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By Andrew Moore 4th November 2022
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NI Science Festival is looking for the services of a PR professional or agency that can support the organisation in the lead up to and during the 2023 festival.

Over the past seven years the Festival has become one of the largest celebrations of STEAM in Europe, with over 180 events across 60 venues audiences over 80,000 annually. We are keen to ensure the Festival can reach an even larger audience through increased awareness and press coverage.

Background to the Festival

Over the years NISF has striven to bring the very best of science communication to Northern Ireland, including notable names such as Brian Cox, Alice Roberts, Jim Al-Khalili, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Liz Bonnin, Robert Winston, Chris Hadfield, Chris and Xand Van Tulleken, Chris Packham, Adam Rutherford, Maddie Moate to name a few.

The festival offers a stimulating and wide range of events focusing on the wonders of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. These events present some of the best scientists from NI and beyond to discuss their work, cutting-edge research and what the future might hold.

During the day, the festival offers a range of workshops, tours talks and interactive activities for people of all ages. In the evening we present an eclectic mix of experiential events including scientific debate, talks, theatres, comedy, music, and film for adults and much more.

Our target audience

With events during the day for a younger audience, in the evenings for an older demographic and the weekends catering to families, the festival will be targeted at a broad spectrum and our press coverage should reflect this. As well as targeting publications aimed at families, daily national press and local press, we hope to receive coverage in business and industry publications.

Scope of services required

The successful candidate/agency will be required to deliver the following tasks:

  • Produce and deliver an integrated Press and PR strategy for the 2023 Festival that increases media coverage in Belfast, NI, UK and ROI and internationally.
  • Drafting and issuing regular media releases to national and local newspapers, business press, on-line media and, where appropriate, radio and television
  • Generate PR/editorial interest with wider media and mainstream press including regional, national and international media, local radio, local television and national networks using press releases, previews, editorials, briefings and features in conjunction with partners.
  • Work to develop media partnerships for the 2023 Festival.
  • Liaise closely with funders and stakeholders to ensure their communication objectives are met.
  • Manage press enquiries during the festival
  • Be creative and innovative in their approach with activity that reaches the identified target audiences
  • Monitor and report on all media coverage summarised with a written report at the end of the festival.
  • Coordinate arrangements for tickets for journalists and media representatives at selected events.
  • Provide regular press updates during the Festival period
  • Collate a post event Press and PR review with clippings for all stakeholders.

Timescales and key milestones

There will be a number of key milestones where we will require support. These include:

  • December 2022 – A press release highlighting the “early bird” events released by the festival
  • 12th January 2023 – The official press launch of the full programme of the festival
  • Jan – Feb 2023 – Draft and issue press releases to local press to highlight events in each council area. Pitch press interviews and pieces with speakers to highlight individual events at the Festival;
  • 16th – 26th Feb 2023 – Various press during the festival itself, particularly on the larger events in the programme.

Your submission

Applicants must provide evidence that they meet the following requirements and provide examples:

  • Experience of producing Press and PR campaigns for Festivals/events
  • In-depth working knowledge and experience of working with STEM organisations
  • Be sufficiently experienced to ensure this brief is delivered on time and to budget

Applicants must demonstrate:

  • Excellent communication skills and expertise
  • Excellent team working and collaborative skills
  • Excellent oral and written skills
  • Experience of problem solving and complaint handling.

Applicants must also:

  • Be willing to undertake ‘off-duty’ working hours
  • Have access to own transport

Please include the following in your submission:

  • Examples of previous work/campaigns
  • Experience in Festivals/events and STEM
  • A breakdown of your hourly/daily rate.

NB: The costs submitted will be fixed for the 3-year period. NI Science Festival will not accept an annual price increase without clear justification showing costs to the appointed service provider have increased. Tenderers should explain any mechanism they have in place for reviewing charges and provide details of categories of expenditure which might impact future costs.

Subject to successful contract delivery for the 2023 Festival, and agreement between the parties, the contract may be extended annually for up to a further 2 years.

Once completed this quote can be returned via email to no later than Friday 18th November 2023 at 12noon. It is expected that the individual/agency will be in a position to start the work asap.

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