Awards & prizes

InterAction: ESA’s early-career media mentoring program

Applications for this program are currently closed. 

Are you, or do you know, an early-career ecology researcher, practitioner, or consultant with a story to tell? The ESA is looking for the next generation of science communicators keen to share their work. 

As part of the ESA’s ‘InterAction’ media mentoring program, five participants will receive training and mentoring in the skills required to successfully engage with traditional, online, and social media.

Interaction with politicians, media, and the wider public is crucial for promoting the excitement and relevance of ecology for society—and media skills are also highly beneficial for career progression and success of the next generation of ecologists.

The InterAction program will help early-career ecologists promote their work and raise their profile. It will help them write clearly and present their work effectively for diverse audiences. It will also provide an invaluable networking experience.

What you get

The program will provide media training and mentoring, and result in the publication of at least one media release and blog post – resulting in increased skills, confidence and exposure for the successful applicants. 

The participants will be formally announced at ESA18, where they will be enrolled in the Media Skills Workshop delivered by Scientell (note travel to the conference is at the participant’s expense).

Throughout the year, training in traditional, online and social media skills, as well as on presentation skills, will be delivered by Scientell and the ESA’s Online Media Manager, Toni Stevens.

The program will also give participants the chance to meet with working journalists. This year they will each have a one-on-one session with Ann Jones, the producer and presenter of ABC radio’s “Off Track” at the conference.

Ongoing mentoring from Scientell, the Online Media Manager, and members of the ESA’s Media Working Group will also be available.

Participants will be encouraged to contribute actively to social media, write at least one blog post for the ESA website and The Conversation, and Scientell will assist them to write and distribute a media release about their work.


  • The program is open to ESA members working in the field of ecology.
  • Applicants must be within five years of completing a relevant undergraduate or post-graduate qualification or have equivalent industry experience.
  • ESA will select up to five recipients annually.
  • Places in the program will be awarded based on the applicant’s ability to communicate their work in a clear, concise and engaging manner in their application.

How to apply?

Apply via online form hosted on the ESA website.

About Ann Jones

Ann Jones grew up in country Victoria, the youngest of a family of birdwatchers and keen picnickers.

She’s taken the long way round to broadcasting about nature, first completing a PhD in History and bird-watching on the way to the library, then making the career jump and spending years presenting live radio for the ABC throughout regional Australia.

Almost 5 years ago, she took up the role of presenter and producer of Off Track – the ABC’s only permanent natural history offering, and since then has been broadcasting to millions across the ABC, BBC, CBC and Radio Australia.

About Scientell

Scientell is a science, environment and technology communication business. They transform technical information into clear text for non-scientific audiences such as policy-makers and are also experienced at writing for young people. Their services include writing and content development and media releases, feature writing for traditional and new media, social media, media events and launches. Co-founders Paul Holper and Simon Torok both worked in communication for CSRIO before establishing Scientell in 2015.

About Toni Stevens, ESA’s Online Media Manager

Toni is a science communicator with a background in journalism and environmental science. She currently works part-time in communication roles for the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) and the Conservation Ecology Centre on Cape Otway. Prior to joining the ESA Toni worked for 5 years at Science PR firm Science in Public where she oversaw the development and implementation of communication activities for scientists, delivered media & communication training for scientists around the country, and co-ordinated the Fresh Science competition.

About the ESA’s Media Working Group

The Media Working Group objectives are:

  • To implement our media strategy in order to boost the media profile of the ESA, and more broadly, promote ecological knowledge and awareness in Australia
  • Promote key ESA initiatives and publications (i.e. Austral Ecology, Ecological Management and Restoration, ESA Hot Topics and The ESA Bulletin), which will include working closely with other relevant working groups and the science communication research chapter
  • Demonstrate the relevance of research by ESA members for helping to inform environmental management and policy.

Current members have significant experience communicating ecology in both new and traditional media. They are Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes, Sarah Bekessy, Jenny Marin and Bek Christensen.