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Tell a good science story and win a prize

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By Dinesh C Sharma

New Delhi, August 13: Scientists often communicate in a language which is not easily understood by lay persons or non-scientists although their work may have great societal significance. To encourage science students and young scientists to become communicators, the Department of Science and Technology has launched a nationwide campaign named AWSAR or ‘Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research’.

The programme is aimed at harnessing the potential of Ph.D. scholars and post-doctoral fellows for popular science writing through newspapers, magazines, blogs and various social media platforms. This will not only make young researchers think about their research work differently but also bring out good science stories in the public domain.

“The prime objective of the programme is to utilize the latent potential of young Ph.D. scholars and postdoctoral fellows towards science popularization and communication and through them promote scientific temperament in the society,” explained Dr. Rashmi Sharma, scientist in the Science for Equity, Empowerment and Development (SEED) division of DST.

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Under the initiative, Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars in all science and technology streams would be encouraged to write at least one popular science story during the tenancy of their scholarship, and to participate in a national competition. The best 100 entries from Ph.D. scholars will get an incentive of Rs 10,000 each, along with a certificate. Their work also stands a chance being published in newspapers and magazines.

Out of the hundred best entries, top three science stories would be awarded cash prizes of Rs.100000, Rs.50000 and Rs.25000/ respectively. In addition, 20 entries would be selected from stories submitted exclusively by postdoctoral fellows relating to their line of research. These scholars will get incentive of Rs.10000 each along with a certificate, while the most outstanding story out of this group would be given a cash award of Rs.100,000.

The selection will be done by a panel of scientists and science writers based on factors like accuracy, clarity, insightfulness, and resourcefulness. The word limit for the popular science story will be in between 1000-1500 words, and they can be in English or Hindi. Technical and research papers will not qualify for this competition. The stories can be submitted from 15 August 2018 till 30 September 2018 after online registration at www.awsar-dst.in . The Awards will be presented on the National Science Day, 28 February next year.

It is proposed to hold science writing workshops in different cities to train researchers in basics of popular science writing. The workshops will be conducted by communication experts who will provide participants tips for popular science writing. (India Science Wire)

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