WCSJ2017 Announces Early Sponsors, Program Details in News Briefing

WASHINGTON, DC (FEBRUARY 12, 2016) — Organizers of the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ2017) unveiled details of the conference at an information session held today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Announcements included the debut of a comprehensive conference website and the enlistment of several major sponsors, including a “Diamond Sponsor” contributing $400,000 toward the event.

WCSJ2017, which will take place October 26-30, 2017, in San Francisco, California, marks the first time that this international gathering of science journalists from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe will be held in the United States. It is expected to attract 1,200 attendees and will be based at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

In 2015, the U.S.-based National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) joined in a successful bid to host WCSJ, the biennial conference of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ). NASW and CASW are now working with University of California co-hosts at the UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco (UCSF) campuses and other partners to develop a five-day program showcasing the latest trends in science and in science journalism.

The Program Committee for the event, chaired by Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, includes leading science journalists from The Associated Press, Clarín (Argentina), and Nature India. The Program Committee will begin soliciting session proposals in May 2016.

The conference theme, “Bridging Science and Societies,” reflects the vital role science journalists play in connecting audiences to the science that affects their lives, said Ron Winslow, Organizing Committee co-chair and deputy bureau chief for health and science at the Wall Street Journal. “The conference will address the common as well as the diverse interests of our global community of science journalists and the audiences they serve,” Winslow said. A special focus of the 2017 conference will be programming and financial support to encourage participation and training for Latin American science journalists.

Co-chair Cristine Russell, senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, announced several major partnerships with sponsors that have pledged support for WCSJ2017 to strengthen the global science journalism community. Major underwriting has been secured from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, which has pledged $400,000 to become the conference’s Diamond Sponsor.

“We are excited to have an early and generous commitment from Johnson & Johnson,” Russell said. “J&J has been a strong backer of the World Federation and past conferences over the years, offering unparalleled support for mentoring and development opportunities for science journalists around the world. We are pleased to have a longtime partner as the leading underwriter of WCSJ2017.”

Russell also announced early commitments from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Burroughs Wellcome Fund and American Chemical Society. Substantial fundraising for WCSJ2107 is required to support travel, hospitality, training, and programming for journalists and students from the developing world.

The WCSJ2017 Fundraising Committee invited foundations, companies, and other interested organizations to join WCSJ2017 in offering opportunities for international journalists to experience the vibrant research and development environment of the San Francisco Bay Area, to explore the interplay of innovation and technology in Northern California that helps drive both the national and world economy, and to enjoy excursions to the region’s major research sites and natural wonders, as well as to get a close-up look at environmental challenges facing the State of California.

UCSF and UC Berkeley, two of the world’s preeminent research institutions, will open their campuses during the conference to enrich the WCSJ2017 program with scientific presentations and tours. In addition, the UCSF-affiliated Bay Area Science Festival, one of the nation’s largest public science celebrations, will engage science journalists in events and outreach around the Bay Area.

Information on how to support travel fellowships for journalists and other aspects of the conference can be found at http://wcsj2017.org. Exhibitor and advertiser information will be available on the conference website on June 1.


CASW: Founded in 1959, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing is a panel of distinguished journalists, science communication specialists, and scientists committed to improving the quality and quantity of science news reaching the public. CASW has joined with WFSJ to raise funds to support travel to WCSJ2017 for developing-country journalists, as well as hospitality and conference program expenses.

NASW: Founded in 1934, the National Association of Science Writers is an association of more than 2,000 members chartered to “foster the dissemination of accurate information through all media normally devoted to informing the public.” NASW’s programs improve the craft of science writing, fight for the free flow of science news, and honor excellence in science writing.

WFSJ: The Montréal-based World Federation of Science Journalists connects science journalists in more than 50 associations around the world through conferences, competitions, and networking, and encourages strong, critical coverage of issues in science and technology, environment, health and medicine, agriculture, and related fields. Current programs help journalists worldwide learn about infectious diseases, including Ebola and hepatitis C. WFSJ offers an online science journalism course in 10 languages.

UCSF and UC Berkeley: UC San Francisco is the leading university in the U.S. exclusively focused on health. UCSF is dedicated to advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UC Berkeley is the flagship of the University of California system. Its undergraduate program ranks third overall among the world’s universities in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, while its graduate research programs uniformly rank among the best in the world. Combined, current UCSF and UC Berkeley faculty have earned more than 25 Nobel Prizes.


Rosalind Reid, executive director, Council for the Advancement of Science Writing ros@casw.org
Tinsley Davis, executive director, National Association of Science Writers director@nasw.org
Damien Chalaud, executive director, World Federation of Science Journalists dchalaud@wfsj.org