Independent medical research body, the Wellcome Trust is looking
for a PR heavyweight to head its communications and public affairs, with
a brief to inform the public on issues such as cloning and animal organ
In the wake of the public reception of GM foods, the trust is keen to
ensure that debate on controversial areas is informed, not
Dr Laurence Smaje, director of medicine, society and history at the
Wellcome Trust said it would be taking a two-fold approach. ’We are not
in the business of persuading people that all medical research is good,’
’We will be developing ways of consulting the public, and we will also
be developing serious thinking which can inform public debate.’
According to Smaje, this would include developing new styles of focus
groups to establish the basis of public opinion, and also ensuring new
research was released to the mainstream media.
Whoever takes the role will head a department of over 25 staff. He or
she will be responsible for the trust’s communication strategy, and have
direct access to chief executive Michael Dexter.