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Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards

 Call for Entries and Rules     Create an Entry     Past Winners    Contact



Read details and Rules below then use the link in the menu to create your entry and complete all steps of the online entry process by 11:59PM Eastern on February 1, 2022. Your entry is not complete until you receive a confirmation email.

The Purpose

The National Association of Science Writers established the Excellence in Institutional Writing Award to recognize high-caliber, publicly accessible science writing produced on behalf of an institution or other non-media organization. We especially seek to recognize science writing that is shaped by a variety of perspectives, because such writing enables us to tell more broadly relevant stories that better serve our readers and communities. Therefore, we consider diversity in topics, sources, audience and authors to be a critical component of excellence. A committee of accomplished peers judges the entries each year. 

The Awards

In 2022, NASW will give awards in two categories based on length.

  • Short-form: A single piece or story package up to 1,000 words, a single broadcast up to 2 ½ minutes long, or a combined package up to an equivalent total length.

  • Long-form: A single piece or story package of more than 1,000 words, a single broadcast more than 2 ½ minutes long, or a combined package exceeding the short-form length limit.

Note: Captions are not included in the total count.


Rules for Submission

  • Please follow the rules carefully. Submissions that do not follow these procedures will not be considered.
    -An individual is eligible to be an entrant (referred to herein as an “Entrant”) if such individual (a) is eighteen (18) years or older as of January 1, 2021 and is residing and located in a jurisdiction where the awards contest is lawfully allowed; (b) did not win an Excellence in Institutional Writing award last year ; and (c) has not won Excellence in Institutional Writing awards three (3) times. The awards contest is void where prohibited.
    -Any individual (staff or freelance) who produces science writing on behalf of one or more institutions is eligible to enter, or be entered in, these awards. Institutions may enter, or be represented by, multiple entries in any category, whereas individual authors or producers may be represented only once in each category. In the case of multiple entries in a single category on the same author’s behalf, only the entry provided by the author themselves will be considered. If none was submitted by the author, the one with the earliest timestamp will be considered. If an author enters multiple of their own works in the same category, none will be considered. 
    - An entry should be a single piece or story package. The award is platform-independent: An entry can be a press release, news story, feature story, magazine article, blog post or other web content, video or audio piece, or story package consisting of more than one of these items.
    - The entry must have been produced on behalf of an institution or other non-media organization.
    - Non-bylined pieces are subject to independent review for confirmation of authorship. 
    - Work must be written or produced in English, intended for the non-specialist, and first published or broadcast in North America between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. Pieces intended primarily for a scientific audience will not be considered.
    - Entries will be judged on the quality of the writing and the effectiveness with which the work conveys accurate science to a public audience. Reflection of diversity in the audience, topic, sources and/or author(s) also will be considered.
    -Entries must be complete and submitted online to be considered. If judges are unable to access the entries because of paywalls at any time during the judging process, entries will be disqualified. We recommend all entries include PDF versions in addition to any links to the online version.

Important Legal Information

By submitting any entry, each Entrant represents, warrants, and agrees that:

  1.        The Entrant has the necessary rights and authorizations to submit the entry and is an author, creator, publisher, or producer (or authorized representative thereof) of the entry.  Each Entrant agrees to indemnify NASW and its officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives for any costs or expenses of any kind related to a claim or assertion by a third party that the Entrant submitted the entry without authorization to do so.
  2.        NASW and its officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives shall not be responsible for any losses, damages or injuries of any kind relating to Entrants’ participation in the Awards or from Entrants’ acceptance, receipt, possession and/or use or misuse of any prize.
  3.        NASW shall have no liability whatsoever concerning or in any way related to Entrants’ travel. International Awardees shall solely be responsible for obtaining any passports or other required travel documents.
  4.       Awardees shall be solely responsible for all taxes, fees, and/or costs associated with any prize.
  5.       Acceptance of an award or honorable mention constitutes the Awardee’s permission for NASW to use Awardee’s name and likeness for promotional purposes in all forms of media in perpetuity without further authorization or compensation.
  6.       NASW assumes no liability, and shall not be liable, for typographical or other errors in the offer or administration of the awards including, without limitation, errors in the printing or display of the offer and official rules, selection, notification and announcement of the winners, or distribution of the awards. NASW is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by internet users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the awards and assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction, or unauthorized access to any systems associated with the awards. 

NASW reserves the right to disqualify any entry or Entrant or revoke an Award if NASW determines, in its sole discretion, that an Entrant has violated these Rules or taken actions that undermine, or are intended to undermine, the legitimate operation of the Awards; or that an Entrant has engaged in, or is the subject of investigation of claims of, fraud, harassment, unlawful conduct, or any other act that is inconsistent with the Purpose of these Awards or with any NASW policy, including but not limited to NASW’s Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct, and Operating Principles.

Information provided by or on behalf of Entrants to enter these awards will not be sold to third parties but may be shared as necessary for the purposes of judging and awarding prizes. NASW may occasionally contact Entrants via email concerning the awards, and each Entrant consents to receiving such communications via email.  Each Entrant accepts our Privacy Policy, available at https://www.nasw.org/sites/default/files/NASWPrivacyPolicy.pdf, and our Terms of Use, available at https://www.nasw.org/sites/default/files/TermsofUse1214.pdf.


To enter


  •        Use the link in the menu to create your entry and complete all steps of the online entry process by 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1, 2022. Your entry is not complete until you receive a confirmation email.
  •        Entries should not include a cover letter.
  •        Entries can be provided either as a PDF (maximum size 10 MB) or as a URL where the piece can be accessed - for free and without a password - at least through October 2022. Entries that are not accessible at the time of judging will not be considered.  
  •       There is no submission fee for current members of NASW. The entry fee for non-members and those entering on behalf of members but who are not members themselves is $45 per entry. Curious about membership and want to save on fees? Visit nasw.org/membership-information  to learn more and apply.        

   In an effort to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field and cast the widest possible net for excellence, members of AAJA,  NABJ, NAHJ, NAJA, NLGJA, SACNAS, SAJA, and the Trans Journalists Association are invited to enter at no cost.



NASW will award separate cash prizes of $2,000 for writing judged best in each of the categories. Only authors and producers listed on the original submission will be recognized by the awards. The awards will be announced in October. In cases of multiple authors or producers, the prize money will be split between the entrants at their discretion. However, the prize money is intended for content authors or producers, not publications or news organizations.


Questions? Contact director@nasw.org 



Are you looking for NASW's Science in Society Journalism Awards? Visit nasw.org/scienceinsociety.