Strategy development and implementation
The UK government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) carries out £300 million scientific research every year, to help tackle issues such as climate change and sustainable development. Yet it is often the more controversial areas of Defra science that catch the headlines.
Think-Lab have been working with Defra to change that - to develop a three year strategy to build confidence in Defra science by improving the openness of Defra science and raising the profile of the more positive aspects of Defra science.
As part of our work to raise the profile of the great science that Defra funds, we produce a regular magazine about science and sustainability: Elements.
While Defra has a wealth of great science stories, the communications team was finding it very difficult to persuade colleagues to promote them.
Think-Lab developed the 'What's News?' campaign that challenged Defra scientists to make positive headlines out of Defra Science. The campaign aimed to raise the profile of science communication amongst scientists in Defra, demonstrating the benefits to be gained from communication activities and supporting staff to develop key transferable skills.
The campaign culminated in 'The Science' - a one off science magazine, aiming to show off what can be done with Defra science.
Twice as many science news stories than had been found in the previous 12 months were identified in the first week alone.
More than 20 members of staff volunteered to join a 'Science Stringers' network to provide regular information to the communication team about potential science stories.
Scientist on Ice
Defra was keen to raise the profile of climate change research. When we found out that their Chief Scientific Adviser was going to the Antarctic, we seized the opportunity to develop a campaign around the trip.
Central to the campaign was an online Blog, that proved to be the most popular page on the while Defra website during January 2006 and recieved fantastic media coverage.
As well as helping produce a blog of the trip, we sent him off with a video camera and a list of shots that we wanted. We didn't know what we'd get, but the footage he brought back was phenomenal and made prime time TV, leading to countless speaking invitations and considerable print media coverage.
Defra Science Notes (Defra, 2005- )
The Defra Science Notes series of publications was developed by Think-Lab, aiming to provide topical briefings on areas of Defra science for policymakes. They are designed to exist only as PDFs - a very limited number of copies are produced on our colour laser-printer.