European Astronomy Journalism Prize

The Prize

Cerro Paranal
Aerial View of Cerro Paranal
(Credit: J.L. Dauvergne
& G. Hüdepohl (

The Prize winner will be offered a trip to the European Southern Observatory (ESO) facilities in Chile, namely the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA). Flights to Chile from the relevant ESO Member State, or by default from the United Kingdom, as well as accommodation, meals and necessary transport within Chile, will be provided by ESO and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Opening and closing date

Entry for the Prize opens at 09:00 British Summer Time on Monday 18th August 2014.
Entries must be received by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) by the closing date of: 17:00 British Standard Time on Friday 28 November 2014.
Entries received after this time will not be accepted.

Method of entry

Entries are preferred in electronic format, and should be emailed.
Entries must be no more than 10Mb in size.
Alternately, entries larger than 10Mb should be provided in standard readable formats on CD or DVD (further details can be found below), and be mailed to:
European Astronomy Journalism Prize
c/o Jill Little
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1SZ
United Kingdom

ESO logo
European Southern Observatory logo
(Credit: ESO)

Rules governing the Prize

  • The Prize is for a work of journalism covering astronomy and related areas of technology, and the work and related lifestyles of astronomers, engineers or other people working in astronomy.
  • Entry is open to journalists, students of a recognised journalism course, students of a recognised qualification in astronomy, or holders of a recognised qualification in astronomy, whose work is published or broadcast and is accessible to the general public. You may be asked to provide proof of your status.
  • Entries should reflect European interests.
  • Entries must have been published in English within a member state of ESO (current membership), in print, broadcast or online, during the period 1 August 2014 to 28 November 2014 inclusive. The cover date on the issue in which a printed article appears will be considered the date of publication. The date of posting will be considered for online articles, podcasts, and blogs. The date of first broadcast will be considered for radio or television.
  • The Prize is for an individual entrant, rather than for a group of individuals, or an organisation, institution, employer or publisher.
  • Books (published or online) do not qualify for the Prize.
  • Potential entrants may contact the organisers through the addresses above prior to the closing date to seek clarification of the validity of possible entries.
  • The opinion of the judges will at all times be final in all matters, and entries failing to meet the required criteria will be deemed ineligible for consideration.


  • Judges of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) Prizes 2014 may not enter the competition. Employees of STFC, the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and their family members are not permitted to enter the competition.
  • The decision of the judges in all matters will be final. The judges will not provide individual advice or feedback to entrants.

Shortlisting and judging

  • The members of the Judging panel will comprise a representative of STFC, ESO, RAS, the ABSW and a representative of the European science journalism community.
  • The winner will be notified no later than 16 January 2015 by email or telephone call.

Acceptance of the Prize

  • Entrants must be able to take up their Prize between 1 February and December 2015, with the actual date subject to ESO agreement. The Prize may involve a visit to astronomical facilities located at high altitudes of up to 5100 metres, and the Prize winner will be required to provide a medical clearance (at their own expense) prior to the Prize trip.
  • See information about ALMA and information about travelling to Paranal. See also STFC’s guidance in relation to visits to high altitude.
  • Entrants must provide at their own expense travel insurance, any pre-trip medical inoculations or other medical processes, and spending money.
  • There is no requirement for any article or broadcast material to be produced from the Prize trip, although the Prize winner would be encouraged to do so. Articles produced as a result of the trip would not be considered for any subsequent award of this Prize.

Further guidelines for entries

  • Entries must be accompanied by a covering letter stating the entrant’s full name and address, contact details including telephone and email, professional affiliations or qualifications, and a statement showing how the entry meets the entry criteria.
  • The entrant will normally be the prime author of the entry. If not, the role of the entrant in the origination of the entry must be stated in the covering letter to accompany the entry and any other contributors or collaborators must consent to the submission of the entry by one individual. The person lodging the covering letter will be considered the author of the entry and will take the Prize if they are successful.
  • Entrants must also submit a biography of no more than 350 words, suitable for external use.
  • The judges will focus on the quality of journalism, accompanying visuals, and channels used, and will look for originality, style and flair.
  • The covering letter should state how the readers, viewers or listeners experienced the material, for example whether it was a front cover article, whether it was adapted for Tablet reading or whether it was broadcast during prime time news or during an entertainment show.
  • Entrants should also submit in the covering letter an estimate of the audience reached by their work. This number is a plus in the evaluation, but not a decisive factor. If available, entrants should mention evidence of engagement with the article, including comments, letters, response articles, etc.
  • Entrants should identify in the covering letter any copyright restrictions affecting the entry. This information should include the contact details of any person or persons, organisations or corporate entities from whom the organisers would be required to obtain permission in order to allow the organisers the right to re-publish, and report on, the entries submitted. If the entrant is the copyright holder, the covering letter must include a statement giving the organisers the right to re-publish and/or report on the entry.
  • Individuals can only enter once and the same piece of work may not be submitted by more than one person.

Acceptable formats for entry

  • Radio and podcast entries should be submitted as mp3 files and on audio CD for postal applications. Film and multimedia entries should be on DVD in PAL format. In all cases, a link to the material, or a printed version of the material as it was published, should be provided with the entry, so that it can be viewed in context.
  • The organisers ask you to submit your entry in plenty of time to meet the deadline. But if you need to arrange to courier items please contact Jill Little

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000