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Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards

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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 EST on February 1, 2024. 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 2024, NASW will give awards in two categories based on length.

  • Short-form: A single piece or story package up to 1,500 words, a single broadcast up to 4 minutes long, or a combined package up to an equivalent total length.

  • Long-form: A single piece or story package of more than 1,500 words, a single broadcast more than 4 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, 2023 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 between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023. Pieces intended primarily for a scientific audience will not be considered. Beginning with the 2024 awards cycle, the Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards will be open to submissions from international publications and outlets. Works translated into English are not currently eligible. 

- 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.

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’ or Awardees' participation in the Awards or from Entrants’ or Awardees' 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’ or Awardees' 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 reserves the right to disqualify any entry or Entrant or Awardee or revoke an Award if NASW determines, in its sole discretion, that an Entrant or Awardee has violated these Rules or taken actions that undermine, or are intended to undermine, the legitimate operation of the Awards; or that an Entrant or Awardee 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, 2024. Your entry is not complete until you receive a confirmation email.

  • The entry form will prompt you to enter the total length of your piece in words (including main text and any sidebars; headline, subhed, captions, and footers do not count toward total). To convert the length of audio/video, each minute = 350 words.

  •  Entries can be provided either as a PDF (maximum size 10 MB), audio, or video file or as a URL where the piece can be accessed - for free and without a password - at least through October 2024. 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, IJA, NLGJA, SACNAS, SAJA, the Trans Journalists Association, and the Uproot Project 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, and travel costs for one (1) representative to attend the ScienceWriters2024 conference and accept the award will be provided. 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 awards@nasw.org 



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