We are delighted to announce this year’s cohort of Media Fellows.

It’s hard to think of another time when science has not just been front-page news but has completely dominated the attention of the world’s media and public. In the past year, there has been endless articles, rolling reports, infographics, animations, home footage, and press statements as COVID-19 has spread across the world and changed the way we live our lives.  

More than ever, scientists and journalists need to collaborate, to understand how to communicate complex issues in a way that is engaging and relevant to everyone, regardless of their background or prior knowledge.  

Running since 1987, the British Science Association’s Media Fellowship scheme does just that. Centred on bridging the communication gap between science and journalists, the Media Fellowship scheme provides a unique opportunity for practising scientists and clinicians to spend two to six weeks working at the frontline of a media organisation in the UK. 

Despite the plethora of barriers faced this year, from remote working to social distancing, we feel it is more important than ever for us to deliver a ‘COVID-19 edition’ of the scheme. Thus, we are proud to announce that our cohort of Fellows this year are:

Professor Monica Lakhanpaul, UCL (sponsored by UCL’s Global Engagement Office) is placed with the BBC.

Monica is UCL Pro-Vice-Provost for South Asia, Professor of Integrated Community Child Health at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Paediatrician and Co-Director to the Childhood Infections and Pollution (CHIP) global consortium. She is committed to improving the health and well-being of the most vulnerable/underserved children and young people through holistic, participatory, multi-sectoral interdisciplinary interventions that encompass health, environment, education, and creative arts in the UK and Globally.

Professor Monica Lakhanpaul has contributed to the following news pieces during her placement at the BBC: 

Reviewing the latest evidence around BAME and COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines for children and how to overcome hesitancy in parents

Dr Clare Oliver-Williams, University of Cambridge (sponsored by University of Cambridge School for Clinical Medicine) is placed with The Economist.

Clare is a Research Fellow based in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests are focused on investigating the risk of a range of cardiovascular outcomes in relation to female-specific risk factors, including parity and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

The following articles have been written by Dr Clare Oliver-Williams during her placement at The Economist: 

Extinction looms for a bird that has forgotten how to sing

Dr Martin Khechara, University of Wolverhampton (sponsored by the Institute of Biomedical Science) is placed with The Naked Scientists.

Martin is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science (Microbiology) based at the University of Wolverhampton. He is also the Associate Professor for Public Engagement in STEM. As part of this, Martin is leading a public engagement group called the STEM Response Team which provides engaging and educational science experiences for schools and the wider community.

Dr Martin Khechara has contributed to the following news pieces during his placement at The Naked Scientists:

Learning In The Time Of COVID

Fossilised bioluminescent beetle discovered

"Train millipedes" keep eight-year timetable

If Earth were heavier, would rockets work?

Old drug is new weapon against tsetse flies 

Dr Priti Parikh, UCL (sponsored by UCL Engineering) is placed with New Scientist.

Priti is a chartered civil engineer and Associate Professor in Engineering and International Development at UCL. She has over 15 years of engineering consultancy experience in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK. Priti has successfully championed the need for high-quality research and engineering education to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in resource challenged settings.

The following articles have been written by Dr Priti Parikh during her placement at the New Scientist: 

Stretchy bands generate electricity from body heat to power gadgets

Soil safely filters 38 million tonnes of waste each year

Male lyrebirds imitate a flock of birds to scare females into mating

Google uses fibre-optic cable to detect earthquakes

Over one sixth of all food produced ends up being thrown in the bin

Algorithm reveals contents of fragile letters sealed for 300 years

Dr Jerone Andrews, UCL (sponsored by UCL Engineering) is placed with BBC Future.

Jerone is a Research Fellow at the UCL Centre for Artificial Intelligence. He currently holds a Royal Academy of Engineering UK Intelligence Community Research Fellowship and is researching deep learning-based image forensics. His research interests and expertise extend across computer vision and deep learning; from self-supervised anomaly detection to human dimensional attention-inspired transfer learning.

Dr Jerone Andrews wrote the following piece during his placement at BBC Future:

The hidden fingerprint inside your photos

Dr Richard Colchester, UCL (sponsored by UCL Engineering) is placed with WIRED UK.

Richard is a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow in the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at UCL. His research focuses on the development of imaging and sensing devices for use in minimally invasive surgery. The overall aim is the development of an all-optical platform technology which uses optical fibres for imaging, sensing, and therapy.

The following articles have been written by Dr Richard Colchester during his placement at WIRED UK:

Does COVID-killing UV tech work?

We asked coronavirus experts what summer 2021 will be like

The Media Fellowship scheme aims to help bridge the communication gap between journalists and scientists, address the misunderstanding and mistrust between them and in the long-term, aims to improve the quality and quantity of science and engineering stories in the press. We hope our 2020 cohort of Fellows will go back to their institutions to share and disseminate what they have learnt to their colleagues and peers.

This round of the scheme comes at a crucial time where effective science communication has never been more essential. With thorough research, strong relationships and open communication – the Media Fellowship scheme and its outputs has the potential to enable more people to believe that science is for them – and not just scientists.

This page will be regularly updated over the coming months with published articles written by our Fellows at their respective placements.

Find out more about our Media Fellowships