Covering Copenhagen: SMC travel grant – call for applications

With the Copenhagen climate conference in Denmark looming, it is far from clear whether the world’s nations will be able to reach agreement on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But one thing is for sure – the scientific evidence suggests such an agreement is crucial. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report compelling scientific evidence of global warming and the need for comprehensive
reductions in emissions.

While the politics of climate negotiations will take centre stage at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP15) scheduled to take place in Copenhagen from December 7 – 18, it is important that the science underpinning the need for emissions reduction isn’t overlooked. New Zealand’s specific climate challenges, such as the high proportion of emissions from the agricultural sector, also need to be put in context.

As such, the Science Media Centre is offering a $1500 travel grant to allow a New Zealand journalist to travel to Copenhagen to cover the COP15 proceedings.

Preference will be given to applications from science and environment reporters and to proposals that indicate the journalist is planning to look at the science of climate change in the course of reporting on the conference’s proceedings.

The travel grant is open to staff journalists and freelancers operating in any medium – print, radio, TV and/or online. Applications are to be sent to the SMC by email by 5pm, September 28.

Registered journalists can log into the SMC Resource Library to download the application form. If you are not registered for the website you can do so quickly here.

Awarding of the grant is conditional on the winning applicant gaining press accreditation for the COP15 meeting. Media registration is now open and details on requirements can be found here.

Judging of applications:

The SMC has assembled a panel of judges to consider applications for the travel grant. The judges include:

Alan Samson, Massey University journalism lecturer and former newspaper journalist.
Anthony Scott, chief executive of Science New Zealand
Lyndal Byford, Australian Science Media Centre

Applicant checklist:

– Completed SMC Travel Grant application form, including estimated budget for the trip.
– Approved registration for COP15 meeting.

Further Information
For more information about the SMC Travel Grant, please contact the Science Media Centre on tel: 04 499 5476 or email:

Notes to Editors
The Science Media Centre (SMC) is an independent source of expert comment and information for journalists covering science and technology in New Zealand. Our aim is to promote accurate, bias-free reporting on science and technology by helping the media work more closely with the scientific community. The SMC is an independent centre established by the Royal Society of New Zealand with funding from the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. The views expressed in this Science Alert are those of the individuals and organisations indicated and do not reflect the views of the SMC or its employees. For further information about the centre, or to offer feedback, please email us at