HITS: Call for “Journalist in Residence” in 2018 and 2019

16. August 2017

Are you an experienced science journalist? Would you like a change of scenery and the chance to escape your daily routine? The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies’ (HITS) “Journalist in Residence” program offers the possibility of spending three to six months among bright scientific minds, thereby allowing you to gain a deeper insight into computer-aided, data-driven research and to work without the pressures of everyday business. Acceptance into the program is compensated with € 5,000 per month. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2017, and one position is open in 2018 as well as in 2019.

At HITS, a private, non-profit basic research institute, 120 scientists from 20 countries are currently working in 12 research groups. Their fields of research range from molecular biology to astrophysics, and HITS focuses on the processing, structuring, and analysis of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. One aim of the institute is to raise public awareness of the importance of computer-aided, data-driven research in the natural sciences. The institute is located in Heidelberg, Germany, a city with a top-100 university (Shanghai ranking 2016) and many high-class research institutions.

The “Journalist in Residence” program is geared towards freelance and staff science journalists with several years of experience and a focus on the natural sciences and technology. The program is open to all media (print, online, radio, TV), and one of its goals is to encourage dialogue between journalists and researchers. This daily contact enables the journalists to gain a better understanding of the way research works and how researchers think. We do not expect the journalists to publish anything related to HITS in return. Instead, the program supports free and independent journalism.
A good command of spoken and written English is a prerequisite.

More information on the program, the application requirements, and FAQ are available here.

The Journalists in Residence for 2018 and 2019 will be chosen by a selection committee consisting of German science journalists Martin Schneider (president of the German science journalist association WPK), Dr. Carsten Könneker (Editor-in-Chief of “Spektrum der Wissenschaft,” Springer Nature), and Dr. Alexander Mäder (free journalist), Beatrice Lugger (NaWik), as well as of scientists from diverse universities, Max Planck Institutes, and HITS.

The first Journalist in Residence was the award-winning German science journalist Volker Stollorz in 2012. While working together with HITS researchers during his stay, he conceived the “OperationsExplorer”, a data journalism project that provided the data basis for journalistic research and for a TV production on the spatial distribution of surgery treatments in German hospitals.
To date, there have been six “Journalists in Residence” at HITS – from Germany, the U.S., Spain, and India. These journalists were able to learn about new topics and utilize their stay to meet scientists and other journalists. For example, Dr. Michele Catanzaro from Barcelona, Spain (Journalist in Residence in 2014) gave a talk at the “Wissenswerte” conference, where he met colleagues with whom he later collaborated on the cross-border project “hearing voices,” enabling him to win the “European Science Writer of the Year” award in 2016.

The most recent Journalist in Residence, T.V. Padma from Delhi, India, has just returned home from her stay at HITS. According to Padma, “this program offers a rare opportunity. Life as a journalist is a mad rush for deadlines under high pressure. For five months, my focus was not on deadlines, but on learning new things.” Back in India, Padma is working on data journalism projects that she initiated together with a HITS research group during her stay in Heidelberg.
The deadline for applications is November 15, 2017. The program will be presented at the World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ) in San Francisco, USA, at the end of October. T.V. Padma and her predecessor, Cologne-based radio journalist Michael Stang, will speak at the conference.

For more info about the program, check out our movie here. Please send your application by e-mail to peter.saueressig@h-its.org.

About HITS

HITS, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, was established in 2010 by physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural, mathematical, and computer sciences. Major research directions include complex simulations across scales, making sense of data, and enabling science via computational research. Application areas range from molecular biology to astrophysics. An essential characteristic of the Institute is interdisciplinarity, implemented in numerous cross-group and cross-disciplinary projects. The base funding of HITS is provided by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.

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