In the age of information, where news spreads across the world via the internet in a matter of minutes, it’s easy for any press office to claim they have global impact. But for the SMC, international reach has truly become one of the most exciting aspects of our work. The emergence of a network of sister centres based on the UK SMC is rapidly gaining credibility on a worldwide stage, with SMCs now well-established in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and Japan (see below). And as we continue to welcome interest from around the globe, from the US to India, the family looks set to grow.
Clearly there are serious challenges in adapting the unique SMC model to such a wide variety of countries, but the success of the centres that already exist confirms how well the model works. Key to that success is a core commitment to independence, and a freedom from institutional brand or agenda. Each of the SMCs joining the global network has signed up to an SMC Charter underlining these guiding principles, and they have worked hard to earn the trust of journalists and scientists alike. They are able to fulfil the crucial need to inject accurate, evidence-based information into the headlines when science is in the eye of the storm.
This growing network of SMCs, operating independently but in collaboration, is proving invaluable and providing a wealth of opportunities not just for ourselves. Working together we help scientists reach a wider audience and journalists access the best experts of the day, wherever they may be. We are only at the start of this exciting journey and there will be challenges along the way but already we are building up examples of how this collaboration will be good for science and the media around the world.
The Science Media Centre global network has grown rapidly in recent years and interested groups are regularly contacting us about the prospect of setting up an SMC in their country. We enthusiastically welcome these approaches having seen the tremendous benefits in working together, sharing ideas and good practice, and collaborating on briefings , rapid reactions and roundups.
It can take a number of years to get a SMC off the ground, so feel free to contact us early in the process to see what’s involved and check out our SMC Charter for more information on the guiding principles all SMCs sign up to and agree to adhere to, and visit the SMC Global Network website.
If you’d like to find out more about what is involved in setting up and running a Science Media Centre, you can contact us on:
t: +44 (0)20 7611 8300