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Mason Inman and Karl Urban, the winners of the latest edition of the EGU Science Journalism Fellowship

Press release Mason Inman and Karl Urban awarded EGU Science Journalism Fellowship

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European Geosciences Union

Mason Inman and Karl Urban awarded EGU Science Journalism Fellowship

15 December 2014

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has named journalists Mason Inman and Karl Urban as the winners of its 2015 Science Journalism Fellowship. Each of them will be awarded €2,500 for their journalism projects. The support will allow Inman to dig into how estimates of shale gas resources are made, while Urban will report on obtaining a new kind of geothermal energy.

Shale gas is a promising energy resource in Europe, especially in countries such as the UK and Poland. But how much of it is available for extraction is very much a matter of debate, as there are large uncertainties about the geological properties of the rock formations trapping the gas. Inman will travel to the UK and Poland to “delve into how estimates and forecasts for shale gas get made—and how the results get used,” he writes in his winning proposal. The focus of his reporting will be on the geology behind assessing shale’s potential.

Urban will report on efforts to access a different type of energy resource, obtained near active volcanoes. In 2008, when the Iceland Deep Drilling Project team drilled their first borehole to tap into geothermal energy at depths of more than 4,000 metres, they inadvertently drilled into a magma reservoir at 2,100 metres. Despite that, the project was considered a success as the scientists and engineers were able to supply heat directly from the molten magma for a few months. As they plan to drill another hole in south-western Iceland, Urban will follow them to report on the difficulties and consequences of tapping into magma energy.

Urban is a science journalist in Germany specialising in geoscience and space science reporting. He works for radio stations, online magazines and newspapers, including Deutschlandfunk, and Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Inman is a freelance journalist in the US who has written for a variety of outlets, including Nature, Science, Scientific American and New Scientist. He has focused on reporting on energy resources for the past three years.

More information

The EGU Science Journalism Fellowship is an annual competition open to professional journalists wishing to report on ongoing research in the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The winning proposals receive up to €5K to cover expenses related to their projects. This support is intended to allow the fellows to follow geoscientists on location and to develop an in-depth understanding of their questions, approaches, findings and motivation.

The European Geosciences Union ( 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 16 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 12,000 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, energy, and resources. The EGU 2015 General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria, from 12 to 17 April 2015. For information regarding the press centre at the meeting and media registration, please check

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Bárbara Ferreira
EGU Media and Communications Manager
Munich, Germany
Phone +49-89-2180-6703


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