Goals of the Communications Strategy
The period covered by this communications strategy follows a highly eventful and exciting period of technological and scientific achievements, both at CERN and in particle physics. The start-up of the LHC (in 2008) and the discovery of the Higgs boson (in 2012), for example, have had enormous impact not only in the high-energy physics community, but also in raising awareness of CERN and of particle physics amongst the general public.
Looking forward, three major challenges have been identified for CERN communications:
- Maintaining interest when faced with a potential scarcity of “big breakthroughs” at the scale of the discovery of the Higgs boson and the completion of the Standard Model;
- Securing understanding and support for the ambitious future accelerator programmes deemed necessary for the search for new physics, and for the long-term future of CERN, of particle physics and of fundamental research;
- Reacting to the inherent ups and downs of experimental results. Overhyping of new results accompanied or followed by inflated criticism may lead to loss of credibility of the field.
These challenges present important communication opportunities:
- To communicate on CERN’s diversity of scientific programmes, beyond the LHC and beyond the accelerator complex;
- To communicate on the process of science (hypotheses and theories, experimental data, critical thinking, peer-review, open discussion), on the “grey areas” of particle physics research and on how scientific breakthroughs are often the cumulative result of small advances;
- To communicate on the technological advances that are made in the search for new physics;
- To communicate the impact of CERN on society.
Thus, the overall objective of the CERN communications strategy is:
To help ensure the long-term future of CERN’s mission and share it with society
This overall objective may be broken down into the following goals:
- Contribute to maintaining and increasing support from current Member States;
- Contribute to attracting new Member and Associate Member States (based on the current strategy for scientific and geographical enlargement);
- Maintain high public awareness and engagement with CERN’s activities;
- Foster community-building within CERN and within the international particle physics community;
- Raise awareness of and inform on the societal impact of CERN;
- Enable CERN to serve as an effective voice for fundamental research in relevant multilateral debates and with the public.