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privacy notice

Introduction

This Privacy Notice sets out how the Science Media Centre uses and protects all personal data you provide us. We are committed to protecting your privacy and we want you to be assured that your data is managed properly by our charity. Any personal data you provide to us will be used lawfully and in accordance with this Privacy Notice.

We respect all personal data you choose to share with us, including that which we may obtain from other sources, and we will ensure it is stored safely and processed fairly and lawfully in accordance with the requirements of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).

We aim to be clear when we collect your data (and throughout your involvement with our charity), about how we intend to use it, and will not do anything with your personal data that you would not reasonably expect as a contact and supporter of our charity and cause.

Developing a good relationship and better understanding of our supporters and contacts through correct and legal use of your personal data helps us to ensure accurate media coverage of science, fundraise more efficiently, and ultimately, reach our short and long-term charitable goals. We aim to track your involvement with our charity and build strong, mutually respectful relationships that last.

We have already made, and will continue to make, improvements to this notice, in order to make it fully understandable to all our supporters and contacts.


What is the Science Media Centre?

The Science Media Centre (SMC) is a UK charity (charity reg. no. 1140827), which believes that scientists can have a huge impact on the way the media covers scientific issues, by engaging more quickly and more effectively with the journalists working on the stories that are influencing public debate and attitudes to science.

The SMC is considered the controller in respect of the personal data that it collects, uses and manages in accordance with this Privacy Notice.  The SMC is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), with registration number: Z2735174.

Our data protection officer (DPO) is the Head of Operations, who can be contacted on dpo@sciencemediacentre.org.


What data do we collect and why?

We have categorised the people that we work with below and have listed what data we hold and why.

Please note that more than one of the categories may apply to you. If you have any questions about which category applies to you, please get in touch.


Scientists:

This category comprises those individuals the SMC has included in its database due to their proven scientific and technical expertise, and their ability to engage with the media. This includes scientists, engineers, experts and other contacts.

The data we collect

We collect the following information from scientists:

  • Name and job title
  • Contact details such as email addresses and telephone numbers
  • Biographical details of your career, or area of expertise
  • Name and contact details of your institution, organisation, or place of work
  • Records of expert responses you have given us about science stories in the news or press briefings you have spoken at
  • Records of email conversations between you and SMC staff

This information may initially be provided by you but may also include any additional publicly available information. As you continue to work with the SMC, your record will be updated to reflect that work.

You can at any time object to the holding or processing of your data.

Purpose and legal basis of our processing

We process your personal data for the purposes outlined below, on the legal basis of our ‘legitimate interests’, as further described below.

We use the personal data that we hold about you to maintain your record on our SMC database, which may include adding keyword search terms reflecting your areas of expertise and special interest, e.g. statins; flooding; genome editing, so that we can contact you about appropriate topics.  We rely on our database to obtain expert comments for science stories in the news media, and to help build a network of scientists interested in improving the quality of science reaching the public through working with the SMC and the wider media. Our legitimate interests for this processing include:

  • meeting our charitable objectives;
  • ensuring we are working with scientists with the most relevant expertise; and
  • development of our service and growth of our charity.

We may add you to a topic-specific mailing list relevant to your area of expertise, which we may use to seek advice, share relevant articles and update you about developing news or policy situations. We might also email or call you to ask for comments on a breaking story, on a study yet to be published or to appear on a press briefing panel, or ask for your thoughts on some of the media coverage within your area of expertise.  This is necessary for our legitimate interests of fostering science media relations and supporting scientists in their engagement with the media.  You can ask to be removed from mailing lists at any time by emailing us.

All the comments you provide us with to be shared with journalists, and are also made publicly available on the SMC website.  This is necessary for our legitimate interests of achieving our charitable goals of promoting the accessibility of accurate and evidence-based information about science to the media for the benefit of the public.

We may pass your details onto other individuals and organisations where appropriate to do so. For example, we may inform the press office of your institution, organisation, or place of work about your interactions with the SMC. This is necessary for our legitimate interests of building strong relations with partner organisations, maintaining accurate and up-to-date data and accessing expert scientists who can provide the best communication of science to the public.

