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SciDev.Net SciDev.Net

The Development Network Network The Science Science and and Development Annual Review 2005

The world’s leading electronic source of free news, views and analysis about science and technology in the developing world

The Science and Development Network About SciDev.Net

2005 achievements • 50% increase in the number of registered users • Increase in proportion of readers from developing countries, to 60% • New dossiers on research and development policy, and malaria • New quick guides on nanotechnology and technology transfer • 20% increase in news coverage • 60% increase in the number of freelance journalists • Launch of a regional network in China • Development of a Chinese-language portal • Running of a malaria-reporting workshop in Yaoundé, Cameroon • Fast-response news specials on the Asian tsunami and bird flu • Coverage of the Commission for Africa • Quicker website access to news, opinion and features

The Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net) is the world’s leading electronic source of free news, views and analysis about science and technology in the developing world. Formed as a non-profit organisation in 2001, it is committed to enhancing communication about how science and technology can help meet the needs of the developing world.

Distribution of Registrants 31 December 2005

Latin America Europe Sub-Saharan Africa North America South Asia China South-East Asia Oceania Middle East and North Africa

SciDev.Net’s main activity is running a free-access news and policy orientated website ( In addition, the organisation runs workshops and builds regional networks of individuals and institutions committed to improving science communication. Through these activities, the organisation seeks to assist researchers, policymakers and civil society in exploring how science and technology can help reduce poverty, improve health and raise living standards.

21% 19% 16% 16% 12% 7% 4% 3% 2%

Profession of Registrants 25%

SciDev.Net is committed to: • Editorial independence • Free access • Constructive dialogue on science- and technology-related issues • Efficient use of other data and information sources This review covers SciDev.Net’s activities between January 2005 and December 2005.

15% 10% 5% 0%

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Visitors to the website can register to receive our free weekly email update, and can choose to receive information on subjects of interest. By the end of December 2005 SciDev.Net had more than 20,000 registered users, compared with just under 14,000 a year before.


“As a biomedical researcher and bioethicist, I much appreciate being included in your list and take advantage of receiving updated and useful information.” Fernando J Andrade-Narváez, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico

“Thanks for improving the speed of the website – this will make the service even more wonderfully helpful across Africa! What a great service – we really appreciate it.” Phoebe Barnard, Global Change Research Group, South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa

Free email update To receive weekly email updates in Chinese, English, French or Spanish, register for free at

Registered Users 21000





Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 2005

The Science and Development Network From the director Two on-going stories over the past year have dramatically highlighted the need for better communication on issues that relate to science in the developing world. The first has been the aftermath of the tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in coastal communities around the Indian Ocean in December 2005. Many of those lives could have been spared by better early warning systems and faster, more involved media, both of which would have sped up the communication of warnings from scientists who detected the initial earthquake. Equally concerning – although so far less disastrous in terms of lives lost – has been the spread of avian influenza, or ‘bird flu’. Here, the warnings spread rapidly. The challenge to journalists and other science communicators has been to put the threat into an appropriate scientific perspective, and to encourage individuals, communities and governments into action without over-reacting. Both issues were covered extensively by SciDev.Net. We have been gratified by the growing number of individuals who say they turn to us for timely and reliable information on these and other developments. Indeed, having gone through a successful three-year launch phase, 2005 represented the beginning of a phase of consolidation during which we began to focus on strengthening what we do. Our activities continue to expand, even as we consolidate. In addition to our coverage of the tsunami and bird flu, 2005 saw a significant increase in our news coverage. We also created two new dossiers, launched a regional network in China and held a workshop on malaria reporting in Africa, to name just a few of our activities. Once again I would like to thank the SciDev.Net staff, regional coordinators, contributors, consultants, advisors, trustees and donors who have made this possible. Also the growing number of visitors to our website, who continue to express and demonstrate their support for what we do. The need for more consolidation remains. Our goal is to establish a firm base on which to grow in the years ahead, as we support efforts to get science to all aspects of development. We look forward to the continued support of those involved in our network in helping to achieve this objective. David Dickson Director, SciDev.Net

