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Award Lecture FAQs

Award Lecture Nomination  

This page provides guidance about the selection criteria for the Award Lectures, answers to frequently asked questions about nominating an Award Lecture and will help you to write a successful nomination.

If you have any other questions, or if you would like to discuss your proposal, please contact Anna Woolman.

About the Award Lectures 

The British Science Association (BSA) has been rewarding promising early career scientists for over 20 years, many of whom are now successful science communicators. Previous Award Lecturers include Brian Cox, Richard Wiseman and Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

The Award Lectures aim to promote open and informed discussion on issues involving science and actively encourage early career scientists to explore the social aspects of their research.

The nominees should be active, early career researchers who are skilled at communicating their research to the wider public. They should be available to present their Award Lecture during the British Science Festival which will be held in Coventry and Warwickshire from 10 to 13 September 2019, hosted by the University of Warwick.

The selected Award Lecturers will receive a £250 honorarium, public engagement training, travel to and accommodation for the duration of the Festival and an invitation to the Festival Dinner on Thursday 12 September. There may also be opportunities to present the Award Lecture at other festivals in the UK.



About the nominee 

What do you mean by ‘early career researcher’? 

The BSA understands that researchers take different career paths and the term 'early career researcher' is deliberately vague. If the nominee has more than five years’ unbroken/continuous post-doctoral research experience or equivalent, there is space in the form to explain how they meet this definition. We do not automatically exclude nominees with more experience, we have also rewarded exceptional PhD students in previous years.


Are you looking for experienced communicators? 

It is important to us that our Award Lecturers are passionate about communicating their work to public audiences. We are not looking for extensive experience speaking to large audiences, however, nominees should provide examples of their involvement in public engagement activities. We offer training to all our Award Lecturers and support them to develop their event.

What academic qualifications and experience are you looking for? 

We are looking for early career researchers (see our definition above) that have a track record of high quality research. Nominees must be undertaking original research in the field. We do not specifically grade applications based on numbers of paper published, however significant publications and other evidence of professional competence are viewed favourably.


About the nominator 

I’m interested in being an Award Lecturer, who should nominate me? 

We do not have restrictions on who nominates our Award Lecturers, however, we would like you to choose someone who knows your work well such as an academic supervisor or a public engagement officer at your institution.

Can more than one person nominate me? 

No, we only ask for one nominator.

Will the nominator be expected to attend the Festival? 

The nominator will be notified if their nomination is successful or not but they are not expected to attend the Festival. The nominator is of course welcome to come to the Festival but the BSA cannot cover their expenses.


About the lecture 

I’m unsure which Award Lecture category my work fits into? 

We view interdisciplinary work favourably and understand that many researchers are working in areas that may fit into more than one of the Award Lecture categories. If you are unsure please get in touch with Anna Woolman. The same panel reviews all Award Lecture nominations so if we feel that your work fits better in another category it will automatically be considered.


What kind of content are you looking for? 

We encourage the nominees to propose a lecture based on their own research, with consideration to the wider social content. The Award Lectures aim to promote open and informed discussion on issues involving science and actively encourage early career scientists to explore the social aspects of their research. We're looking for evidence that the researcher has considered the audience (see below) and how best to engage them in the topic. We do not want a potted history of your area of research to the present day but more about how your work is contributing to an area of science.

What time will my event take place? 

The Award Lectures will take place between 11:00 and 20:00 either at the University of Warwick campus. Events will take place in lecture theatres with full AV facilities, and we encourage audience interactive elements.

What kind of audience should my event be aimed at? 

The Festival is free and open to all. The target audience is non-specialist adults (ages 16+) with a broad interest in science.

What length should my event be? 

Award Lectures should be a maximum of one-hour long including any Q&A.



Who should fill out the form? 

The form is designed to be filled out by the nominator but we are happy for the nominee to enter the details. We encourage you to discuss the lecture with your nominator and the nominator must write the answer to ‘Why are you nominating this person?’.


Are there any common mistakes? 

The most common mistake is to focus the nomination on the nominee’s research and public engagement experience rather than the proposed lecture. Both sections of the form are equally weighted and it is important that the lecture will fit within the Festival programme.


What are the benefits of being an Award Lecturer? 

As well as presenting a prestigious Award Lecture at the British Science Festival, winners will receive a £250 honorarium, public engagement training and an invitation to the Festival Dinner on Thursday 13 September. There may also be opportunities to present the Award Lecture at other festivals in the UK.


For more information, read reflections from a 2016 Award Lecture winner on our blog.


When is the deadline for nominations? 

The deadline for Award Lecture nominations is 9 am 7 January 2019.

What is the date and location of the Festival? 

The Festival will take place from 10-13 September 2019 and will be hosted by the University of Warwick.

Will you support the development of my event? 

All Award Lecturers will be offered public engagement training and we can advise on content and format – please get in touch.

When will I find out if my event has been accepted? 

We will be letting applicants know in February 2019.

Will journalists be invited to my event? 

There is a strong media presence at the Festival. If accepted, we will ask for more detailed information about your speakers that will be provided to the media.