The Science Media Centre has its roots in the influential House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee third report on Science and Society, which wanted to renew public trust in science. Established in 2002, it was originally based in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, until becoming a separate charity in its own right in April 2011. The Centre is now housed in the Wellcome Trust, and believes that scientists can have a huge impact on the way the media cover scientific issues, by engaging more quickly and more effectively with the stories that are influencing public debate and attitudes to science.
The SMC’s philosophy is:
“The media will DO science better when scientists DO the media better.”
To provide, for the benefit of the public and policymakers, accurate and evidence-based information about science and engineering through the media, particularly on controversial and headline news stories when most confusion and misinformation occurs.
- Working with journalists and providing them with information about science and its related disciplines; making it easier for them to get access to the best science and scientists when science stories are making the headlines.
- Working with scientists, engineers and other experts, and supporting them to engage with the media; creating more opportunities for them to get their voices heard on the big science, health and environment stories of the day.
- Supporting press officers when they are working on complex science, health and environment stories.
- In addition, the SMC provides expert advice and evidence on issues relating to science in the media. The Centre often submits evidence to select committee inquiries on science communication in emergencies and public understanding of risk, and in 2011-12 gave both written and oral evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, ethics and practice of the press.
The independence of the Science Media Centre is critical to the work we carry out. We do not have any specific agenda other than to promote the reporting of evidence-based science, and are completely independent in both our governance and funding.
The Science Media Centre’s Annual Report for April 2011-March 2012 can be seen here. You can view our profile on the Charity Commission’s website here.
The Science Media Centre is an independent charity and company limited by guarantee.
Company Registration No. 07560997, England & Wales; Charity Registration No. 1140827.