Free email update To receive weekly email updates in Chinese, English, French or Spanish, register for free at

The SciDev.Net team Office staff, London David Dickson Director Ken Blake* Web production editor Catherine Brahic Senior correspondent Kirsty Cockburn** Managing editor Barbara Keating** Project coordinator Karen Levin Operations manager Juliette Maughan* Administrative assistant Sarah McDowell** Administrative assistant Mike Shanahan News editor Priya Shetty** Staff editor Jemima Tonks* Marketing manager Sharon Worrell Website support technician * Joined during the year ** Left during the year

Regional coordinators and consultants Luisa Massarani Latin America coordinator Lisbeth Fog Latin America consultant Paula Leighton Latin America consultant Christina Scott Southern Africa consultant Liz Ng’ang’a Sub-Saharan Africa consultant TV Padma South Asia coordinator Sridevi Sunderarajan South Asia Consultant Jia Hepeng China coordinator Dossier coordinators Belinda Clarke GM crops advisor Julie Clayton HIV/AIDS and malaria Eva Dantas Research and development policy and technology transfer Dominic Glover GM crops Ehsan Masood Biodiversity Johanna Wolf Climate change Rachel Wynberg Indigenous knowledge and intellectual property

Annual Review 2005 The world’s leading electron REGIONAL ACTIVITIES Since its launch, SciDev.Net has been keen to ensure that its activities directly reflect the needs of developing countries. This has been done partly by increasing the number of freelance journalists within such countries, but also by creating regional networks of individuals and organisations.


Jia Hepeng, China coordinator

June 2005 saw the launch of a Chinese regional network and the appointment of its coordinator, Jia Hepeng. At the same time a Chinese language version of the China gateway was developed. The amount of Chinese language news is steadily increasing, and several dossiers have been translated into Chinese. By the end of December 2005, more than 1,000 people in China had signed up for the weekly email alert, available in Chinese and English, and SciDev.Net was in the process of building up its network through

collaboration with the Chinese Association of Science and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In addition, funding was secured from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the British Council and the British Embassy in Beijing for a science communication workshop in Beijing in March 2006, open to science journalists not only from China but also other countries in the region, including Mongolia and North Korea.


Luisa Massarani, Latin America coordinator

Science communication is thriving in Latin America, and our regional network has continued to grow, with large increases in the number of visitors to the website, of registered users, and of science journalists and researchers contributing articles to the website.

Paula Leighton, Latin America consultant

Paula Leighton, a freelance science journalist based in Chile, was contracted as a consultant to support the regional coordinator, Luisa Massarani, focusing in particular on assisting with marketing and news dissemination. Capacity building in the region has been supported through active support for, and participation in, several science journalism and communication workshops. Organised jointly with organisations sharing similar goals, these were held in Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela.

A Spanish version of our guide to science communication was printed with the support of the Polar Foundation. One focus of regional activity in 2006 will be on increasing activity in the Caribbean. Provisional plans have been made for workshops in Cuba, Guatemala and Jamaica.

“SciDev.Net is, without question, an important contribution for the ethical development of science, not just in Latin America, but around the world.” José Antero do Nascimento Sobrinho, specialist in bioethics, Brazilian Society of Head and Neck Surgery

onic source of free news, views and analysis about SOUTH ASIA

TV Padma, South Asia coordinator

Sridevi Sunderarajan, South Asia consultant

Since the launch of the South Asia network in November 2004, its coordinator, TV Padma, has provided a steady stream of news stories, and developed a strong network of contributing journalists across the region.

The regional consultant, Sridevi Sunderarajan, ensures that the profile of SciDev.Net continues to grow throughout South Asia. As a result of the joint efforts of Padma and Sridevi, there were nearly 2,500 registered members of the network in the region at the end of 2005.

As a result, news coverage of South Asia increased significantly during 2005, much of this focused on research, policy changes and other developments in the aftermath of the tsunami.

