Science Media Centre

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Science Media Centre
Abbreviation SMC
Formation 2000
Legal status Non-profit organization
Purpose Science and society in the UK
Region served
60 science organisations
Fiona Fox[1][2]

The Science Media Centre is an organisation which formed in 2002[3], two years after the United Kingdom House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology's third report on "Science and Society" in 2000.[4][not in citation given]

This report stated that while science was generally reported accurately in the mass media, there was a need for the promotion of more expert information at times when science is under attack in the headlines, mentioning the public reaction to GM crops, in particular.


In order to promote more informed science in the media, the Centre's main function is as a service to journalists, providing background briefings on current scientific issues and facilitating interviews with scientists. Its director is Fiona Fox who is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a former contributor to its magazine Living Marxism. [5]


The SMC's stated aim is to "facilitate more scientists to engage with the media, in the hope that the public will have improved access to accurate, evidence-based scientific information about the stories of the day".


The setting up of the Science Media Centre was assisted by Susan Greenfield, the director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. While the Centre is still based in a specially refurbished wing of the Royal Institution, full independence is claimed from all funders and supporters.

The Science Media Centre is funded by over 60 organisations, with individual donations capped at £12,500 per annum. The SMC receives sponsorship from a range of funders including media organisations, universities, scientific and learned societies, the UK Research Councils, government bodies, Quangos, charities, private donors and corporate bodies. For an up-to-date list of funders, see [1].


A 2013 article in Nature stated about the SMC, Perhaps the biggest criticism of Fox and the SMC is that they push science too aggressively — acting more as a PR agency than as a source of accurate science information.[6]

In 2002, The Guardian referred to the SMC as a lobby group.[7]

Other SMCs[edit]

During Professor Greenfield's term as Thinker in Residence in South Australia, a new Australian Science Media Centre was set up in Adelaide, Australia in August 2005.[8][9] Science Media Centres now exist in other countries; Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Germany. Except for the relation between the Science Media Centre in UK and the Australian Science Media Centre, these centres are independent of each other.


  1. ^ Callaway, E. (2013). "Science media: Centre of attention: Fiona Fox and her Science Media Centre are determined to improve Britain's press. Now the model is spreading around the world". Nature. 499 (7457): 142. doi:10.1038/499142a. 
  2. ^ Anon (2005). "Editorial: Public controversies that involve scientific uncertainty can be influenced by mavericks. Open confrontation and analysis serves the public better than excommunication". Nature. 437 (7055): 1. doi:10.1038/437001a. 
  3. ^ "Fiona Fox". The Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61099-0. 
  4. ^ "House of Lords - Science and Technology - Third Report". Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  5. ^ Melchett, Peter (19 April 2007). "Clear intentions". The Guardian. London. 
  6. ^ Nature (2013). "Science media: Centre of attention". doi:10.1038/499142a. 
  7. ^ The Guardian (2002). "Lobby group 'led GM thriller critics'". 
  8. ^ "Our Origins". Australian Science Media Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Adelaide Thinkers in Residence - Impacts". Govt. of South Australia. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 

External links[edit]

Audio clips[edit]