Watch the video to learn more about why The Story Exchange wants to support women scientists. (Credit: Christina Kelly)

Editor’s Update: The application period is now closed. We will contact semi-finalists in September.

The Story Exchange, an award-winning nonprofit media organization dedicated to elevating women’s voices, is seeking submissions for its 2nd annual Women In Science Incentive Prize.

The cash prize will support U.S.-based women working to find innovative, science-based solutions in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation. This year, the focus is on women leading efforts in air quality and climate change. (Last year’s prize focused on women working in water; see the list of winners.) A total of 5 recipients will be awarded $5,000 each and potential media coverage via The Story Exchange, which produces videos, articles and podcasts for entrepreneurial women. Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges following a rigorous scientific review and based on an assessment by The Story Exchange editors.

“We know that women in science, particularly early-career women, can feel isolated as they work on novel solutions to pressing climate change issues,” said Sue Williams, executive director of The Story Exchange. “We hope this prize supports them and recognizes their efforts, which often go unseen and unsung.”

Climate change is expected to make it more challenging in the future to meet air pollution standards, which are designed to protect public health. Air pollutants and greenhouse gases – chiefly from energy use in transportation, agricultural, residential and industrial activities – contribute directly to warming conditions and exacerbate the problem via secondary effects. 

Eligible candidates for the Women In Science Incentive Prize will be scientists with advanced degrees in the fields of physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, environmental science or closely related fields; or entrepreneurs with advanced degrees who are creating science-based products and technology to help mitigate/reduce the impact of climate change.

Successful applicants will be addressing air quality through one of the following areas:

  • Advanced monitoring and quantification– of pollutant emissions at high spatial resolution; pollutant transport and transformation processes; innovative life cycle analysis.
  • Secondary effects – wildfires, particulate matter, extreme heat and ozone.
  • Energy: fossil alternatives, efficiency and conservation – in industrial, agriculture or urban settings; decarbonization.
  • Transformative technology for remediation, reduction or prevention – greenhouse gas emissions reduction; technology substitution; carbon sequestration; advanced materials for climate change mitigation.

Application Process

The Story Exchange is requesting preliminary applications in advance of full applications to increase the overall quality of submissions and assist staff and judges in managing the review process. A subset of applicants will be invited to submit full applications. Winners will be announced in December.

The following is the timetable and list of requirements:

July 31, 2022: Preliminary applications are due. Applications must provide a CV and statement (maximum 800 words) describing their work and professional goals, including impact; and intended use of funds. Applicants must also provide a statement (maximum 500 words) about their personal story, including biggest personal/professional challenges. The Story Exchange is committed to including diverse voices and perspectives and welcomes applications from the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities.

Sept. 6, 2022: Semi-finalists will be invited to submit a full application.

Oct. 15, 2022: Full applications are due. Applicants must provide a statement (maximum 1,500 words) describing scientific objectives and environmental impact of their research or startup; feasibility of the methods to address air quality; and a clear and succinct description of scientific evidence supporting the proposed research or business. Candidates must also submit a letter of recommendation from an external person familiar with their work and qualifications.

December 2022: Winners will be announced.

“We find it incredibly rewarding to connect women in science at a time when the world needs their unique perspectives the most,” said Victoria Wang, co-founder of The Story Exchange. “For too long, women in science have been dismissed. It’s time we support the innovative women who are working to combat climate change and make the world cleaner, greener and healthier.”

The Story Exchange, an independent 501(c)(3) newsroom founded in 2011, has won recognition for its editorial projects from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, the Society of Advancing Business Editing and Writing, the Webby Awards and the Gerald Loeb Awards.