The Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) is an initiative to publish Indian research stories for the public in a format that’s easy to understand and interesting for an ordinary reader. The AWSAR initiative envisages bridging the gap in communicating research to ordinary people by utilising the potential of PhD scholars and Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs).
The National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) Division, Department of Science and Technology (DST), conceptualises and supports the AWSAR programme. The NCSTC division is actively engaged in developing various outreach programs for the scientific fraternity.
Under the AWSAR initiative, PhD and postdoctoral scholars in technology and science streams are encouraged to write at least one popular science story and participate in this national competition during their scholarship tenancy. The top stories/entries are awarded at the AWSAR award function held on the National Science Day, i.e. 28 February, every year.
Eligibility Criteria for Submitting Articles Under the AWSAR Initiative
The following is the eligibility criteria for submitting the science and technology stories/article under the AWSAR initiative:
- Youth pursuing PhD in science and technology and Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs) from a recognised university or R&D (Research and Technology) Institute are eligible to send entries.
- Applicants must be Indian citizens.
- Applicants can submit only one article in a year. They can also re-apply again in the next year if they meet the eligibility criteria.
However, past winners of the AWSAR awards are not eligible to submit a research story again in the same category.
Guidelines for Submitting Articles Under the AWSAR Initiative
The applicants must follow the below guidelines while submitting articles under the AWSAR programme:
- The PhD scholars must have been enrolled in the PhD program in a government-approved institution for the past two years.
- The PDFs associated with any recognised institute can send articles.
- The article should indicate a complete research story in simple language that the general public can understand. It should not include complex figures, equations, graphs, or formulas except self-explanatory infographics for effective communication.
- Only original articles sent exclusively for the AWSAR award will be accepted. The articles previously published or simultaneously sent for publication elsewhere are not accepted.
- The applicants should mention their name, affiliation, contact details, theme, and title in the submitted article.
- The applicants should send a declaration that the article is original and has not been previously published elsewhere.
- An article of 1000-1500 words is accepted.
- The applicants found guilty of multi-story submission and plagiarism will be blacklisted and debarred from future participation.
- The applicants must submit the articles online on the AWSAR portal.
- A panel of eminent science communicators and scientists constituted by the DST will select the top 100 entries received from PhD scholars and the top 20 entries from PDFs.
Selection Criteria of Articles for the AWSAR Awards
An expert panel of media persons, science communicators, subject experts and practitioners constituted by the DST will evaluate the submitted science stories. The following is the criteria for judging the entries and selecting the top articles received from PhD scholars and PDFs:
- The entries will be judged based on accuracy, clarity, fairness, insightfulness, and resourcefulness.
- The entries should answer the questions such as:
- Why does the research matter?
- Is it a compelling read?
- Does the article explain the research in a way that is easy to comprehend?
AWSAR Awards Under the AWSAR Initiative
The following are the awards given to PhD scholars and PDFs under the AWSAR initiative.
AWSAR awards for PhD scholars:
- The top 100 articles will be each awarded a cash prize of Rs.10,000 along with the Certificate of Appreciation.
- The top article will receive the first prize of Rs.1,00,000.
- The second best articles will receive a cash prize of Rs.50,000.
- The third best article will be awarded the third prize of Rs.25,000.
AWSAR awards for Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs):
- The top 20 articles will be awarded a cash prize of Rs.10,000 each, along with the Certificate of Appreciation.
- One outstanding story will be awarded Rs.1,00,000.
The AWSAR awards will be announced and given on 28 February every year at the National Science Day event. All the awardees are given an opportunity to attend the science film training workshop organised by the Vigyan Prasar.
Workshops Conducted Under the AWSAR Initiative
The workshops conducted under the AWSAR programme aims to provide tips for noteworthy writing and effective communication in popular science writing format. The identified group of experts will organise a few workshops yearly. The tentative theme of the workshops cover the following points:
- Learn what makes writing well.
- Emphasise an effective way of writing in the clearest way possible and use jargon that clearly explains its meaning.
- Use of appropriate language, words and sentences.
- Tips for original writing.
- Tips for writing a hook to grab the attention of the reader.
- Basic rules of style, grammar, punctuation and the flow of sentences and words.
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