Case Studies Archive

Communicating deep tech to wider audiences

Accelerator research is of great value to science, society and industry, but this technology does not traditionally feature in mainstream media, nor is it part of school curricula. Public awareness of how accelerators work therefore remains low despite their importance.

To address this challenge, the QUASAR Group at the University of Liverpool has taken a novel approach to public engagement to make the benefits of its research accessible and understandable.

Its wide-ranging outreach activities support by strategic communication have engaged tens of millions people around the globe, improved public understanding of accelerator science, triggered public debate and set best practice for science communication.



Holdsworth Associates worked closely with Professor Carsten Welsch, Head of Physics at Liverpool University, on a series of communication projects to make the cutting-edge research relevant to audiences beyond accelerator physicists.

For example, a series of articles and teaching resources were created for the publication ‘Science in Schools’. Using the theme of Star Wars, to make the subject more accessible to pupils, the resources supported the teaching of accelerator physics by non-specialists.



  • Stories generated for the mainstream and scientific media with themes such as ‘Plugging the skills gap’; ‘What’s the (anti)matter?’; ‘What have particle accelerators ever done for us?’; ‘Do you want to boldly go where science has not gone before?’ – enabled engagement with non-traditional audiences in the UK, Europe and the Americas
  • News stories about new developments created coverage in media, including: BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC’s Naked Scientists, The Times, Times Higher Education and New Statesman (UK), IFL Science (USA), Horizon Magazine and EU Research Magazine (EU), Die Welt (Germany), and BBC Mundo (Spanish-speaking world) – improving awareness of Liverpool’s accelerator R&D and the projects.
  • Articles in scientific and technology press  –  including Scientific American (USA), New Scientist, New Electronics, BBC Science Focus, Laboratory News, Physics World, UKSPA Magazine, Materials World, Science (EU), and CERN Courier deepened knowledge about the Group’s technology developments.

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Generating buzz in the run up to a conference

REAP is Agri-TechE’s flagship conference, but after two difficult years caused by the pandemic would there be an appetite for in-person events?


Strategy – generating buzz

Agri-TechE is a pioneer in the agri-tech space; communicating to diverse audiences the huge potential for disruptive innovation in the agri-food sector.

However as understanding of agri-tech has grown, so have the number of events and conferences aimed at this sector. Including many that are free to attend.

A strategic approach was required to communicate the key differentiators of this conference: the opportunities to hear firsthand from leading thought-leaders working in science, technology and policy and to meet with them; to engage in discussions that have the potential to be game changing; the chance to see technology demonstrations and to talk to early adopters and to feel inspired by networking with people that share a passion for innovation. All strong reasons to attend a real world event.

Holdsworth Associates used connections from across the ecosystem to gain comment, opinion and stories to sustain interest in the five months leading up to the conference, engaging with potential participants and exhibitors.

Media stories were created for the different sectors and three digital newsletters generated to reach different audiences.

In the lead up for the conference we also managed social media – twitter and LinkedIn – to ensure a sustained flow of information and profile for the speakers and exhibitors.



REAP 2022 - Belinda talking to Look East


  • One of the most successful conferences in terms of attendance and feedback
  • Media coverage including BBC broadcast on the day
  • Sustained news flow for five weeks with original content created for the website
  • Managed social media flow to maximise opportunities for profile and sharing
  • Collaboration with sponsors and exhibitors to reach different communities
  • Outreach through third party networks.

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Supporting advocacy campaigns

Research by the charity Oasis Community Housing has revealed that 94% of people facing homelessness have experienced one or more traumatic incidents that have left them unable to access the help they need. The charity approached Holdsworth Associates to help them maximise the impact of its first advocacy campaign.

Strategy and implementation

Working collaboratively with the in-house teams, Holdsworth Associates reviewed the research document and created a compelling message and call to action for the media relations.

The story line was developed and supported with evidence and a case-study of a service user.

National and broadcast media plus industry publications were targeted to reach a range of influencers and policy makers and consumer-facing  publications such as the Big Issue were approached to gain both pull and push for the recommendations of the report.

We identified the key journalists through research and engaged with them, pitching the story to enable them to create individualised stories relevant for their audiences.

Media training with the Chief Executive and briefing of project managers ensured that key messages were communicated.

Want your message heard?  Contact us to support you.

David Smith launching the Report


  • Quality coverage in strategic media targets including national media and broadcast
  • Creation of warm, receptive journalist contacts for future stories
  • Profile for the charity and its work
  • Additional resource for the in-house team, adding value at short notice

The Oasis Community Housing Campaigns Manager was delighted with the support and the outcomes:

“In two months alone we’ve had almost 80 people sign our online pledge in support of the campaign – written questions on trauma and homelessness have been placed in the House of Commons by the Shadow Homelessness Minister, and we have had an invitation to sit with her at a sector roundtable. Not to mention all the media coverage and social mentions.

