select search filters
briefings
roundups & rapid reactions
before the headlines
Fiona fox's blog

a pilot SMC for Ireland

The Pilot All-Ireland Science Media Centre is a one-year project launched by the UK SMC in collaboration with Irish charity Airfield Estate, to assess whether a Science Media Centre would be a valuable addition to the science and media landscape in Ireland. 

The pilot’s activities are limited to two of the core SMC services delivered right to journalists’ inboxes: Rapid Reactions — comments by expert scientists to breaking news related to their fields of study — and Roundups — 3rd party comments on new scientific findings.

The Senior Press Manager appointed to run the pilot, Adam Murphy, is developing press lists composed of Irish and Northern Irish journalists who receive these comments and can utilise the SMC as a resource to quickly reach scientists with relevant expertise to their story.

Adam has established an expert database populated by a broad range of scientific experts from across Ireland and Northern Ireland — so far nearly 150 scientists have signed up to be contacted for comment on the major news stories of the day with a science angle. This database is continuing to grow with the help of press officers from across Ireland’s universities and research institutes. 

 

For more information or to get on SMC Ireland press lists, please contact Adam Murphy at:

adam@sciencemediacentre.org

 

The pilot is being carried out as part of the development of the global network of SMCs, and will serve as a feasibility project to explore the potential to establish an “All-Ireland” SMC.

See the consultation report here.

 

 

funders

 

 

press release

Ireland Science Media Centre pilot to be launched

Centre aims to tackle misinformation & enhance public understanding of science 

Dublin, [24.06.24] – Airfield Estate, Dublin’s sustainable food hub and farm, is set to host a pilot all-Ireland Science Media Centre (SMC). The global SMC network and Airfield Estate are collaborating on this pioneering initiative which aims to combat misinformation in news media and foster a deeper public understanding of science.

 

Opening this week, the SMC will operate as a pilot for a year testing whether an SMC in Ireland could act as vital resource for Irish journalists. The pilot will proactively offer access to commentary from top quality scientists and to accurate scientific data on topical issues such as climate change, food production, and vaccines. 

 

Fiona Fox, Chief Executive of SMC UK, highlighted the necessity of such a centre in Ireland, stating, “Our experience in the Science Media Centre (SMC) UK and in SMCs around the world underscores the importance of scientists engaging in media to improve science reporting. Misinformation is on the rise, and in a world saturated with soundbites and clickbait, it’s crucial to support accurate reporting and empower the public and policy makers to discern trusted sources”. 

 

Claire Mac Evilly, CEO of Airfield Estate, emphasised the significance of Airfield’s involvement, stating, “Our ambition is to be Dublin’s sustainable food hub and education is a cornerstone of this strategy. Hosting Science Media Centre Ireland aligns perfectly with our mission to inform the public through fact-based science and by setting a positive example. We’re excited to be at the forefront of this vital initiative, providing invaluable support to journalists and policy makers. The SMC will be a one stop shop connecting them with top scientific experts from all over the island and in doing so, the SMC is fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights.” 

 

The objectives of Science Media Centre Ireland include:

  1. Tackling misinformation
  2. Enhancing public understanding of science
  3. Championing higher standards in science reporting and communication
  4. Improving science literacy in news media and the wider public
  5. Providing policymakers with evidence-based information on topical controversies through the news media 

 

This pilot centre, modelled after the successful SMC established in London in 2002, will operate as a multi-funded initiative, ensuring independence through contributions from various sectors, including universities, science-based companies, science funders and research institutes (see notes to editor for full list of funders). Airfield Estate will manage donations through a restricted fund and a dedicated senior press officer has been recruited to manage the centre. 

 

Over 90 individuals from media, science and research agencies, universities, government departments, state agencies and policy makers were consulted on the adoption of a pilot SMC for the island of Ireland. There was widespread support for running a one year pilot to test whether an SMC would be a useful addition to the science/media landscape.

 

Prof Mark Lawler, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Digital Health, Queen’s University Belfast commented; “An all-Ireland Science Media Centre (SMC) would be extremely timely, particularly given recent publicly funded initiatives such as the Shared Island Unit, the Higher Education Authority’s North South Research Programme and the All-Island Cancer Research Institute. An all-Ireland SMC would provide an opportunity to discuss and debate key areas of science and research that have societal impact.”

 

Triona McCormack, Director of Research, University College Dublin added; “There has never been a more important time for science and researchers to participate in the debate around our society’s future and participating in mainstream media is a great way to do this. It’s important that we bring our knowledge and expertise to the debate.”

 

For further information on the SMC all-Ireland pilot, please contact Adam Murphy, SMC Ireland Senior Press Manager: adam@sciencemediacentre.org