The Josh Award 2016

The Josh Award is the UK’s national award in science communication, established to recognise and support up-and-coming talent in science communication.

The award recognises a defining moment in the career of a science communicator; a person who is a practicing scientist or someone who has chosen science communication as their profession. This defining moment could be a game changing project, piece of work, way of working, or a key moment of change, creativity, innovation or passion.  A defining moment in a career that has transformed science communication practice, inspired others or changed the landscape of science communication.

The award provides the opportunity to become the science communicator in residence at the Manchester Science Festival 2016, in partnership with the University of Salford, Manchester developing and delivering a new project or event while showcasing best practise in the field of science communication.

The winner will receive support to nurture their development in the field and their involvement in the Manchester Science Festival from both the Festival team, the University of Salford’s Science Communication cluster, and the BIG STEM Communicators Network.

Aim of the award

To recognise up-and-coming talent in science communication through an award scheme, nurture development in the field and support the involvement in the Manchester Science Festival.


• To recognise one outstanding contributor to science communication each year by means of a defining moment in their career.
• To assist them in the development of an innovative project or event for Manchester Science Festival as Science Communicator in Residence.
• To support their development through networking and skills training.

Who is the award for?

Science communication practitioners who can be full-time, part-time, or practising science communication through various aspects of their jobs, e.g. as a researcher at a University. We welcome applications from individuals and groups. The Award is open to anyone involved in science communication in the UK (and is a UK resident). 

About Josh

The Award is inspired by and named in memory of Josh Phillips who was the first Science Communication Officer at the Museum of Science and Industry. Josh was a much loved, much respected and highly talented science communicator whose outstanding career is commemorated with this award. Josh was also Chair of BIG at the time of his passing.

About Manchester Science Festival

Manchester Science Festival is a celebration of science. People are invited to play, create and experiment with science through beautiful installations, immersive science experiences, intriguing evening events, inspiring talks and debates, hands-on workshops and more. Manchester Science Festival is proudly produced by the Museum of Science and Industry.

About BIG

BIG is the skills sharing network for individuals involved in the communication of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

BIG runs regular events and training courses on issues relevant to science communication and informal science and maths education. Our annual conference - The BIG Event - is regarded as one of the best science communication conferences in the UK as a source of best practice skills-sharing and networking.

Members of the BIG community get access to news, discussion forums, training and events offering networking and sharing of information and views, as well as many other benefits such as free entry to UK science centres and museums.  

The Prize

The winner will receive the following:

• Role as Manchester Science Festival Science Communicator in Residence for one year. This means you receive the support of the Manchester Science Festival team, members of BIG and previous Josh Award winners to develop and deliver an innovative and new project or event at the 2016 Manchester Science Festival.

• Up to £1000 to develop your project or event with Manchester Science Festival and up to £500 personal expenses budget (this budget will be agreed and held by the Manchester Science Festival). 

• Attendance at the annual BIG Event (conference fee and annual membership provided by BIG, worth around £300) to network with and present to a diverse range of science communicators from across the sector.

• A personal prize cheque of £500 provided by the Josh Award Fund.

• The Josh Award trophy, held for one year.

The winner will be expected to:

  • Develop and deliver a project/event for Manchester Science Festival (in agreement with the team) and act as Science Communicator in Residence at the Manchester Science Festival, which will take place from Thursday 20th to Sunday 30th October 2016
  • Deliver the annual ‘Science Communication’ lecture at University of Salford, Manchester (dates to coincide with MSF).
  • Accept the Josh Award and meet with the Josh Award Chairman at either Manchester Science Festival or BIG.
  • Write of a case study of the created event/activity which can be presented at the BIG conference and written in the BIG newsletter

Selection Panel 

  • Timothy Phillips, Chairman (Josh's Father)
  • Natalie Ireland, Head of Learning and Public Programmes, Museum of Science and Industry
  • Marieke Navin, Deputy Director, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
  • Karen Bultitude, previous Award winner and lecturer in Science Communication and Director of Research in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL.
  • James Piercy, Chair BIG
  • Professor Andy Miah, previous award winner and lecturer at the University of Salford.

How to Apply

Please apply for the award by downloading the application form here.

Previous winners include Karen Bultitude (left), Steve Cross from UCL (middle), graphene researcher Aravind Vijayaraghavan (middle right) and maths comedian Matt Parker (right) 

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