Issue date: 02 October 2002

The Graphic Science Unit at the University of the West of England is seeking media partners to help maximise the impact of SciBus one of the most ambitious poster campaigns ever mounted in Europe. The posters will be displayed on or in buses and are designed to get young people in the capitals of every member of the EU discussing the big issues that science raises for them.

SciBus builds on the success of a multi-award winning campaign that ran in six major UK cities during 1999 and 2000.

The new SciBus campaign which is being funded by the European Union (EU) and will take place during European Science and Technology Week 2002 [Nov 4-10]. It is taking the previous campaign idea one step further by using posters to generate discussion and debate about the role that science and technology should play in addressing issues such as food shortages, poor communication, health problems and traffic jams using either sms or a specially designed web site.

Poster campaigns will take place simultaneously in the capitals of all 15 members of the EU and it would greatly increase their impact if the posters and the questions they pose were also publicised in the media.

Professor of Science Communication at UWE, Frank Burnet, said “If the UK work is anything to go on the idea of putting science on buses has high public appeal and we would like to find partners in each country who we could work with before, during and after the campaign. All the issues we are highlighting are of great interest to the public and would be excellent starting points for news or feature articles. During and after the campaign we will be gaining fascinating insights into attitudes about the issues we have selected that we will also be making available to the media. Our aim is to make sure that peoples’ opinions reach those who make decisions about how science and technology are applied in society.


Editors notes

More information on SciBus

The Graphic Science unit at the University of the West of England ran a UK wide poster campaign called Science on the Buses throughout the late 1990s, funded by the Millennium Commission, the Office of Science and Technology, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The message of the posters was that “Science is part of everyday life”. The intention being to point up the fact that science is a routine activity within society, and that scientists share the interests and concerns of their fellow citizens.

The target audience was young adults who are heavy users of buses and known to be poorly served by other methods that are used to take science to the public. The campaign used twelve posters and ran in nine UK cities. Examples of the posters can be viewed at The impact of the campaign was carefully evaluated using a total of 750 face to face interviews with bus passengers. The main findings were that the posters were viewed positively by the great majority of passengers of all ages but that their message was most accessible to the target audience.

The new campaign SciBus is funded by a € 443367 grant from the EU’s Raising Public Awareness of Science and Technology programme.

Frank Burnet was awarded the MBE in June 2000 for his work on Science on the Buses. In addition to his work within the EU, he is also acting as a specialist science communication adviser in the Czech Republic, Croatia, China, South Africa, Brazil and the US.

The posters that will be used in the campaign were developed by testing words and graphics on focus groups in ten European countries. The posters address issues that young people see as important but are uncertain about whether research on them will benefit society

If you are interested in taking this unusual opportunity to bring science issues to your audience contact the Press Office, details below.

Back to top