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A prize for standing up for science

Campaign group Sense about Science and journal Nature plan to award a £2,000 prize to an individual who has stood firm in the face of anti-science hostility.

The John Maddox Prize for Standing Up For Science will honour any type of public activity, including writing or speaking in the following three areas: addressing misleading information about scientific or medical issues in any forum; bringing sound evidence to bear in a public or policy debate, and helping people to make sense of a complex scientific issue. Nominations are particularly welcome for those at an early stage in their career.

The prize is named after John Maddox, editor of Nature for 22 years until he retired in 1996, and trustee of Sense About Sense until his death in 2009. During his time as editor, Maddox was a vocal and influential proponent of better evidence in public policy. In the early 1990s, he led a campaign against The Sunday Times’ coverage of the emerging AIDS crisis. The newspaper, under editor Andrew Neil (now a BBC politics presenter), provided considerable space for the view that HIV does not cause AIDS.

The deadline for applications is 20 August. Nominations will be judged by Philip Campbell, editor of Nature, Tracey Brown from Sense about Science, Colin Blakemore, former chief executive of the Medical Research Council, and Maddox’s widow the writer and biographer Brenda Maddox.