Rocky colorful mountains

Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism

About the Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism

The Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism is given every other year to a journalist or team of journalists who have made significant, lasting, outstanding and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism for the general public.

Originally established in 1991 as the Sustained Achievement Award in Science Journalism, AGU renamed the award in honor of Robert C. Cowen, a longtime science editor (now retired) at The Christian Science Monitor.

Shale drilling in front of green hill

Award benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our honorees. Recipients of the Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism will receive the following benefits during the award presentation year:

  • 1
    An engraved award
  • 2
    Recognition in Eos
  • 3
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting
  • 4
    Travel expenses up to $1,000 to attend AGU Fall Meeting
  • 5
    Two complimentary tickets, per winner, to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting

Eligibility

Nominations are open to science journalists (or teams of journalists) who have, over a period of at least 15 years, made significant, lasting, outstanding and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism for the general public.

  • Self-nominations are permitted.
  • AGU membership is not required to submit a nomination.
  • Eligible science journalism by nominees may be about any of the scientific disciplines represented by AGU. Entries may include articles, audio and video broadcasts, and multimedia journalism that were reported, written, edited or produced by the nominee in any language.

Stream flowing through gorge in forest
  • Nomination package

    Nomination Letter. Each nomination must include a letter of support from someone other than the nominee that describes the nominee’s work and its importance. Please provide in this letter a synopsis of the nominee’s career in science journalism with particular emphasis on his/her work in Earth and space science journalism, an explanation of the qualities of the nominee’s work that have made it outstanding (i.e. accuracy, detailed analysis, sense of humor, ...), mentions of some especially noteworthy articles, broadcasts, or other reports that the candidate created, edited or produced, and a description of any other ways the nominee contributed positively to, and improved, the field of science journalism, including leadership and mentorship. Nominations for editors and producers are strongly encouraged to include a letter of support from a person who has worked closely with the nominee (for example, a reporter regularly edited by the editor).
  • Examples of Outstanding Journalism by Nominee (up to 10). Nominations must also include examples of the nominee’s work that provide evidence of the significant, lasting, accurate and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism over the nominee’s entire career. This can include noteworthy articles, broadcasts or other work that the candidate created, edited or produced. AGU will accept up to 10 examples of that work, which can include work created, edited or produced by the nominee in any language. Non-English examples must also include an English translation.
  • Each example may also include an optional 200-word summary about the work, including why it was chosen for the nomination package, why it is notable and any additional context that may be helpful in judging the work. This summary is strongly encouraged where the nominee is not the author of the work (for example, an editor).
Vertical image of waves crashing on a sandy beach

Criteria

The Cowen Award celebrates a career of outstanding journalism in the Earth and space sciences. Nominations are open to science journalists (or teams of journalists) who have, over a period of at least 15 years, made significant, lasting, outstanding and consistent contributions to Earth and space science journalism for the general public, including reporting, writing, editing and producing. Additional contributions to science journalism, including leadership and mentorship, will also be considered.

Aerial view of green forest in Brazil

Nominations are closed until January 2021

Nominations for the 2021 Robert C. Cowen Award will open on 15 January 2021.

We encourage you to read our guide on how to submit a successful nomination. Recipients are chosen by the Cowen Award Committee.

Lava lake of a volcanic eruption

Past recipients

Name

Year of honor

Alexandra Witze

2019

Richard Monastersky

2017

Andrew Revkin

2015

Erna Akuginow

2013

Geoffrey Haines-Stiles

2013

Charles Petit

2011

J. Kelly Beatty

2009

Tom Siegfried

2006

Paula S. Apsell

2004

Robert C. Cowen

2001

David Perlman

1997

Richard Kerr

1993


     
       
       
       
       
       

Contacts

AGU Staff Headshot Bompey

Nanci Bompey

Director, Media Relations

202.777.7524 | [email protected]

General Media Inquiries Contact

Public Information

| [email protected]