Minerva is recruiting

Are you the person we are looking for?

Due to continued success we are recruiting. We require an Account Manager with experience in project management, PR and/or media, ideally with scientific education or experience. Flexible working considered with salary according to skills and experience.

We are also seeking a recent graduate to join the team, with a science based degree and an interest in communications and writing. Challenging and rewarding European & UK projects and clients await successful candidates.

Email your CV and three reasons why we should interview you to info@minervacomms.net.

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Minerva and CIWF

Minerva is providing communications support for the prestigious Extinction and Livestock
Conference – a major international event organised by Compassion in World Farming (CiWF) in partnership with WWF.

The conference, to be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London on 5-6 October, will examine how we can transform our global food and farming systems to work for people, the planet and animals. It will bring together diverse interests – conservation and livestock production, land and water use, the environment and climate change, ethics and economics, healthy and sustainable diets, food security, food business – and act as a catalyst for future collaboration and solution development.

Charlotte Reid, Senior Project Manager at Minerva, says: “We are delighted to be supporting such a prestigious international event, especially one that will be highlighting such important and worthwhile global issues.

“We are very much looking forward to working with CiWF, WWF and the supporting organisations to help make this event a huge success that brings about genuine changes to our food and farming systems.”



For further information about the conference or to register visit http://www.extinctionconference.com

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Industry speak – can researchers learn the language?

Minerva’s Director and Co-ordinator of the H2020 project CommBeBiz, Rhonda Smith, is off to Segovia, Spain later in May to run a workshop for researchers working on bacterial evolution and adaptation by applying classical engineering principles to cell engineering.

‘The aim of the workshop is to help this group demonstrate the usefulness of their work to industry and help ensure that the remarkable knowledge they are generating in their hard-won project is utilised to the maximum,” explains Rhonda. “To achieve this successfully, researchers need to stop speaking the language of science – with which they are so very comfortable – and switch to industry speak. One tip is to remember that those working in industry are human too – and that they will relate to stories as well as anyone else, and will appreciate a visual approach to content that clearly demonstrates the relevance of the science to them and their work.”

More information about the research group that Rhonda will be working with can be found here http://www.empowerputida.eu


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Minerva at ESOF 2016

From 24th-27th July 2016, the Minerva team were fortunate enough to attend and contribute, on behalf of several different projects as well as ourselves, to the running of sessions and a stand at ESOF 2016.

Check back on our Case Studies page soon for a full report on the trip – for now watch the video below to see what we got up to!

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Capturing hearts as well as minds

Reaching public as well as specialist audiences

The Minerva team is sharing expertise this week with members of Charity Comms, a professional organisation which promotes best practice across the sector.

Charity Comms events attract a broad audience of major actors and influencers from some of the UK’s leading and emerging charities.  This week’s conference is all about audience strategy – identifying different audiences, building competence at effective engagement, and implementing targeted, successful communications campaigns delivering impact with key stakeholders.

Using our proven heritage in supporting organisations to tell their stories, we’ll deliver an interactive breakout session on how to pitch and balance key messages for public and specialist audiences, sharing evidence from real life case studies.  The Minerva team is also offering 1-1 advice surgery slots taking place throughout the day, where tailored support will be available through interactive discussion.

“Engaging with relevant audiences is vital to the success of any communications strategy,” explains Rhonda Smith, Director.  “For charities in particular, where the aim is to stimulate a specific action (donate, sponsor, volunteer) getting the message right – and making sure it’s received and understood by specialist as well as general audiences – is vital.  We’ll demonstrate how a communications approach that works is not just about sharing statistics and data; it’s about capturing hearts as well as the minds of target groups through storytelling.”

Check out the Charity Comms website for more info on the event.

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Impact – I’ll know it when I see it!

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito!” – Anita Roddick

If a message is to reach its full potential in connecting with its target audience, it needs to create impact, to get people interested and engaged, leaving a lasting impression so they want to find out more.

Impact is one of Minerva’s key focuses: being able to create it, exploit it and map it effectively is vital in any communications strategy.

At the Technology Transfer Symposium in Dublin in late 2015, Rhonda delivered a presentation on identifying opportunities and building co-operation between innovation leaders, focusing on impact –  particularly what it is and how to use it effectively.

The event was designed to build and improve connections between companies, universities and research institutions that carry out publicly-funded research. Rhonda emphasised that to make connections between institutions with different aims, communication activity needs to be both carefully pitched and memorable.

“This was a great chance to spread the message about how necessary it is to consider impact, and how effective that can be,” Rhonda says. “Creating impact doesn’t have to be complicated – you need to focus on the right knowledge and strategies to make it happen.”

Feedback from attendees stated that the presentation was immediately applicable to their communications strategies.


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New €7m EC-funded project is investigating the determinants of mental health & well-being in the ageing population of Europe

Medit-ageingA new research project under the Horizon 2020 health call to promote mental well-being in the ageing population has been launched.

Medit-Ageing is funded by the European Commission, with financial support from the University of Geneva (Swiss State Secretariat for Education Research & Innovation), and will run for five years from 2016 to 2020.

Medit-Ageing will investigate the effectiveness of a variety of interventions on healthy ageing, with a key focus on mental health and well-being including Alzheimer’s disease and its mechanisms.  Researchers will conduct clinical trials involving patients with existing subjective cognitive decline, expert meditators and participants from the general public over the age of 65.

The project is co-ordinated by Inserm (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) based in Caen, France, with consortium partners in France, UK, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.

