Research gets own TV show

March 28, 2003

Five universities have joined together to air their research on television screens across the world.

The pilot "Research TV" project, instigated by the University of Warwick, consists of eight weekly magazine programmes containing original research from the university partners.

It will be launched on April 8 and distributed through Reuters news agency to 1,000 broadcasting companies worldwide.

Ian Rowley, director of communication at Warwick, who has overseen the project, told The THES he had been worried by the lack of media exposure that UK universities had in the US.

"What has been apparent is that, if you are operating in a global marketplace, on some level you need global visibility," he said.

King's College London, Birmingham, Oxford and Cardiff universities are also involved in the pilot and will be supplying research stories. The research chosen for the programmes will have particular relevance to news, current affairs and business channels.

The Economic and Social Research Council, which is contributing funding, is keen to focus on topical themes, such as crime, immigration and voting patterns in young people.

The first programme will look at the impact of the war in Iraq on migration, based on research carried out at Oxford.

Mr Rowley said: "It can be hard to persuade academics to appear on television as we frequently see celebrities being abused and ridiculed by the TV process. But the nice thing about this is that the relationship between the broadcaster and the academic changes considerably."

Warwick first tested this idea when former US president Bill Clinton made the final international policy statement of his presidential career at the university. Warwick maximised exposure by releasing its own coverage of the event through Reuters.

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