CERN communication in the spotlight

A rich harvest of important prizes has recently been awarded to CERN communication efforts. The list includes: the European Excellence Award 2010, the “people’s choice” award for the best children's website, and two prizes in the UK Recruitment Advertising Awards for 2011. Given the high expectations surrounding CERN's future physics results, there is little doubt that the old refrain “the best is yet to come” also applies to communication at CERN.


Marie Anne Bugnon and Antonella del Rosso, from the Communication Group, accept the 2010 European Excellence Award for LHC First Physics.

In recent years, efforts to communicate as much and as well as possible have been stepped up at CERN – across all communities – and the fruits have come little by little. First of all, awards represent the recognition of the public, which, on different levels, has shown that it appreciates CERN’s efforts to reach out. CERN is tweeting, blogging, talking on Facebook, regularly uploading videos on YouTube, and publishing websites and journals such as the Bulletin and the Courier.

The end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 have marked a significant step forward because several international prizes have been awarded to CERN communication campaigns and websites. In November, CERNland – CERN’s website for children – received the “people’s choice” award for the best children's site from The judges’ award went to the NASA Kids’ Club site, while CERNland came second in this category.

In December, members of the Communication Group were in Prague to receive the 2010 European Excellence Award on behalf of CERN for the LHC First Physics event on 30 March, during which the eyes of the world were on the Laboratory as the first collisions at a total energy of 7 TeV took place. The prize, for the category of science and education, “rewards the cream of communications” in these areas. “These awards are great for CERN, and they're great for the Communication Group, which has worked hard to achieve them. Best of all, though, they're a sign that people are talking about science,” says James Gillies, Head of the Communication Group.

Finally, 2011 has just brought CERN’s new recruitment campaign, produced by the HR Department's Recruitment Service in collaboration with the Work Communications agency, the top prize in two categories of the UK’s Recruitment Advertising Awards for 2011: recruitment literature and print advertisement (commercial). Up against corporate giants such as Nike, Unilever and BAE Systems, the creativity of the CERN entries earned them the comment "Genius, a stand out piece of work" from the judges. "This fantastic peer recognition from the recruitment industry confirms that the work we are doing here at CERN can also be cutting-edge in HR as well as physics," says James Purvis, Head of the CERN Recruitment Service.

The icing on the cake is a chapter about science communication in a textbook for undergraduates. The “Physics at the Terascale” book, published by Wiley, will be on sale from March. The chapter has been written in collaboration with the Communication Group and it’s a recognition of the growing importance communication has in the training of the scientists of the future.

CERN Communication Group

The CERN Communication Group has 30 members (including students) spread across its 8 services, each in charge of a specific activity: the Press Office, which welcomes around 700 media representatives for 400 media to the site each year; the Publications Office, which publishes the Courier and handles the production of the more than 100,000 brochures distributed each year free of charge; the Web Office, which deals with the Public and User websites plus a number of satellite sites; the Local Communication Office, whose activities target our neighbours in France and Switzerland; the Visual Communication Office, which is responsible for graphic productions and support; and the Video Content Production team, which collaborates with the IT Audiovisual Service to produce videos including the LHC and CERN News. Last but not least is the Internal Communication Office, which, among other things, writes and edits your Bulletin.

by CERN Bulletin