There are nine work packages (WP) within the project:

  • WP1 – Meditation – led by Dr Antoine Lutz, Inserm (France)
  • WP2 – Lifestyle – led by Eider Arenaza-Urquijo, Inserm (France)
  • WP3 – Attention – led by Dr Fabienne Collette, University of Liege (Belgium)
  • WP4 – Emotion – led by Dr Olga Klimecki, University of Geneva (Switzerland)
  • WP5 – Cognition & Wellbeing – led by Dr Natalie Marchant, University College London (UK)
  • WP6 – Biomarkers – led by Dr Gaël Chetelat, Project Co-ordinator, Inserm (France)
  • WP7 – Coordination & Management – led by Géraldine Poisnel, Inserm (France)
  • WP8 – Communication – led by Rhonda Smith, Minerva Communications UK Ltd (UK)
  • WP9 – Clinical Trial – led by Sonia Guéguen, Inserm (France)

As an official partner of the project consortium, Minerva has received €67k funding to manage the communications and dissemination for the project.

Rhonda Smith, our director, says, “We are delighted to announce our involvement in this study and look forward to working with our consortium partners.  We hope through our research to make a valuable contribution to health policy discussions and forward-planning around the challenge of caring appropriately for our ageing global population, now and in the future.”

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Minerva wins new project on improving mental health for Europe’s ageing population

“We are thrilled to announce that we have recently won a new European research project that will study the role of different activities on improving the prospects for healthy ageing,” said Rhonda Smith, Minerva’s Director.

The EC-funded Medit-Ageing project, based in Caen, France, will research mental health in later life to help older people counteract the problems that may accompany longer life expectancy.

The Basse-Normandie region, from where Medit-Ageing will be co-ordinated, has faced one of the most rapid increases in the ageing population of all regions in France. As age increases, so does the incidence of mental health problems such as later-life depression, sleep disturbances and dementia. These conditions are often chronic and put huge pressure on patients’ quality of life, on their caregivers, and society as a whole. Finding an effective way to tackle these issues will allow older people to be healthier – and happier – for longer.

Minerva’s role is to lead all communication and dissemination activity including recruitment of study participants for the research studies taking place in France, UK, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium.

Rhonda says, “We’re very excited to be a part of this project, which has the potential to deliver real, long-lasting health benefits for us all. By contributing our experience and expertise in strategic communications planning and delivery, we will enable the project to make valuable connections and effectively share the story of this project’s research and report on its progress and results.”

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Minerva hosts second workshop to get charities’ voices heard

On Thursday 19th November the Minerva team travelled to Romsey to deliver their second ‘Making your voice heard’ workshop, in conjunction with Test Valley Community Services (TVCS).

Following the success of the last workshop, which took place in Andover in July, this session focused on charitable groups and organisations from a different location in Test Valley. The focus was on learning new strategies and sharing ideas for securing funding, communicating with key audiences, and cementing reputation to spread the word about their work.

The workshop began with a keynote speech from Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, who discussed how a local MP can help local organisations make their voice heard. She offered several handy tips on how and when to make an effective approach. There followed a Q&A where delegates could quiz her on how to get the support they need.

The main section of the workshop involved practical activities focused on three different areas – funding, community and reputation – which sparked plenty of discussion and sharing of ideas between organisations.

100% of delegates agreed the course was well-structured and relevant, and left them with a better understanding of the topic.

Feedback comments included “It was good to meet people from the local community…I felt I gained insight from others” and “[I gained] a stronger cohesive approach”. The workshop was described as a “good well run course” and “a good session, staff [were] helpful and informative”.

We were delighted to hear that everyone found the session useful and hope the delegates will keep in touch – let us know how you put your learnings into practice!

Caroline Nokes MP delivering her keynote speech

Caroline Nokes MP delivering her keynote speech

Lots of discussion around our key topics!

Lots of discussion around our key topics!

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Minerva co-ordinated project presents first annual awards

CommBeBiz, an EC-funded project co-ordinated by Minerva, has chaired its first ever annual Awards – and the winners are as varied as they are innovative.

From bed sore prevention and remote-controlled livestock feed to sustainable energy from biogases and a portable pesticide detector, the eight winning projects proved that they are the pinnacle of ambitious, state-of-the-art research.

CommBeBiz is an EC-funded project working with bioeconomy researchers and their projects to enable effective and speedier transfer of knowledge to the marketplace, to policy-players and for social innovation.  The award winners were identified by an independent international selection panel at a presentation ceremony in Brussels in October 2015.

Judge Richard Watson, an early stage investment specialist from Ireland, said, “Overall I was impressed with the quality of the applications.  Some are very close to market, others are at an early concept stage [with] good potential.”

Representatives from each winning project presented their concept and innovation potential at the EBN Congress in Brussels on 29th October to an audience of judges, industry experts, EBN’s bioeconomy special interest group and the media.

Each project has won a tailored support package, delivered via EBN’s quality certified Business and Innovation Centres. By matching the winners to innovation specialists who can help meet their specific project needs, they can be supported in reaching their innovation goals, whatever their stage of research or development.

Juame Gelada from SmartSilo, one of the winning projects, added, “Winning this Award is a key milestone… We thought that it could be a good opportunity to promote the project and get high level support to grow our company.  Awards are always a sweet point in the hard way to the success.  It’s a signal that we are doing it well and we feel very grateful to all the people that are supporting us.”

 The 2016 CommBeBiz Awards will be inviting applications from March next year.

The award winners with Rhonda Smith, director of Minerva (centre)

The award winners with Rhonda Smith, director of Minerva (centre)

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