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New fellowship to help advance science journalism in Africa and the Middle East

The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT announces a new one-semester fellowship to start in fall 2024.
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Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT
Mohammed Yahia sits on a stage. He's wearing a microphone and speaking to someone out of the frame. An out-of-focus audience is in the background.
Mohammed Yahia (left) was widely admired for his work advancing the status of science journalism in the Middle East and throughout Africa.
Image courtesy of Ola Al-Ghazawy.

The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT has announced a new one-semester fellowship — the Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East — that will start this year.

The fellowship, developed through a generous gift from the global publishing company Springer Nature, was created in honor of the influential Egyptian science journalist Mohammed Yahia, who died last year at the age of 41.

Yahia worked for Springer Nature for over 13 years, primarily as managing editor of the Nature Portfolio in the Middle East, where he built an award-winning team. He was widely admired for his work advancing the status of science journalism both in that region and throughout Africa. He was president of the World Federation of Science Journalists from 2017 to 2019, working also to help build a network of science journalists around the globe.

Springer Nature, the founding sponsor of the fellowship, is well-known for its standing as a publisher of some the most high-profile and respected research journals and magazines in the world. “Mohammed was known for his unwavering commitment to science and his talent for simplifying complex research,” says Stephen Pincock, vice president in Springer Nature’s Solutions Group. “With this fellowship we want to inspire more to follow in his footsteps, as trusted communicators of evidence-based research.”

The first Fellowship for Advancing Science Journalism in Africa and the Middle East will be hosted by the Knight Science Journalism Program this fall and will continue in subsequent fall semesters. Thanks to a generous grant from Springer Nature, the program will offer a $40,000 stipend for the fellowship period from Aug. 16 to Dec. 31. KSJ will also cover the fellow’s health insurance and a $5,000 housing stipend to help with relocation costs.

The Knight Science Journalism Program, established at MIT in 1983, is the world’s leading science journalism fellowship program. More than 400 leading science journalists from six continents have graduated from the full-year academic program, which offers a course of study at MIT, Harvard University, and other leading institutions in the Boston area, as well as specialized training workshops, seminars, and science-focused field trips for all attendees.

“The Knight Science Journalism Program is honored to partner with Springer Nature in honoring Mohammed Yahia and in creating this new fellowship to help support science journalism in this important part of the world,” says KSJ Director Deborah Blum. “We believe strongly in the global nature of both science and the importance of telling its story in the most helpful and insightful way. We believe this new fellowship is an excellent way to advance that mission.”

Fellows supported by this new program will join the regular KSJ class of journalists for the fall semester in a program of study at MIT and other Cambridge/Boston area universities and in the program’s seminars, training workshops, and field trips throughout the semester. They will also have access to such benefits as MIT’s program of subsidized public transportation and access to libraries, museums, and other Boston-area programs, as well as connections to a thriving community of science journalists.

The program will open an applications process for journalists from Africa and the Middle East on Feb. 1 and submissions will be accepted until March 1. All journalists from the region with at least three years of experience in covering science, health, and the environment are encouraged to apply. The selected fellow will be announced by the end of March.

For further questions about the fellowship or the application process, please write to

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