We are seeking to build on these activities in 2006. Provisional plans include a science communication workshop and producing training material for science journalists in the region.


Christina Scott, Southern Africa consultant

Increasing the impact of SciDev.Net in sub-Saharan Africa remains a major challenge. Limited internet access, for example, represents a major barrier for network development. Despite this, considerable progress has been made, particularly in building good relations with African institutions that share SciDev.Net’s objectives. Liz N’gan’ga, sub-Saharan Africa consultant, with Osita Ogbu, executive director, African Technology Policy Studies Network presents the African newsletter to Kilemi Mwiria, Kenya’s assistant minister for education, science and technology

Our profile has increased significantly in the region, particularly in East Africa as a result of the work of our regional consultant, Liz Ng’ang’a. In December, Liz gave a well received talk at the 20th anniversary celebration of the African Academy of Sciences in Nairobi, Kenya and our coverage of African issues has expanded considerably on the website. In Southern Africa, journalist Christina Scott is building connections with media outlets and increasing the amount of SciDev.Net articles they reproduce.

The latest issue of our African newsletter focused on science and technology within universities and the crucial role education has to play in realising socio-economic change in sub-Saharan Africa. Participants at the malaria This was distributed across the region and a copy reporting workshop in Cameroon interview a researcher from the was presented to Kilemi Mwiria, Kenya’s assistant University of Yaoundé minister for education, science and technology,

on Science Renaissance Day in June. One of the highlights of our work in Africa was a five-day workshop ‘Reporting on the science of malaria’, aimed at French-speaking journalists in West Africa, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon at the beginning of November 2005. Over 100 applications were received for the workshop, from which 18 participants were selected from seven West African countries. The workshop was delivered primarily in French, and led by SciDev.Net staff and consultants, and trainers from Cameroon Radio Television. Participants then put their training into practice at the 4th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Pan-African Malaria Conference, an event that immediately followed the workshop, by reporting for their newspapers and radio stations, and also for SciDev.Net. The participants now keep in regular contact through email.

“Thank you for the article from SciDev. Net. It is interesting as we are currently drafting a paper on science and technology policy for Kenya. It will serve as a good input into the process.” Eric M Aligula, senior policy analyst, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis

science and technology in the developing world Key topics SciDev.Net brings together its articles on key topics into special dossiers, quick guides, and news focuses. These form the intellectual core of the SciDev.Net website, and include indepth information on major policy-related issues — ideal for policymakers and non-specialists who want to improve their knowledge of a subject and follow the latest developments. Two new dossiers were produced in 2005, one on research and development and one on malaria. During the year, the website featured news focuses – collections of articles on hot news topics – on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and on bird flu. SciDev.Net also produced new ‘quick guides’ on nanotechnology and technology transfer, and ‘spotlights’ on climate change in China and Brazil. SciDev.Net’s coverage of bird flu was one of the most popular features of the website in 2005

Building science communication skills SciDev.Net views the effective communication of information about science and technology as an essential component of social and economic development. Our e-guide to science communication is a ‘one-stop shop’ for journalists and scientists wishing to improve their communication skills. It features original articles and guidance, and links to the best material elsewhere. An additional ‘How do I?’ section offers practical advice on how to engage directly or indirectly in the communication of science. The organisation strives to improve science communication by holding capacity-building workshops in developing countries for scientists and journalists. The demand for such workshops is steadily increasing, as detailed on the preceding pages.

Other meetings During 2005, the director and other staff described the work or SciDev.Net through presentations to international audiences. These included:

• InterAcademy Council, Amsterdam, Netherlands January 2005 • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington DC, United States February 2005

• Arab Association of Science Journalists, Cairo, Egypt May 2005 • International Network on Public Communication of Science and Technology Working Symposium, Beijing, China June 2005

• ‘Science for development and science journalism’, Topics of focus on the site now include:

• Agri-biotech • Biodiversity • Bird flu • Brain drain • Climate change • Ethics of research • Genomics • HIV/AIDS • Indigenous knowledge