Data Retention

We will only process your personal data for as long as is necessary for the relevant processing purpose and after that period, the data will be deleted.  Usually, we would not retain your data for more than one year after the relationship with you has ended.


Press Contact:

We class press contacts as the journalists, press officers and those working within science communications who frequently work with the SMC.

The data we collect

We collect the following information from press contacts:

  • Name and job title
  • Contact details such as email addresses and telephone numbers
  • Name and contact details of your institution, organisation, or place of work

This information will initially be provided by you but may also include any additional publicly available information.

You can at any time object to the holding or processing of your data.

Purpose and legal basis of our processing

We use the personal data that we hold about you to maintain your record on our SMC database.  We rely on our database to communicate the expert views of our scientists, to remain in communication with the day-to-day workings of the press field, to receive science and news stories, and to receive research output from organisations and institutions. It is essential to the legitimate interests of the SMC that we process your information for these purposes, interactions between the SMC and our press contacts as a core element of the SMC’s charitable objectives, and thus a necessary component of the professional activity of both parties.

We may add you to a topic-specific mailing list relevant to your interests, which we may use to share our work or ask for advice.  This is necessary for our legitimate interest of achieving our charitable goals of promoting the accessibility of accurate and evidence-based information about science to the media for the benefit of the public. You can ask to be removed from mailing lists at any time by emailing us.

We may pass your details onto other individuals and organisations where we have assessed that we have a legitimate interest in doing so, i.e. where this relates to meeting our charitable objectives or the development of our service and growth of our charity.  For example, we may pass your details onto a journalist, press officer or scientist as a necessary component of the professional activity of both parties. We may also pass your details onto members of our global network of Science Media Centres when relevant (e.g. if they are working on a Lancet study and need the contact details for the press office). Whenever we transfer personal data across borders, we will take legally required steps to ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to protect your personal data and to make sure it is treated in accordance with this Privacy Notice.

Data Retention

We will only process your personal data for as long as is necessary for the relevant processing purpose and after that period, the data will be deleted.  Usually, we would not retain your data for more than one year after the relationship with you has ended.


Fundraising Contact:

Purpose and legal basis of our processing

As a charity, the SMC considers that raising funds and building relationships with existing and future funders are legitimate interests of our organisation, thereby providing the legal basis on which we process your personal data. Further, we consider that the proportionate processing of personal data in connection with fundraising is necessary for our charitable aims.  The SMC does not raise funds from the public and only engages in corporate fundraising.  We may reach out to you as a representative of your organisation for your organisation to support our charitable aims.

We class fundraising contacts as the contacts at organisations where their organisation has donated to the SMC in the past three years, or those who we have approached about a donation in the past year, as follows:

  • If your organisation is an existing funder of the SMC, we have a legal obligation to hold your corporate contact data.
  • If your organisation has agreed to donate to the SMC in the past two years, we will hold your corporate contact data as necessary for the purposes of seeking a renewal of funding.
  • If we have newly approached your organisation for funding, we will hold your corporate contact data as necessary to maintain a line of communication between the SMC and its potential funders, as a necessary component of the professional activity of both parties.

We use the information that we hold about you to maintain your record on our SMC funding database.  It is necessary that we maintain these records to assist us in building relationships with funders of the SMC, executing payments and bank transfers, and keeping track of the financial involvement organisations have with the SMC.

We may add you to a topic-specific mailing list relevant to your interests, which we may use to share our work or ask for advice.  This is necessary for the legitimate interest of building relationships with our fundraising contacts and communicating our progress in achieving our charitable goals of promoting accurate and evidence-based information about science for the benefit of the public. You can ask to be removed from mailing lists at any time by emailing us.

Ensuring that the SMC has enough funds to achieve its mission is important, but we also care about fundraising responsibly. The usual SMC approach to a new organisation will be a single email and up to two follow-ups.

