire entry, please complete all steps of the online entry process and then send seven (7) copies of the book, DVD, or CD to


Attn: Science in Society 

PO Box 7905

Berkeley, CA 94707

Must be postmarked no later than February 1, 2023, to be considered. Submissions will be accepted only at the provided P.O. Box address. NOTE: FedEx and UPS do NOT generally deliver to P.O. boxes. Material that arrives without a corresponding entry submitted online will be disqualified. Please DO NOT send hard copies if you also uploaded a file.

We cannot confirm receipt of materials, return materials or provide updates on any entry’s status during the judging process.


NASW will award separate cash prizes of $2,000 for writing judged best in each of the categories. Only authors or producers listed on the original submission will be recognized by the awards. The awards will be announced in October, and travel will be provided for one (1) representative to accept the award at the annual ScienceWriters conference. In cases of multiple authors or producers, prize money will be split between the entrants at their discretion. However, the prize money is intended for content authors or producers, not publications or news organizations.


Questions? Contact director@nasw.org 

Are you looking for NASW's Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards? Visit nasw.org/excellence.