Jacobs Science Writer Fellowship

Promoting young people’s healthy and productive development is one of the most urgent and complex challenges of our time. The Jacobs Foundation, headquartered in Zurich, has launched the Jacobs Science Writer Fellowship in an effort to raise public awareness of the important research that is taking place in the field of child and youth development and communicate relevant findings to political decision makers.

In 2015 and 2016, four UK and US journalists in each of the fields of science, society and health policy were invited to participate in the Science Writer Fellowship program in Zurich. There they learned more about the work of the winner of the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize and were able to establish contact with top-level research institutions in Switzerland.

Beginning in 2017, the Jacobs Science Writer Fellowship program will be expanded by partnering with journalism schools and universities.



Amy Dockser Marcus
Staff Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
Anne Petersen, PhD
Research Professor, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan – Vorsitzende der Jury
Bruce Shapiro
Executive Director des Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Sarah Ward-Lilley
Head of International Bureaux, BBC News Group

Jacobs Foundation
Alexandra Güntzer
Seefeldquai 17
8034 Zurich


Science Writer Fellows

  • 2016
    Erika Beras

    Independent Journalist, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA)

    Independent Journalist, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA)

    Erika Beras is an award-winning journalist. A radio reporter and producer, she’s a regular contributor to public radio programs and Scientific American podcasts. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker.com and on the BBC as well as a slew of other networks and shows. She has reported from around the United States and from Poland, Mexico, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

    Jessica Hamzelou

    Reporter, New Scientist London (Grossbritannien)

    Reporter, New Scientist
    London (Grossbritannien)

    Jessica Hamzelou is a reporter at New Scientist, a weekly international science magazine. She specialises in biomedicine, covering fertility, genetics, neuroscience and everything in between. In the name of science journalism, Jessica has sequenced her microbiome, taught herself to lucid dream, induced panic attacks, and seen her own eggs on a screen. Jessica has been awarded journalism fellowships by Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She recently received a “30 under 30” award as a “journalist to watch”, and has been shortlisted for awards by the Association of British Science Writers and the Medical Journalists’ Association. Her other achievements include performing at London’s Notting Hill Carnival in the pouring rain, and being a member of the Snooty Fox pub’s champion quiz team.

    David Karas

    Freelance Journalist Newark, Delaware (USA)

    Freelance Journalist
    Newark, Delaware (USA)

    David Karas is a freelance journalist contributing to several publications on a regular basis. He frequently writes for The Christian Science Monitor, and formerly reported from the magazine’s Washington, DC bureau. He has filed reports from six countries, as well as throughout the United States. His career in journalism began at The Times of Trenton, a New Jersey-based daily newspaper, where he covered local government, crime and breaking news. David earned his master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Public Policy and is currently pursuing his PhD in the same field. His area of study focuses on how American cities respond to critical events involving law enforcement.

    Rachel Pugh

    Freelance Journalist Manchester, (Grossbritannien)

    Freelance Journalist
    Manchester, (Grossbritannien)

    Rachel Pugh is multi-award-winning freelance medical journalist based in Manchester with a passion for health and social equality. She writes regularly for The Guardian and has also written for The Independent, the TES and The Telegraph as well as setting up a number of publications for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and for international health companies. Her proudest achievements have resulted from writing about FGM, meningitis C, transgender children, digitisation of health, cervical cancer and initiatives to help young mothers in prison. Alongside her work, she is proud to have combined being a cellist with her love for the mountains (inherited from her Swiss mother), by carrying the instrument to the top of one of the UK’s biggest mountains and giving a mini concert there.

  • 2015
    Kerri L. Smith

    Podcast Editor, Nature Magazine London United Kingdom

    Podcast Editor, Nature Magazine London United Kingdom

    Kerri Smith is a journalist and editor at Nature, where she presents and produces their podcasts. That includes the flagship weekly show, the Nature Podcast and the awardwinning NeuroPod. She also writes news and features for Nature, mostly on neuroscience and biomedicine. Before finding her way to Nature she completed an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London, and before that, a degree in human sciences and an MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford.

    Jack O’Sullivan

    Freelance Journalist Oxford United Kingdom

    Freelance Journalist Oxford United Kingdom
    Profile links

    Jack O’Sullivan is a writer and former Associate Editor of the Independent newspaper in London. He leads a social policy consultancy and recently published ‘Letting Go’ (Reform), setting out the arguments for devolving the UK’s National Health Service. He works with university research departments on a wide range of health and social policy issues. Jack co-founded what is now the Fatherhood Institute, the UK’s leading think tank on fatherhood. He writes regularly for the Guardian. He read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Merton College, Oxford and was subsequently a Harkness Fellow in Public Policy at New York and Yale Universities in the US.

    Meeri N. Kim, PhD

    Freelance Journalist Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States

    Freelance Journalist Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States

    Meeri Kim, PhD is a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia who reports on science and health. She contributes regularly to The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and various other news outlets. In 2013, she received her PhD in physics from the University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on biomedical optics.

    Joanne C. Gerstner

    Freelance Journalist Detroit, MI United States

    Freelance Journalist Detroit, MI United States

    Joanne C. Gerstner is an award-winning multi-platform sports journalist, with her work appearing in the New York Times, USA Today, ESPN.com, Detroit News, Cincinnati Enquirer, PGA Magazine, and other outlets. She was awarded a prestigious KnightWallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan, focusing her studies on sports and concussions during 2012-13. Gerstner, along with co-author/renowned sports neurologist Jeff Kutcher, have completed a book on youth concussions and sports, aimed at coaches, athletes, and parents, for a spring 2016 release.

    Tracy Vence

    The Scientist News Editor New York, NY United States

    The Scientist News Editor New York, NY United States

    Tracy Vence is a New York City-based journalist covering science, health, and environmental topics. Currently News Editor at The Scientist, her freelance work has appeared in various publications. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and a recipient of three international journalism grants and fellowships.