CIPR teams up with Stempra and BIS to tackle Science Communications challenges

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is today joining forces with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine Public Relations Association (Stempra) at a conference in Whitehall to address issues in science communications.

Earlier in 2014, Chalkstream Communications was commissioned by the BIS and CIPR to research roles in science public relations and to identify the challenges faced in relation to the accurate communication of scientific information.

The study interviewed 90 science communicators, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, and also includes a detailed contextual review.

The research results give a broader understanding of science public relations practice, the settings in which it has to function in the UK and the potential for improving effectiveness.

The biggest internal and external barriers to the delivery of successful communication of science revealed in the research are:

  • the relationship between communicators and scientists
  • insufficient resources
  • changes in the media and publishing landscape.

At today’s sympiosium, over 100 senior leaders from all corners of the science communications community – public, private and charitable – are discussing how the public relations industry can help to address some of the issues highlighted in the research.

Speakers include:

  • Sir John O'Reilly, Director General Knowledge and Innovation, BIS
  • Russell Grossman, Director of Communications, BIS
  • David Shukman, BBC Science Editor
  • Ben Verinder, Chalkstream Communications
  • Dr Andy Williams, Cardiff University
  • Professor Petroc Sumner, Cardiff University
  • Sue Wolstenholme, Past President, CIPR
  • Rob Brown, President-Elect 2015, CIPR
  • Dr Ed Sykes, Stempra
Sue Wolstenholme FCIPR, CIPR Past President
I am very pleased to see the initiative launched when I was CIPR President is delivering results that the public relations profession and the science community can act upon. It is of critical importance to the public understanding of science that we address the problems that face public relations professionals working in this area. This meeting and the outcomes from the research are, I hope, the start of a process of improvement.
Sue Wolstenholme FCIPR, CIPR Past President
Russell Grossman, BIS Communications Director
Professional and effective science communications are fundamental to public understanding, support and uptake of new technologies. I’m delighted that this impressive community, led by BIS, CIPR and Stempra, has been able to get together to identify ways we can do this better.
Russell Grossman, BIS Communications Director
David Shukman, BBC Science Editor
Communicating science in an engaging and accessible way is something which drives me personally and professionally. I’m pleased to support today’s efforts to help ensure the supply of science stories is both accurate and captivating.
David Shukman, BBC Science Editor
Ed Sykes, Chair of Stempra
PR is often considered a dirty word, but people should recognise how it can be a force for good. Stempra is a network of professionals who are passionate about science and how it is communicated. Our members know their work can have a huge impact and they are acutely aware of their responsibilities. We always welcome debate and are keen to find solutions to the many challenges we face, not least of which is having the confidence and support to help steer an organisation's strategy; pushing, guiding and cajoling others into action to ensure that they engage at the right times and in the right ways.
Ed Sykes, Chair of Stempra
Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).