XPRIZE to Sponsor Earthzine Writing Fellowship

Applications are due May 1 for an Earthzine Writing Fellowship that will explore the ocean depths.

XPRIZE uses competition to accelerate innovation and address issues fundamental to ’the grand challenge domains facing our world.‘ The Shell Discovery Ocean XPRIZE seeks to map the ocean floor while engaging the public in the deep ocean. Image Credit: XPRIZE

We have better maps of the surface of Mars and the Moon than of our own home planet — 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, which poses unique challenges for exploration and imaging. As ambassador for all things ocean-related, IEEE Earthzine is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. Our joint mission is to deliver inspiring stories that engage the public with ocean exploration and highlight technologies in development to deliver us to places we’ve never been before, right here on Earth.

This summer, Writing Fellowship participants will develop, write, and publish a series of articles focused on ocean research, technology, and exploration – including this exciting XPRIZE competition: Getting to the bottom of our ocean. There are countless stories to be told about the wonderful discoveries and advances waiting for us in the ocean, and it will be up to our Writing Fellows to find the big idea and run with it. Multimedia works, traditional journalism-focused writing, and technical papers are all encouraged.

“One of the impacts we are aiming to achieve with the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is to inspire the public about the wonders of the deep-sea,” said Jyotika Virmani, senior director at XPRIZE. “We are very excited to be able to support these Fellowships in our shared mission of ocean engagement and communicating ocean discoveries and research.”

In 2015, thanks to support from NASA’s Applied Sciences Program and IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, an Earthzine Writing Club was established to encourage and develop aspiring writers and early career professionals who are interested in Earth observation and scientific communication. With two successful sessions of the program under our belt, we have renamed it the Earthzine Writing Fellowship to better reflect our mission and successes of the work.

Former Fellow Timmera Whaley summed up the program perfectly: “The Writing Club ignited my passion for science writing. In fact, I am thinking about applying to MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s) science writing program to continue my work in this field.” (Whaley just became a 2017 Fullbright Scholar and we couldn’t be more proud of her!)

The 10-week, online Fellowship includes readings, weekly activities, and a series of presentations led by professional writers and experts from the scientific community. In addition to required coursework and discussions, which are facilitated remotely, IEEE Earthzine volunteers and staff provide one-on-one mentorship on the writing and peer review process to help participants reach the final goal: publication. Participants are awarded a $200 honorarium for successfully participating in this rigorous program, which is conducted much like an upper division college-level course.

The deadline for fellowship applications is May 1, 2017. Application guidelines can be found here and applications should be emailed to writingfellowship@earthzine.org.

Jenny Woodman is a science writer and Writing Fellowship coordinator for IEEE Earthzine; she is also a 2017 science communications fellow for Ocean Exploration Trust – E/V Nautilus. Follow her on Twitter @JennyWoodman.

Leave a Reply