Science is Vital wants to keep research funding high in the public and political consciousness in these turbulent times. That means we’re going to need some help. From general pitching in on projects to specific technical skills like web and graphic design, we’re looking for all kinds of volunteers to help us make our forthcoming campaigns as effective as possible.
Please have a read of the below and see if there’s anything you (or anyone you could forward this page to) could help out with. Then, please let us know via this form what you can do, be it one of the jobs below, or something entirely different which we’ve not even thought of. For many of these roles, we’re not necessarily only looking for one person so, if you think you could chip in as part of a team, let us know. Whether you can give an hour in the next year or an hour every week, just take a look and see if you too can be part of the campaign that says Science is Vital.
If you can’t spare the time to help us out, please sign up to our mailing list, follow us on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to keep up-to-date with what we’re up to. We’re also holding our Annual General Meeting next month. Come along if you can: get your tickets here, and there’s also a Facebook event. Please spread the word!
University, company, charity and organisation reps
Possibly the most important aspect of campaigning is getting the word out. Whether we’re holding a large event or just want to know what grassroots scientists think, lots of people need to hear about it for us to be at our most effective.
Can you get the word out to your research group, department, university, institute, company, charity, organisation or local area? Do you have access to your departmental mailing list, or know where it’s best to put up a poster? As a local rep, it would be your job to get Science is Vital news passed on to as many people as possible.
Time commitment: Not much! You’ll need to forward an e-mail to your contact lists a maximum of monthly, and occasionally be asked to put up posters or try other forms of publicity when there’s a big campaign.
Writer and editor
We want to be in touch with our supporters more regularly, with short articles letting them know what’s going on, and what we can do about it. This role would involve taking a brief for a blog post or e-mail and turning it into something readable. It would be ideal for someone working, or looking to work, in science PR.
Time commitment: Probably a few hours per week on average; more if we’re preparing a big report, less the rest of the time.
Webmaster and web developers
Our website needs developing to make it prettier, easier to use, and to make our key messages much more obvious. We need a geek or three to help us do this.
Time commitment: The website could really do with a total overhaul, which is probably a few weeks of evenings and weekends (but needn’t be done consecutively!). After that, maybe a few hours a month keeping things running smoothly and adding new features.
Web content coordinator
Science is Vital has a website, a Twitter profile and a Facebook profile, and we need to keep them all up to speed with consistent content, descriptions, cover images and so on. We also aim to send out regular mailshots to our subscribers. The web content coordinator would be in charge of making those things happen.
Time commitment: 30 minutes per day finding content, scheduling tweets etc. Could easily be split between multiple people.
Running Science is Vital
The secretary is responsible for the smooth running of Science is Vital, calling and minuting meetings including our AGM, and running elections.
Time commitment: 10–20 hours around the AGM (producing agenda, minutes, running elections and promoting), 2 hours every couple of months attending and minuting other meetings (often virtually). Whilst almost all of these roles can be done from anywhere in the UK (or indeed the world!) it would be helpful for our secretary to be based in the south-east as, for now at least, many of our physical meetings and events take place in London.
You can join Science is Vital for £3.14 per year, or just sign up for e-mail updates. The membership manager is in charge of keeping track of members, subscriptions and donations.
Time commitment: The bare administrative minimum is perhaps an hour a month, but ideally we’re looking for someone who can build up our membership base and try to get people actively involved, which could take up to a few hours per week if you’re keen.
Getting stuff done
As a project organiser, you’d take on specific projects and make them happen. That could be anything from organising a letter to a newspaper from prominent scientists to making sure a rally or live event goes off without a hitch.
Your first project would be to help us get local reps (see above!) at every academic institution in the UK.
Time commitment: A few hours per week, maybe more if a particular project is large or urgent.
Sometimes in a large campaign, we just need some extra help. Would you be happy to receive an occasional e-mail to help out with some tasks like those listed above? Please let us know!
Time commitment: A few hours per week, occasionally.
Our campaigns are often centred around data and evidence. Whether it’s keeping track of the latest government statistics on research funding or comparing UK cancer research to personal spending on alcohol, peanuts and loo roll for our colleagues over at Scienceogram, we need help staying on top of the constant data deluge.
Our data geeks will find and curate the data we need to make the case for science. If you’re an expert at scouring the web and can fill in a spreadsheet, sign up! And if you know which end of an API to attach a Python script to, it would be really cool to get some parts of this automated.
Time commitment: A few hours per week.
Are you a graphic designer who likes creating informative infographics in Illustrator or Inkscape? Are you a whizz with D3.js or some other funky interactive visualisation software? Please get in touch!
Time commitment: We’ve got several ideas for interactive projects which might take a few weeks of evenings each. We’d like to get regular static infographics up and running too, if we have the people-power.
We want to make an unassailable cache of case studies from every corner of research showing that Science is Vital. How does public funding affect your area of research? How much money, or how many lives, could we save with more investment? Would you be happy to help us write a summary of the science and its spin-offs in your area? This is what our subject specialists would do.
Time commitment: Perhaps a day or two to find relevant numbers and write the initial case study, then a few hours annually or so to check that the facts and figures are still current.