I became involved in science communication over 20 years ago. With a background in microbiology and genetics, I had started my working life editing and abstracting science journals while taking a postgraduate course in information science. That led to 3 years running a scientific library for Cadbury Schweppes and then a position as biotechnology information specialist at the British Library. This was in the early 1980s and was the first flowering of commercial biotechnology. The European Biotechnology Information Project (EBIP) was intended to help scientists get to grips with information sources in hitherto unfamiliar areas such as legislation, intellectual property and marketing. In practice, we found that scientists, being resourceful types, were quite happy delving into any sort of literature with minimal help, but we did find we had a ready audience of teachers, journalists, legislators and venture capitalists among others who needed our help to explain what this ‘new’ science was all about. It was at this point that I realized that I was happier (and better) at explaining biology and its applications to non-biologists than explaining the finer points of EU regulations to scientists. So when, in 1985, I saw an advertisement from the Biochemical Society for a ‘Research and Information Officer’, it seemed like a good career move.

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