The winners of this year’s European Science Journalist of the Year 2021 (ESJotY) award were announced this week by the European Federation for Science Journalism (EFSJ) at its Annual General Meeting. 

The award recognises and promotes excellence and innovation in science journalism across Europe.

Watch the awards ceremony here!

This year’s first-place winner is Hristio Boytchev, an entry from Germany, for reports on the results of an extensive investigation into conflicts of interest in science and medicine. 

“The judges were impressed by the dedication that went into uncovering an important and under-reported problem in science,” said Anita Makri, chair of the judging panel.  “We believe the investigative aspect of the work should serve as an example and an inspiration for future work in science journalism.”

In second place is Polina Loseva, an entry from Russia, for articles tackling complex questions related to the pandemic and HIV/AIDS in a way that the judges found insightful, imaginative and engaging. 

Our third-place winner is Cristina da Rold, an entry from Italy, for reports at a time when the country was Europe’s pandemic ‘ground-zero’. Makri said the judges commended da Rold for getting hold of important data, and found the work inspiring. 

“There is so much great science journalism in so many different languages in Europe,”  said Krijn Soeteman, president of the Federation. “This award is a great way to highlight it.”

The award is presented by the EFSJ and is part-funded and administered by the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), which has previously hosted the awards since 2014. It celebrates journalists whose work has promoted excellence and creativity in the sciences.

Journalism awards give us the chance to really look at each other’s work, and learn from the best of us,” said Ben Deighton, ABSW’s Europe representative. “This is especially true for the European award, which spans so many countries and journalistic traditions.”

This year’s qualifying submissions spanned 10 European countries, and included a variety of formats including video and audio productions, covering a wide range of topics with a science component.We read stories from the front lines of the pandemic, to the cloud forests of Costa Rica, and even the world of art restoration,” said Makri.

The judging panel was made up of distinguished members of the profession from across the continent, with expertise in a diversity of areas in science journalism.

The first-place winner is awarded a prize of 1000 Euro. Second and third-place winners will be awarded 300 Euro and 200 Euro, respectively.


The winning entries

1st place winner: Hristio Boytchev (Germany) 

  • Exclusive: Doctors systematically conceal conflicts of interest, Buzzfeed 
  • Mobbing in Science, Buzzfeed

2nd place winner: Polina Loseva (Russia)

  • CoV is in the Air, N+1
  • Vaccine-less, N+1
  • The most dangerous man in the world, N+1

3rd place winner: Cristina da Rold (Italy) 

The judging panel

Ben Deighton – SciDev.Net managing editor (UK)

Milica Momcilovic – science journalist and President of World Federation of Science Journalists (Serbia)

Maria Pazi – freelance science journalist and junior researcher (Russia)

Stan van Pelt – science journalist (Netherlands)

Eva Wolfangel – freelance science and tech journalist (Germany)

Chair: Anita Makri – freelance journalist, producer and editorial adviser (UK/Cyprus)


About EFSJ

The European Federation for Science Journalism (EFSJ) is a non-profit organisation that aims to promote independent, high-quality science journalism across Europe by organising meetings and conferences, setting-up cross-border investigative reporting grants, and running awards. The EFSJ supports and stimulates journalists to critically examine, challenge and assess scientific information in a social, cultural, political, ethical and economic context. The EFSJ helps develop and support new business models for independent science journalism and stimulate the debate about the role of science journalism and science communication.