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 Collection, 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 Reports can be found on this page. You can view our profile on the Charity Commission’s website here.
The UK SMC has played a key role in the creation of other SMCs around the world. Each SMC works mainly with the national news media and scientists in their respective countries, but the communication and cooperation of the SMC network means that our reach is global when UK science hits the world news.
Current members signed up to the SMC Charter are:
The UK 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 SMC 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. Fiona Fox leads a team of 8 who help to ensure that the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines. The UK SMC holds press briefings and issues comments from third party experts on scientific studies or breaking news stories.
Science Media Center Germany was legally founded in June 2015 and started its service for journalists in April 2016. It aims to provide journalists in the mass media with reliable,
accurate, state-of- the-art scientific knowledge in order to promote responsible, independent reporting on important areas of science. The German SMC issues comments from scientists on scientific studies and other breaking news, delivers fact sheets and holds press briefings. Its staff consists of an editorial department of six, under the leadership of Volker Stollorz, two data specialists in the SMC Lab, one CFO for business management and fundraising and one team assistant. The two shareholders of the non-profit limited company SMC Germany are the Klaus Tschira Foundation and the German Association of Science Journalists (WPK). WPK has been supportive of the SMC from the first idea and now shares the same office in Cologne to form a “powerhouse” for science journalism.
The Science Media Centre is an independent charity and company limited by guarantee.
Company Registration No. 07560997, England & Wales; Charity Registration No. 1140827.