• Intellectual property rights

• Malaria • Nanotechnology • Research and development policy

• Science publishing • Technology transfer • Tsunami

“Here is a treat for the future scientists of developing countries. This website [SciDev.Net] features everything you need to know in the form of scientific news, feature stories, editorials, book reviews and even letters to the editor. So if you feel strongly about an issue, do not hesitate to write a few lines here.” Dawn Newspaper – Internet Edition, Pakistan

Free email update To receive weekly email updates in Chinese, English, French or Spanish, register for free at

Caracas, Venezuela October 2005

• ‘Communicating science to build citizenship’, Bogota/Cartagena, Columbia November 2005

• International Federation of Environment Journalists meeting, New Delhi, India November 2005

• ‘Hi-tech and its impact on journalism’ – Chinese Society of Science and Technology Journalism, Beijing, China November 2005 • African Academies of Science, 20th anniversary meeting, Nairobi, Kenya December 2005

• Annual General Meeting of the Consultative Group on

International Agricultural Research, Marrakech, Morocco December 2005 Geoff Oldham, SciDev.Net’s chair (far left) and other participants at a workshop in Beijing in June 2005

Annual Review 2005 More news, more journalists, more countries

SciDev.Net’s exclusive agreement with the world’s top two scientific journals — Science and Nature — means that visitors to the site can access the full text of featured articles and research papers that would otherwise be unavailable to non-subscribers. In 2005 we provided more than 100 links to articles in each of the journals.

Daily news coverage is at the heart of the SciDev.Net website. By the end of 2005, the number of articles published online had reached an average of 60 a month.

Average number of news stories by freelancers from each region per month 2005

10 8 6 4 2 0

Latin America


Middle East

South Asia

SciDev.Net saw an increase in free reprinting of its material in news outlets and websites around the developing world such as: the Jornal da Ciência, Brazil; The Hindu, India; China Info, China; Scientific Research Council, Jamaica; and the National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka. All SciDev.Net website material can be reproduced at no cost by other media outlets providing that the source and author are credited.

12 Second half 2004

Spreading the word

SE Asia


Most of SciDev.Net’s news is written by freelance journalists from 39 countries in the developing world. In 2005, the number of contributors increased from 77 to 123.

The latest news posted on the website can also appear instantly on other websites through a free newsfeed service, which over 50 organisations now use. In 2005, we launched a set of regionally tailored newsfeeds to allow users to focus on news relating to a particular part of the developing world. Each newsfeed — whether global or regional — carries the three latest news stories, including a headline, introductory sentence and link to the full article. The African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology website displaying SciDev.Net’s global newsfeed

Geographical spread of SciDev.Net freelancers

“I was so happy after my story on the link between mother’s malaria and child’s HIV was published as I got a little ‘shaky’ on doing a good job. It was my first article and it really encouraged me to write more.” Bennen Buma Gana, freelance journalist, Cameroon

In 2005 SciDev.Net also increased the number of feature and opinion articles, as well as editorials, it published. Highlights included a survey of Africa’s science needs by John Mugabe, secretary of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s science and technology commission, and a broad-ranging review of open access opportunities in developing countries.

In 2005, we also introduced Really Simple Syndication (RSS), which enables instantaneous delivery of SciDev.Net news stories to a personal computer as soon as they are published. This service is particularly useful for busy researchers or news editors. 2006 will see the introduction of Spanish and Chinese language versions of the news and RSS feeds.

