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Alex Witze and Jane Qiu

Press release Alexandra Witze and Jane Qiu awarded EGU Science Journalism Fellowship

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European Geosciences Union

Alexandra Witze and Jane Qiu awarded EGU Science Journalism Fellowship

1 February 2012

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has named journalists Alexandra Witze and Jane Qiu as the winners of its first Geosciences Communications Fellowship for proposals on volcanology and climate change reporting, respectively. Each will receive €2,500 to cover expenses related to their projects.

Witze receives financial support for a book about the 1783 eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki, “one of history’s great untold natural disasters,” she writes in her proposal. Qiu’s focus is on climate change and the Third Pole, an ice- and snow-rich region on the Tibetian plateau that “may hold key to our planet’s past, present and future climates,” she says.

Out of the 34 proposals received, the panel of judges, comprised of practicing geoscientists and science journalists, also selected Emily Baldwin, editor at Astronomy Now, and Paul Voosen, reporter at Greenwire, as runners-up. Their proposals focus on astrobiology and atmospheric sciences, respectively. Baldwin and Voosen will be offered EGU support in contacts with geoscientists.

All winners and runners-up are invited to attend the EGU General Assembly, taking place in Vienna from the 22–27 April 2012.

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Alexandra Witze is a US-based contributing editor to the biweekly magazine Science News, specialising in the earth and physical sciences. She won several awards for her work, including American Geophysical Union’s Walter Sullivan Award for Science Writing in 2000 and American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division Popular Writing Award in 2011.

Jane Qiu is a freelance science writer based in Beijing and London. She regularly contributes articles on climate change, hydrology, atmospheric science and other geoscience topics to publications such as Nature, Science, and The Economist. Jane was a Science Journalism Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in 2010 and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2011.

The EGU Geosciences Communications Fellowship is an annual competition open to professional journalists wishing to report on ongoing research in the geosciences. The winning proposals receive up to €5K (part as an advance, part upon successful completion) to cover expenses related to the projects, and assistance in liaising with scientists. This support is intended to allow the EGU Geosciences Communications Fellows to follow geoscientists on location and to develop in-depth understanding of their questions, approaches, findings and motivation.

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is Europe’s premier geosciences union, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the Earth, planetary, and space sciences for the benefit of humanity, worldwide. It is a non-profit interdisciplinary learned association of scientists founded in 2002. The EGU has a current portfolio of 14 diverse scientific journals, which use an innovative open-access format, and organises a number of topical meetings, and education and outreach activities. Its annual General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event, attracting over 10,000 scientists from all over the world. The meeting’s sessions cover a wide range of topics, including volcanology, planetary exploration, the Earth’s internal structure and atmosphere, climate change, and renewable energies. The 2012 EGU General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria from 22-27 April. For information regarding the press centre at the meeting and media registration, please check