Journalists are invited to apply for a new evolution fellowship program

Next deadline: December 1

Are you a journalist who wants to deepen your understanding of evolution? Print, broadcast, and online journalists are invited to apply for a new fellowship program at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in Durham, North Carolina.

The program offers a unique opportunity for reporters, producers, and editors to work on an ambitious, exciting project of their own choosing with an evolutionary focus (books, or a series of articles, for instance). You will interact with world experts in a wide range of evolutionary topics including human evolution, evolutionary medicine, paleontology, biodiversity, conservation, astrobiology, and climate change.

As a NESCent journalist-in-residence, you’ll have time to explore diverse areas of evolutionary science or delve deeply into a single topic. You are also welcome to participate in a variety of scientific meetings, seminars and other learning experiences, as well as enjoy quiet time for reading and independent study.


Journalists are invited to study at NESCent for varying lengths of stay depending on their time constraints and interests -- from two or three weeks to up to three months. NESCent hosts hundreds of visiting scientists each year for scientific meetings on various topics. You may plan a busy schedule of one-on-one interviews and tours while you are here, or you can arrange a longer, more loosely structured stay.

Who can apply?

Fellowships are open to salaried or freelance journalists in print, electronic or broadcast media. Journalists of all nationalities are welcome to apply.

What is covered?

Journalists-in-residence will receive support for travel to and from NESCent, a housing allowance for the duration of their visit, and a meal per diem. You will also be provided with office space at NESCent, located in a historic textile mill in a vibrant university community at the edge of the Duke University campus. To most benefit from the in-house and visiting scientific community at NESCent, those selected for the program should plan to be on-site at the center for a minimum of three days per week during their fellowship.

How to apply

The earliest start date would be mid-January or early February 2015. Please apply online using the online application form. Your project proposal should include the following information:

1) Name and contact information. If you have a Web site page linked to your name (e.g., institutional, organizational, or your own homepage), please include that information as well.

2) Media organization(s) (If freelance, please list some of the media organizations for which you have recently completed assignments.)

3) A brief sketch of your intended project, whether it’s an article, a series of articles, or a book with an evolutionary focus. It’s not necessary to have a contract or accepted story proposal at this time. Two pages maximum; if you have an intended target publication(s), please specify.

4) A project summary, 250 words maximum. This is a public summary for display on the NESCent Web site.

5) What specific research, reporting or writing toward this project will your time at NESCent enable you to do? (250 words maximum)

6) Proposed timetable:  Please include your preferred dates for residency at NESCent (start date, month and year).

7) Professional references:  Please list three, along with an e-mail address or phone number where we can contact them.

8) Examples of recent work:  Please copy or provide Web links to three articles or assignments you have completed in the last two years, or to older work if you feel it is more pertinent. If you prefer, you can also mail these articles to us at: Journalist-in-Residence Program, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, 2024 West Main St. Suite A200, Durham, NC 27705.

9) How did you hear about this program?

10) Professional experience:  Please include a copy of your current resume or curriculum vitae. If you have completed other fellowship programs or if you have won any awards for your journalism, please list them.

Submitting your proposal

Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single pdf file including all of the components listed above. Please login first to create a profile. For technical support, write For other questions about the NESCent journalist-in-residence program, please contact Nicole Duncan at or 919-668-7993.

Recent fellows:

Molly Samuel, KQED/freelance: "Shipwrecked on dry land: a documentary for public radio"

Mike Martin, freelance: "Margie Profet's Unfinished Symphony"

Ilan Greenberg, freelance: "The science and surveillance of zoonotic diseases"

Aaron Dubrow, Texas Advanced Computing Center, "Following the sequence"

Lynn Fellman, freelance: "I am a Multi. An iBook about human genetic ancestry"

Carrie Arnold, freelance: "Our microbial minds: how microbes make us human"

Rob Chaney, Missoulian: "Wilderness at 50"

Other links of interest

Scientists and in-house staff at NESCent:

NESCent news releases:

Calendar of meetings, workshops, seminars, and scientists coming soon to NESCent:

Duke University:

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:

North Carolina State University:

About the center

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) is a nonprofit science center dedicated to cross-disciplinary research in evolution. Funded by the National Science Foundation, NESCent is jointly operated by Duke University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. For more information about research and training opportunities at NESCent, visit