The Dianne Stilwell Bursary

20th February 2017

As a founding member of Stempra, Dianne Stilwell was an integral part of the network that we are today and was previously awarded honorary life membership for her contributions. Since her passing last year, we have been flooded with wonderful, warm stories of her from the membership, with many of those highlighting her commitment to supporting those in junior roles across the industry.

In recognition of Dianne’s work and passion, the Committee is pleased to announce our tribute to her – the Dianne Stilwell Bursary:

The Stempra Press Officer Training Day is aimed at upskilling junior professionals across the industry as well as supporting those who need a refresher. The Bursary itself provides financial support to attendees towards accommodation or travel costs for those who would otherwise be unable to attend

To apply, please get in touch with

Dianne made an immeasurable contribution to our industry in her lifetime – see below just a snapshot of some tributes, particularly around her support for those starting out in their careers, from across our industry.

“I first met Dianne in 1990 at the inaugural meeting of what was to become Stempra. At that time most of the science communication community (which was very small) was scattered across the learned societies and in various parts of the country. The event was chaired by the late and amazing Stephen White – I was sitting about 5 rows behind an extremely lively, knowledgeable and opinionated woman whose hand was continually up to ask questions – no prizes for guessing who she was!
By the end of the meeting I was ‘volunteered’ to be the editor of Stempra’s newsletter and join the committee – along with Dianne, who seemed to know EVERYONE! It was one of those moments in my career that was a game changer. Dianne and Stephen introduced me to loads of science media contacts, the BA (as it was then) and other people just starting out in this emerging field. She was so generous in sharing experience and thoughts. Dianne’s contribution to our profession is more than can be measured – Stempra is what it is today because of her energy, enthusiasm and commitment to sharing knowledge. Her legacy lives on in all of us. For those of us who had the privilege of being her friend and colleague – there is much to remember and to celebrate.”
Linda Capper, British Antarctic Survey

“Dianne has been so generous and supportive to me, literally from day one of my SciCom career… I have never forgotten the first time I met Dianne. It was August 2004 on the way to Stockholm airport. We had both been at ESOF but hadn’t met until we were on our way home. Needless to say we chatted all the way to check-in, where we requested seats together on the plane, and then chatted all the way back to London! And that’s just how she was – open, enthusiastic, generous, humble, and curious…and very, very chatty! At the time, I’d just been awarded an ABSW bursary to do the SciCom masters at Bath and, well, the rest is a history – history with Dianne’s support, humour, advice, and compassion, as a constant.”
Nancy Mendoza, freelance science communicator

“Dianne was much loved and respected within the profession… Many of us benefited over the years from her words of wisdom and friendship. Her encouragement and advice, particularly to young members, set an example to us all and helped to make Stempra such a successful network. She will be greatly missed.”
Bob Ward, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

“She was a wonderful lady who helped my find my career path. She started me in Communications when we worked together at the Institute of Physics, giving up her weekend to help me prepare an interview presentation for my first press role. I think of Dianne every time I am asked for advice by anyone starting in the industry. I owe her a lot and I hope that I am carrying on a small part of her legacy.”
Julie Maddock, Natural Environment Research Council

“Like some others I was lucky enough to have had Dianne as my first boss when I was a Press Officer at the IoP. I have a huge amount to thank her for – she taught this physicist to write (no mean feat for many of us physicists!) and as a result helped me into my current role where I’ve been very happy for over 13 years. Thank you Dianne. Your wise words and red pen are never far from my thoughts when writing and speaking about climate change.”
Alice Larkin, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

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