Nationwide callout for Top 5 media residency program begins

17 Apr 2019
ABC top 5

Are you an emerging scholar in science or the humanities with a passion for communicating your work to a wider audience? The ABC has opened applications for its popular media residency scheme.

The ABC in partnership with UNSW Sydney and the University of Sydney is seeking dynamic early-career researchers with a passion for communicating their work and expertise to a wide audience. Applications are now open for the 2019 Top 5 media residencies for emerging scholars across science and the humanities.

Top 5 recipients receive an intensive two-week residency at ABC Radio National (RN) in Sydney, working alongside some of Australia’s best journalists and broadcasters in learning the craft of communicating and developing content across radio, television and online. The popular program, now in its fifth year, will enable Australia’s next generation of scholars to share their knowledge and expertise with audiences hungry for credible and informed debate.

Richard Buckham, ABC Head of Specialist Content, said, “Over the past five years the ABC has been proud to offer opportunities to some of the nation’s best emerging talent in science and the humanities through the Top 5 program. This year, we’re again looking forward to welcoming more of Australia’s brightest minds and newest voices to work with our content teams on sharing their knowledge and discoveries with the ABC’s audience.”

Professor Emma Johnston, UNSW Sydney Dean of Science and Top 5 ambassador, said: “Scientists are increasingly stepping up and speaking out and it is to the benefit of all that we do so. We are pleased to partner with the ABC in giving a voice to Australia’s talented early-career researchers.”

Professor Duncan Ivison, University of Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Top 5 Ambassador, said, “The response to our partnership with the ABC for last year’s Top 5 in Humanities was amazing, resulting in high-quality content being developed across multiple ABC programs. We are delighted to be working with the ABC again to support terrific researchers.”

The Top 5 program was launched for Australian science scholars in 2015 and expanded to the humanities, arts and social sciences in 2018. Previous Top 5 recipients have featured in popular ABC programs across television, radio and podcasts, including Sciencey, Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line, Catalyst, The Drum, The Minefield, Dear Science and Cosmic Vertigo.

To apply for the 2019 Top 5 media residency program, go to:

Key dates and FAQs

Applications opened: Wednesday 27 March 2019, 9am AEST.

Applications close: Wednesday 1 May 2019, midnight AEST.

How many Top 5 intakes will there be in 2019? There will be two Top 5 categories in 2019.

1. Science: Five PhD-qualified early-career researchers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and media research (STEMM). The two-week media residency will be hosted by the ABC in Sydney from 15 to 26 July 2019.

2. Humanities: Five PhD-qualified early-career researchers in the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS). The two-week media residency will be hosted by the ABC in Sydney from 23 September to 4 October 2019.

Who can apply? Top 5 is open to early-career researchers with a PhD working in Australian universities and research organisations across STEMM and HASS disciplines. See the Top 5 website for full entry criteria and details on the judging panel and ambassadors.

If I am shortlisted, how will the interviews be conducted? Up to 10 applicants will be shortlisted in each category and interviewed for each intake by a judging panel via Skype.

Will support be provided for Top 5 recipients who live outside Sydney? Yes. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered for recipients based outside Sydney for the two-week residencies at the ABC.

Have previous Top 5 recipients gone on to feature in the media? Yes. Many Top 5 recipients have since featured in the media and on ABC programs across television, radio and podcasts, including:

  • Photonics researcher Dr Niraj Lal has presented episodes of ABC short-form iView & YouTube series Sciencey and was “guest physicist” on Todd Sampson’s Life on the Line.
  • Inaugural Humanities researcher Heidi Norman has appeared on ABC TV’s The Drum discussing changes to Australian place names and memorials, and how we should talk about Australia’s Indigenous history.
  • Inaugural Humanities researcher Dr Ben Moffitt has discussed populism with Waleed Aly on RN’s The Minefield.
  • Mathematician Dr Sophie Calabretto has appeared on Catalyst and The Science Show.
  • Two recipients in 2015 have co-presented ABC podcasts: Dr Alice Williamson (Dear Science) and Dr Amanda Bauer (Cosmic Vertigo).
  • Inaugural Humanities researcher Dr Liz Allen has been sought out and provided guidance on government population policies.