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Science

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 3 March 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what the cost to the public purse of the Science: [So what? So everything] programme has been in each year since its launch; how many officials in each pay band are responsible for that programme; and what mechanisms are in place to measure the effectiveness of that programme. (318921)

The Science: [So what? So everything] campaign was launched on 28 January 2009. Costs in each year are as follows:

2008-09: £601,200 ex VAT (covers period from start of campaign 28 January 2009 to end of FY)

2009-10: £1,261,000 ex VAT (includes actual and projected costs for this FY)

The fraction of any individual official's time dedicated to the campaign varies between less than 10 per cent. to upwards of 80 per cent. The campaign is overseen by a senior civil service manager as part of the Department's Science and Society programme.

The following officials are responsible for the management of the campaign:

2 x Grade 6

1 x Grade 7

1 x Senior Information Officer

1 x Information Officer

The Science: [So what] campaign is one aspect of a wider initiative to promote public engagement in science which includes support for activities like National Science and Engineering Week and the work of outside individuals and organisations who are helping to take forward the BIS Science and Society strategy. The campaign plays a part in contributing to the success of this broad-based activity. Its aim is to focus on putting science in places that it would not typically be associated with, such as consumer and tabloid media and thereby demonstrating to the public how important science is to their everyday lives

To evaluate the effectiveness of the Science: [So what] campaign, BIS uses a range of measures, including visits to the campaign website, the extent that media coverage has reached the campaign's core audience and its return on investment for media coverage. An Ipsos-MORI survey is also being conducted with a representative sample of 2,000 people from the C2DE (lower income) core audience, in order to gauge their recognition of the campaign, its messages and the media channels used.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department spent on creating the Science: [So what? So everything] website; what estimate he has made of the annual cost of maintaining that website; how many unique visitors that website (a) has received since its launch and (b) receives on average each day; and how many officials in each pay band are responsible for maintaining that website. (318922)

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has spent the following on creating and maintaining the Science: [So what? So everything] website:

2008-09: £56,440 (development costs for the landing site before campaign launch 28 January 2010)

2009-10: £235,161

Between its launch on 28 January 2009 and 24 February 2010, the site has received:

121,589 unique visitors

an average of 320 unique visits per day.

359,737 page views over the same period.

The fraction of any individual official's time dedicated to the campaign varies between less than 10 per cent. to upwards of 80 per cent. The campaign is overseen by a senior civil service manager as part of the Department's Science and Society programme. The following officials are involved in the management of the contract for maintaining the site, with delivery contracted to an agency:

1 x Grade 6

1 x Information Officer

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of people in each age group who have attended events supported by his Department's Science: [So what? So everything] programme. (318923)

The Science: [So what? So everything] campaign has supported and organised a wide range of events which have attracted significant presence from people of all ages.