The data we collect

We collect the following information from fundraising contacts:

  • Name and job title
  • Name and contact details of your institution, organisation, or place of work
  • Bank and payment details
  • Contact notes relating to your involvement with the SMC
  • Records of email conversations between you and SMC staff
  • SMC mailing lists (topic specific email groups to share our work)

This information will initially be provided by you but may also include any additional publicly available information.

You can at any time object to the holding or processing of your data. We will not pass your data onto anyone else without your consent.

Data Retention

We will only process your personal data for as long as is necessary for the relevant processing purpose and after that period, the data will be deleted.  Usually, we would not retain your data for more than one year after the relationship with you has ended.


Event attendees

We class event attendees as people who have attended our Introduction to the News Media events and other events, including the SMC Christmas Party.

The data we collect

We collect the following information:

  • Name and job title
  • Contact details such as email addresses and telephone numbers
  • Name and contact details of your institution, organisation, or place of work
  • Feedback on the event
  • Dietary requirements
  • Accessibility

This information will be provided by you but may also include any additional publicly available information.

You can at any time object to the holding or processing of your data.

Purpose and legal basis of our processing

We will use this information to create lists of event attendees and to communicate with you about the event. We may also ask you to complete surveys before and after the event, to improve the format of our events and assess the value and impact of our work.  These processing activities are necessary for our legitimate interests of promoting attendance to SMC events and to maintain a fluid interaction between the SMC and our event attendees as a core element of SMC’s charitable objects, including the promotion of accurate and evidence-based information about science for the benefit of the public.

We may pass your details onto other individuals and organisations where we have assessed that we have a legitimate interest in doing so. For example, a list of attendees and their institutions (without contact details) may be provided for our legitimate interests of building relationships between event attendees. Host venues may be provided with attendee lists for our legitimate interest of fulfilling the requirements of event attendees and building relationships between partner organisations.

Data Retention

We will only process your personal data for as long as is necessary for the relevant processing purpose and after that period, the data will be deleted. Usually, we would not retain your data for more than one year after the relationship with you has ended. We may retain anonymised pooled data in a feedback report, after that.


Archived Data

The SMC acknowledges that personal data of individuals are retained within archived information and emails. In view of its charitable objects, the SMC has a legitimate interest in retaining such information for archiving purposes in the public interest, or for scientific or historical research purposes. Examples might be historic versions of the database (kept to track errors) or press releases and scientific papers on all the stories we have worked on since 2002 (for reference purposes).


Your Individual Rights

Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:

  • Request access to your personal data (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
  • Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below).
  • Object to processing of your personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes.
  • Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
  • Request the transfer of your personal information to another party.

If you want to review, verify, correct or request erasure of your personal information, object to the processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please contact the DPO in writing.

You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request for access is clearly unfounded or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with the request in such circumstances.

If you feel your rights have been violated, you can lodge a complaint that is overseen by the Trustees of the SMC. To see our complaints policy or lodge a formal complaint, please email our DPO.  You also have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK supervisory authority for data protection issues.


Security

We are committed to keeping your information secure. We have put suitable physical, electronic, and managerial procedures in place to safeguard and secure the information we collect. If you have any questions about security, please get in touch.


Data Location

Your data may be held and processed in both the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA includes the European Union.


Notification of changes

We will usually keep our records up-to-date proactively as soon as we receive a notification of a change, e.g. email bounceback. But if you would like to update the information we hold, please tell us.


Additional information

If you wish to know more about our data processing, or have any queries regarding the content of this Privacy Notice, then please contact us and we will be happy to explain more.

You can also change your mind at any time about how we contact you, how we process your data, or ask us to stop contacting you altogether by emailing dpo@sciencemediacentre.org

Please note that the Science Media Centre may change this Privacy Notice from time to time by updating this page.

This Privacy Notice was last updated on 24 May 2024.


Additional Privacy Notices

We have separate privacy notices for other groups that we work with, please see below:

Privacy Notice for Staff & Job Applicants SMC 2023_April

Privacy Notice for Governance SMC 2023_May

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