The Nico Colchester Journalism Fellowship

The Nico Colchester fellowships were established in memory of Nico Colchester, who died in 1996 after an outstanding career at the Financial Times, The Economist and The Economist Intelligence Unit. Nico had a passion for writing about European politics, economics, and society – and his sharp, witty, authoritative analysis would have been especially precious today.
About the fellowship

Between the migration crisis, the threat of terrorism, the rise of populism, the eurozone’s economic struggles and a possible UK departure from the EU, the very foundations of European integration are in question. Undoubtedly, Nico would have been able to tell this story like few others in his profession: just consider some of his most famous work, from his creation of a Mars Bar index – “a currency for our time” - to his division of the world, and its politicians, into the “soggy” and the “crunchy”.

So in this momentous year for Europe, here is your chance to emulate one of the finest reporters of his generation, and launch a career in the exciting world of journalism at two of the most global and prestigious news organisations. Below are the details.

What do the prizes involve and who is eligible?

Two awards are on offer: one, for a British or Irish applicant, will consist of a three-month fellowship in continental Europe at The Economist; the other, for an applicant from elsewhere in the European Union, will be in London at the Financial Times, also lasting three months. The fellowships are open only to EU citizens. Both winners will receive a bursary of £6,000 to cover accommodation and travel.

Who are the fellowships suited for?

The fellowship is intended for aspiring or early-career journalists with bold ideas and a lively writing style, each capable of adapting to the excitement and pressures of a modern newsroom. The fellow should have a particular interest and curiosity about European affairs, as the prize aims to help continental writers understand Britain and British writers understand Europe.

What is this year’s subject ?

Will migrants make or break Europe?

How to apply?

Please send a submission on the subject above, together with a CV and covering letter. The submission can be:

  • an unpublished written article, blog post or data-rich essay of max 850 words (pdf or doc)
  • an unpublished 2-minute video (avi or mp4)
  • an unpublished 2-minute podcast (mp3)

Please make sure you submit your work in one of the formats specified. Big files can be sent using a file transfer or file hosting service or by submitting a password-protected link.

Entries should be sent, by the closing date of March 15th 2016, by e-mail to

Please include confirmation of your citizenship such as a scan of your passport photo page.

Successful applicants will be notified by the end of May 2016.

Previous Winners

I had been thinking about academia then decided that wasn't for me. But I wasn't sure what to do instead. The Nico Colchester fellowship kindled my enthusiasm for journalism because I figured out this was something I could do

John Prideaux

US editor, The Economist

John was awarded the Nico Colchester fellowship in 2003, spending three months at the Financial Times in Brussels. After the fellowship, he wrote freelance for The Economist and the New Statesman for some time. Eventually, he became an intern at The Economist, which led to a job covering British politics. He has been there ever since, at the moment as US editor.

The Nico Colchester fellowship actually changed my professional plans. I enjoyed it so much I decided to pursue a career in journalism

Viktoria Dendrinou

Brussels correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

Viktoria was awarded the Nico Colchester fellowship in 2011, spending three months at The Economist in London. Afterwards, she went on to Reuters, starting as an intern, and then moved on to Breakingviews, the commentary side of Reuters, writing mainly about macroeconomics. In the Spring of 2014 she began working for the Wall Street Journal in Brussels and is still here covering EU economic and financial news.

The Nico Colchester fellowship launched my journalism career in a way that I will always be thankful for, giving me a passion for the newsroom, writing and reporting

James Politi

Rome Bureau Chief, Financial Times

James was awarded the Nico Colchester fellowship in 2000, spending three months at the Financial Times in London. He then joined the FT’s graduate trainee scheme, eventually taking up the role of US deals correspondent in New York, covering Wall Street. He later moved to Washington as economics and trade correspondent, and is now Rome Bureau Chief.

The Nico Colchester fellowship award has had a decisive impact on my life, as I had never contemplated working in Brussels or following European politics before starting my internship

Jennifer Rankin

Brussels correspondent, The Guardian

Jennifer was awarded the Nico Colchester fellowship in 2006, spending three months at The Economist in Brussels. After the fellowship, she spent five years as a freelance journalist in Brussels and Moscow, working for the Scotsman, the Irish Times and Reuters. In 2012 she joined The Guardian in London and in 2016 was appointed Brussels correspondent for The Guardian.

See a list of all previous Nico Colchester fellowship award winners