UCL Global


Meet this year’s ABSW Media Fellows

18 August 2023

UCL Global Engagement is supporting two UCL academics to be part of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) Media Fellowship scheme 2023.

Oksana Pyzik and Dr Niall Jeffrey

Previously run by the British Science Association, ABSW media fellowships provide a unique opportunity for practising scientists, clinicians, and engineers to spend two to six weeks working at the heart of a media outlet such as the Guardian, BBC Science Unit or WIRED.

The ABSW Media Fellowships scheme aims to give scientists the confidence to engage with the media; tackle mistrust and misrepresentation; bridge the gap between journalists and scientists; and build understanding between science and society.

Oksana Pyzik and Dr Niall Jeffrey, both of whom collaborate internationally in their work, were selected by UCL Global Engagement and the ABSW to take part in the scheme. They join three other UCL academics on the scheme, supported by UCL Engineering.

Oksana Pyzik

Oksana Pyzik is an educator, global health advisor, pharmacist and lecturer at the UCL School of Pharmacy. She is also a trustee of the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association and the founder of UCL Fight the Fakes, a collaboration hub on substandard and falsified medical products (SFMP). Oksana is a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) SFMP expert working group and has developed education and training materials with the WHO and International Pharmaceutical Federation which have been piloted in Senegal, Cameroon, Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Oksana also works with the Pharmacists’ Defence Association and Pharmacists without Borders to address the severe medicine shortage and growing antimicrobial resistance issue in Ukraine. 

In 2015, Oksana launched the UCL Global Citizenship Programme on pandemic preparedness and she is a regular contributor in the media on global health topics. In 2020, Oksana was named one of Britain’s Top 35 Women under 35 by Accenture for her work in global health. 

Speaking about her thoughts on the media, Oksana said: "Pharmacists are under-represented in the media whereas, doctors' and nurses’ perspectives on topical health issues are widely covered. As a pharmacist working in the media, I hope to normalise pharmacy voices in the media and public platforms. Working with the media is one of the most powerful ways that academics, health care professionals and global health organisations can fight misinformation, bust stereotypes, and provide new role models."

Oksana started working on the science desk at the Guardian in mid-August with her placement running until mid-September. Read the articles Oksana has written to date

Dr Niall Jeffrey

Dr Niall Jeffrey is a cosmologist working in the UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy. To answer questions about the origin and evolution of the Universe, he develops specialised machine learning and statistical techniques.

Niall also holds leadership positions in the Dark Energy Survey, an international project that aims to measure the composition and growth of the Universe to better understand dark matter and dark energy. He is now also working on the European Space Agency's Euclid mission (launched 1 July 2023). In this role, Niall says that "a profound understanding of the media will be essential for impactful public engagement with UK and international audiences." 

Niall will take up a placement with the science desk of the Times in mid-September and says: “As a Media Fellow, I will work to understand the connections between scientists, journalists, and the public. High-quality coverage of science is essential to cut through the hype for important topics and controversial stories."


Oksana Pyzik (left) and Dr Niall Jeffrey (right)