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CERN’s new communications strategy for 2017-2020

The Education, Communication and Outreach group (ECO) are excited to share CERN’s new strategy for communications, which covers the next four years


Lots of organisations communicate. But not all organisations communicate strategically –purposefully sharing information to the right people, at the right time, and engaging people in their activities.

Strategic communications are crucial if CERN wants to achieve its scientific goals and be a leading, trusted, voice for research around the globe. CERN leadership has, for well over a decade, understood the value of strategic communications. As such, the Education, Communication and Outreach group (ECO) are excited to share CERN’s new strategy for communications, which covers the next four years – the mandate of the current Directorate.

The strategy is available online, and draws together contributions from across CERN. It includes six key messages that we hope will encourage engagement with CERN, emphasise our mission, and highlight the themes that underpin our identity:

  • CERN is a world leader in particle physics;
  • The discovery of the Higgs boson has launched a journey of discovery that will extend for decades;
  • We need new accelerators, detectors and computing power for that journey;
  • CERN brings benefits to society;
  • We are an open institution;
  • Peaceful collaboration and diversity are intrinsic to CERN.

The purpose of communication is rarely simply to inform; rather the ultimate goal is to impart knowledge, change behaviours or attitudes. Thus, our communication goal is, on one hand, to ensure the long-term future of CERN’s mission to be the European particle physics laboratory and, on the other, to engage society in CERN’s activities.

There are several audiences that we need to engage, from governments and the international scientific community, to industry and the CERN community. Teachers, students and our neighbours are also key audiences. The media and influencers are crucial intermediaries in reaching all audiences. Different audiences, with different key messages, require different communication channels. From online to face-to-face interactions, we will draw on the widest possible range of channels, with rigorous assessment of their impact, as laid out in the new document. For each target audience, we have also developed specific messaging.

The communications strategy is underpinned by CERN’s scientific goals (laid out in the 2017-2021 Medium Term Plan and in the European Strategy for Particle Physics) and buoyed by the outstanding track record of CERN’s communication and education programmes.

Although the document is first and foremost a framework to guide the activities of CERN’s core communications, we cannot do this alone. All CERN departments, member states and collaborations are crucial participants, and at times partners, in our communications goals, so we hope they also find it useful. We will continue to work closely with many internal and external partners towards recognition of CERN’s mission, the advancement of particle physics and the integration of the process and values of science in society.