“Your website has really been a great boon to me. My job requires me to collect and give information about environmental issues. To get complete information on a topic before, I had to browse through many websites. But now I solely depend on SciDev.Net to satisfy my needs. It gives full detailed reports on what is happening in the world of science. More importantly, I find the language simple and effective.” Sonam Dorji, communications officer, Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Bhutan

Summary of financial activities Income and expenditure

Incoming resources Donations, legacies and similar incoming resources Bank interest

2005 £

2004 £

746,217 3,135

654,544 3,375

Total incoming resources



Resources expended Charitable expenditure: Cost of generating funds 16,316 Costs of activities in furtherance of the objects of the charity 703,110 Governance costs 15,196

6,320 596,404 19,432

Total resources expended



Net Income for the period Fund balances brought forward at 1 January 2005

14,730 122,350

35,763 86,587

Fund balances carried forward at 31 December 2005



Summary balance sheet at 31 December 2005


£ FIXED ASSETS Tangible assets CURRENT ASSETS Debtors Cash at bank and in hand CREDITORS: amounts falling due within one year







44,379 92,326

36,656 73,926











FUNDS Unrestricted funds: General funds 66,679 61,741 Designated funds 70,401 60,609 137,080




TRUSTEES’ STATEMENT These summarised accounts have been extracted from the full annual financial statements (prepared in accordance with the Companies Act 1985), which were approved by the Board of Trustees on 8 May 2006 and signed on their behalf by the Chair (Geoff Oldham) and the Treasurer (Anne Whyte). The full annual financial statements have been audited by Gotham Erskine, Chartered Accountants and Registered Auditors, and the auditors’ opinion was unqualified. The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the provision of part VII of the Companies Act 1985 relating to small companies and the Financial Reporting Standard for Small Entities (effective June 2002). The full annual report and financial statements have been submitted to the Charity Commission (and Registrar of Companies). These summarised accounts may not contain sufficient information to allow for a full understanding of the affairs of the Charity. For further information the full financial statements, the auditors report on those financial statements and the Trustees’ annual report should be consulted. Copies of these may be obtained from the Secretary at 97-99 Dean Street, London, United Kingdom W1D 3TE.

“The Science and Development Network provides well-written, insightful and informative news stories highlighting scientific studies of particular importance for developing countries. These news stories always provide a balanced view and attempts are made to obtain comments from a broad variety of sources. Besides being useful for researchers and politicians in developing countries, the Science and Development Network appeals to researchers everywhere that are interested in a wide range of scientific disciplines.” Lars Østergaard, project leader, Department of Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre, United Kingdom

Funding SciDev.Net is grateful to the following donors:

Department for International Development, London, United Kingdom

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Stockholm, Sweden

International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada The Rockefeller Foundation, New York, USA

Supporters Trustees Fred Binka, associate professor, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Ghana Angela Cropper, president, The Cropper Foundation, Trinidad and Tobago* Philip Campbell, editor, Nature, United Kingdom Nalaka Gunawardene, director and chief executive officer, TVE Asia Pacific, Sri Lanka* Mohamed Hassan, executive director, Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy Donald Kennedy, editor, Science, United States Lydia Makhuba, vice-chancellor, University of Swaziland, Swaziland** RA Mashelkar, director, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India Sunita Narain, director, Centre for Science and Environment, India** Geoffrey Oldham (chair), former director, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, United Kingdom Abel Packer, director, Latin American and Caribbean Centre on Health Science Information, Brazil** Louk de la Rive Box, professor of international cooperation, Maastricht University, The Netherlands** Luc Soete, director, United Nations University – Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT), Netherlands* Hebe Vessuri, head, Department of Science Studies, Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research, Venezuela Anne Whyte, president, Mestor Associates, Canada Lan Xue, director, Development Research Academy Institute for the 21st Century, Tsinghua University, China * appointed during 2005 ** retired June 2005

Contacting SciDev.Net SciDev.Net, 97/99 Dean Street, London W1D 3TE Tel: +44 (0) 20 7292 9910 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7292 9929 Email: The Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net) is a not-for-profit company — known as a company ‘limited by guarantee’ — registered in England and Wales (no. 4218234). Registered charity number 1089590. Picture Credits Front cover: © EC/ECHO/South Asia Office; IRD/A. Rival; SciDev.Net/C.Brahic; SciDev.Net/C.Brahic; USDA/S. Bauer. Inside pages: FAO/A. Ariadi.

SciDev.Net Annual Review 2005  
SciDev.Net Annual Review 2005  

SciDev.Net annual review of activities and achievements 2005