PUBLIC SECT0R: NESTA drives PR and lobbying forward

Government granting body The National Endowment for Science,

Technology and the Arts (NESTA) is to step up its PR and lobbying


The push comes ahead of its next awards announcement in the spring.

The body, set up in 1998 to hand out £10m a year to projects in

its three areas, believes more needs to be done to promote itself among

politicians and the public.

For the first time a lobbying firm has been taken on. GCI will handle

lobbying in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Agency PR21 was previously

employed on a political monitoring brief.

GCI has assigned a three-strong team to the account led by director Rod


PR will be handled by the body's strategic comms team assisted by

retained agency Countrywide Porter Novelli.

The in-house team is headed by comms director Susan Butler, who leads a

three-strong unit and reports to deputy chief executive Janet


Morrison said PR and public affairs work would involve getting more

involved in issues that affect the creative and technology industries as

a whole, as well as publicising NESTA's awards.

NESTA, which has a remit to back innovation that would not normally gain

commercial funding, was set up by the National Lottery Act through

£200m of lottery cash. Its chairman is Lord Puttnam.

Recent grant allocations include the funding of a science education

centre at Queen Mary, part of the University of London's medical


It gave the bulk of its last handout, in November, to the arts following

criticism of government under-funding in the sector. This included

grants for an opera based on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate


Hannah Daws, PRO at NESTA, said: 'We have a duty to communicate our work

to the public and parliamentary bodies and believe this can be done


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