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Science Media Centre

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

The Science Media Centre is an organisation which formed following the United Kingdom House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology's third report on "Science and Society" in 2000.

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.


  • Functions 1
  • Aims 2
  • Structure 3
    • Australian division 3.1
    • Funding 3.2
  • History 4
    • Controversy over links with Living Marxism and the Revolutionary Communist Party 4.1
  • Other SMCs 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7
    • Audio clips 7.1


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.


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.

Australian division

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.[3][4]


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].


Controversy over links with Living Marxism and the Revolutionary Communist Party

Director Fiona Fox is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a former contributor to its magazine Living Marxism and a current contributor to Spiked, a website set up by former members of the RCP. [5][6]

Other SMCs

Science Media Centres exist in other countries; Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. 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.  
  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): 1–0.  
  3. ^ "Our Origins". Australian Science Media Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Adelaide Thinkers in Residence - Impacts". Govt. of South Australia. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  5. ^ Melchett, Peter (19 April 2007). "Clear intentions". The Guardian (London). 
  6. ^ Fiona Fox - SourceWatch

External links

  • Science Media Centre
  • Australian SMC
  • editorial on Science Media Centre, 1 September 2005Nature
  • editorial on Science Media Centre, March 2006Chemistry WorldRoyal Society of Chemistry
  • "What They Say" about the Science Media Centre from journalists, scientists and press officers
  • SourceWatch profile of Science Media Centre
  • George Monbiot on Science Media Centre
  • Robin McKie, Lobby group 'led GM thriller critics', The Guardian, 2 June 2002
  • Science Media Centre of Canada

Audio clips

  • March 2009Leading Edge
  • December 2008Leading Edge

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