Earth Institute journalist in residence scheme open call

UCD Earth Institute are delighted to announce a new journalist-in-residence fellowship for the 2023-2024 academic year, a new initiative to provide early career and established journalists with the opportunity to work directly with environmental and sustainability researchers in UCD.

We are delighted to announce our inaugural resident journalists for 2024, freelance science journalists and communicator Claire O’Connell and Lauren Boland, The Journal reporter with a focus on climate.

In April 2024, Claire and Lauren gave a coffee morning talk about their respective plans for their residency.


The Earth Institute is UCD’s institute for environmental and sustainability research. The Institute comprises a community of over 400 members in UCD across all career stages drawn from across the University’s six constituent Colleges, and seeks to promote interdisciplinary activity across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, engineering and architecture. Areas of expertise include biodiversity, climate, ecosystems, water, the built environment and sustainable communities.  Based in University College Dublin’s Belfield campus, the UCD Earth Institute fosters multi- and interdisciplinary research and works with stakeholders to address global, regional and national environmental challenges.

About the residency

The goal of the residency is to strengthen the communication between journalists and researchers; to offer journalists the opportunity to learn more about Institute’s strategic projects, research themes, and members’ research areas especially interdisciplinary research; to encourage Earth Institute members and UCD researchers to learn more about public communication of their research; and to support high-quality journalism around environmental research.  The role is being offered to journalists, staff or freelance, active in any media format: print, radio, television, blog, podcast etc.

The journalist-in-residence will connect with the research and teaching communities at UCD, engaging with UCD Earth Institute members and strategic projects and UCD research groups, laboratories, and/or strategic projects working in environmental and sustainability research, broadly defined.

Creating a Sustainable Global Society is one of the four strategic themes underpinning UCD’s 2020-2024 ‘Rising to the Future’ Strategy. The theme addresses critical global and local challenges relating to biodiversity, climate, water, food, the built environment, communities and work.  We would welcome applications centred upon these themes and related research and projects at UCD.

The fellowship will allow two journalists to spend a full-time equivalent of one month at UCD in 2024.  We would welcome applications from freelance and employed journalists with at least two years of experience working in one or more media (print, online, radio, television, podcast etc) who regularly reports or writes about environmental and sustainability issues, climate change, science or technology in Ireland.

We will provide:

  • A €2,500 or €3,500 gross payment, depending on career experience, to cover living expenses
  • Desk space and access to UCD’s library, events and other university resources
  • Connections with an interdisciplinary research network including UCD Earth Institute members, research groups, and strategic research projects
  • Access to UCD communications including UCD Research communications staff

The structure of the residency is open to discussion and could include flexible working arrangements, e.g. one day a week or two two-week residencies etc, as well as hybrid (in person and virtual) elements, subject to professional and/or caring responsibilities outside of the residency.  Hybrid working may be possible after initial introductions and connections are made but successful applicants are encouraged to spend a significant amount of their fellowship on the UCD campus and/or engaging with UCD staff, researchers and research groups or projects.  UCD cannot provide accommodation nor can UCD provide assistance with finding accommodation.

Resident journalists are expected to:

  • Deliver a short 10-15 minute introductory talk for the UCD Earth Institute community around time of starting
  • Engage in the life of the UCD Earth Institute and UCD by attending events and activities
  • Be proactive in making connections with UCD researchers beyond formal introductions to relevant researchers, research groups, research themes and/or strategic projects
  • Organise or participate in other events for UCD Earth Institute researchers possibly including mentorship and training workshops
  • Engage with UCD communications including UCD Research communications

Resident journalists are free to pursue their own research interests in the context of UCD Earth Institute and encouraged to exchange ideas with researchers and staff. The successful applicant/s will retain full editorial independence.


The UCD Earth Institute journalist-in-residence fellowship panel will base its decision on the following criteria:

  • Experience, skills and suitability of applicant
  • Quality and feasibility of the proposal including the treatment of their proposed story, e.g. who you might interview, how you will source contact, proposed location for publication or broadcast etc
  • Relevance to one or more of the strategic themes of the 2020-2024 ‘Rising to the Future’ Strategy
  • Relevance to the work and research areas of UCD Earth Institute members and/or their research groups and/or UCD Earth Institute strategic research priority projects
  • Reach of the project, i.e. the ability of the project to reach high audience numbers and prominence in the publication or broadcast outlet / ability of the project to secure coverage across a range of national/regional media outlets or formats. Maximising the impact of the project through other media will also be taken into account.
  • Engagement with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

Successful applications will be chosen by the UCD Earth Institute journalist-in-residence steering group which includes Earth Institute staff, members and executive council members, UCD communications staff, and external journalist representatives.

How to apply

Fill in the Google Form (requires Google login) or Word document application form by the deadline of Wednesday 31 January 2024 at 5pm (Irish Standard Time).

Samples of work: To submit samples of work as files, either email them to (maximum file size 10Mb) or send larger files via a large file transfer service, e.g. Google Drive, WeTransfer, One Drive etc.

All examples of work must be sent within 48 hours of application or by the deadline of Wednesday 31 January 2024 at 5pm (whichever is soonest) from the email address associated with this application.  A confirmation email of the receipt of files will be sent within 24 hours during working hours.

Interviews are expected to take place in February 2024.

Email if you have any further questions.

Terms and conditions

  • Applicants may only submit one journalist residence application per call
  • The proposed media project must be new, i.e. it must not have been previously broadcast or published in any format
  • The primary audience of all media must be in the Republic of Ireland
  • Applicants who are already in receipt of funding from UCD or who are in paid employment by UCD are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must have the right to live and work in the EU
  • If relevant, previous successful applicants may not apply for a second UCD journalist residence fellowship

For successful applicants:

  • Copyright of the final product(s) will remain with the applicant. However, materials produced must be made available – free of charge – for potential future use by the UCD Earth Institute and/or UCD including on UCD websites and social media accounts. The UCD Earth Institute and/or UCD will at all times acknowledge copyright.
  • The gross payment of €2500 or €3500 FTE will be processed as hourly payments based on timesheets submitted by the applicants and signed off by UCD Earth Institute staff. The payment will be paid through UCD payroll with PRSI and tax deducted at source.  UCD will not provide pension contributions.
  • UCD cannot provide accommodation nor can UCD provide assistance with finding accommodation

Acknowledgement: The successful applicant will acknowledge the UCD Earth Institute journalist in residence scheme supports by including, where possible, “This article was supported by the UCD Earth Institute as part of its journalist-in-residence fellowship” or their title as journalist-in-residence at UCD Earth Institute at end of the article, an acknowledgement by programme presenter at end of the broadcast or programme credits or as a strap line during the broadcast or on website.

Diversity and inclusion: UCD is committed to creating an environment where diversity is celebrated, and everyone is afforded equality of opportunity regardless of gender, age, race, disability, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, civil status, family status, or membership of the travelling community.  We welcome applications from everyone, including those who identify with any of the protected characteristics that are set out in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy. The University adheres to a range of equality, diversity and inclusion policies.  Applicants are encouraged to consult UCD’s policies and explore UCD’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2018-2020-2025 which sets out the University’s objectives aligned to UCD’s ten equality grounds.