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Creating an agri-tech ecosystem


To build an agri-tech ecosystem to promote innovation.


We have supported the creation and growth of membership organisation Agri-TechE (formerly Agri-Tech East) from conception to present.

This has included support for the strategic direction, developing the name and branding, website design and development and all the original content, media relations, social media set-up and development, conference support and its promotion.

Agri-TechE is bringing together farmers, technologists, scientists and funders to create a mutually supportive cluster of organisations.

It now has a vibrant membership and the agri-tech ecosystem has supported a pipeline of early stage companies from conception through to market.

Examples of work include:

Reports for the REAP conference – Changing Time(s) For Agriculture

Positioning documents – From Grass Roots to Blue Skies: a vision for agri-tech

Summary reports to support outcome of workshops – ‘Call to arms for Pea and Bean Yield Enhancement Networks”

Media relations – we have worked closely with publications to ensure a flow of stories, this includes sustained support for Farming World

Contact us to discuss how we can support your agri-tech project.

Farm of the future

The team at Holdsworth Associates, ably led by Rachel Holdsworth, delivers significantly more value than a conventional PR agency. As well as a clear understanding of communication via all media to a range of audiences, they also take great pains to appreciate the wider strategic objectives within which any communications take place.

As well as front line delivery, Holdsworth Associates also manage crucial back office activities on our behalf, including regular reports on our website performance, social media metrics, print media cuttings and broadcast presence.

Belinda Clarke

Agri-TechE Director

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From spin-out to international player


To raise profile of a spin-out company with investors, clinical influencers, healthcare commissioners and potential partners and clients.

The brief

Congenica was a spin-out from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. It gained funding to convert its prototype product from a research project to a robust solution for the Genomics England 100,000 Genomes project. Holdsworth Associates was asked to raise its profile following the initial funding.

Congenica - From spin-out to international player

Delivering results

Our campaign was so successful – generating significant national interest and international broadcast coverage – that we were invited to support the company with a sustained PR campaign to support its growth. With our support, the company grew from 5 to 50 people and gained international exposure.

Through a creative approach to PR over 36 months we generated 37 press releases and 12 feature articles, including a review in the Journal of Precision Medicine that we researched and drafted. This resulted in coverage in over 130 publications – including the client’s Tier One targets – both in print and online.

We supported this media relations strategy through interviews with senior NHS clinicians talking about the potential of the technology and the impact of Congenica’s solution.

We also sourced patients through patient support groups and physicians that were prepared to talk about their experiences, which created human interest stories.

Coverage in publications including:

National: BBC Health News, BBC Radio 4, ITV News, Financial Times, Metro, The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Fortune

Science and technology: Nature, The Journal of Precision Medicine, Laboratory News, Personalised Medicine, Engineering and Technology Magazine

Regional: BBC Look East, BBC North West Tonight, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Eastern Daily Press

I want to thank you for helping us over the last few years in building our company’s profile. You did a really good job, and I will certainly recommend you to my friends and colleagues setting up newcos.

Tom Weaver

Congenica President

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Delivering sustained PR for new product launch


To raise awareness within the healthcare community of the benefits of delivering cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) online – generating sustained PR for new product launch, on a small budget.

How we did it

PsychologyOnline (now Ieso Digital Health) was the brainchild of two NHS psychologists. We were initially asked to raise the profile of the company with potential investors since the company had a business concept, but no product.

This short PR campaign was successful and the company attracted funding to build a demonstrator site.

Building on this success, we were asked to help launch the company and promote the new concept of ‘online psychology’ to commissioners, funders and to create pull-through to reach consumers. Over 18 months, we planned and delivered a proactive communications strategy; generating a number of PR campaigns around CBT for Diabetes and Depression. We interviewed relevant specialists in order to place ghost-written features and Op Eds, and developed human interest case studies and supported a webinar, sourcing leading experts, to engage a range of target audiences.


Our creative, sustained, targeted PR for new product launch, gained 150 pieces of media coverage across print, broadcast and online including:

  • National: The Daily Telegraph, Guardian, The Sunday Times, Grazia, Huffington Post
  • Specialist: Fertility Road, Prima Baby and Pregnancy, MumsNet
  • Healthcare: Mental Health Today, Healthcare Market News, Nursing, The Journal of Diabetes, Live it well
  • Business and finance: ABC magazine, Angel News, Best Invest, Business Weekly, MoneyAm
  • Regional: Six BBC regional radio stations, the East Anglian Daily Times, Edinburgh Evening News, Ham and High, This is Local London, Times Series
Sustained PR for new product - Ieso

Holdsworth Associates provided excellent media support for Psychology Online.

We were able to maintain regular news flow that attracted extensive media coverage, all on a tight budget.

Barnaby Perks

ISEO (Psychology Online) CEO

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Changing attitudes towards insect protein


Innovia Technology provides innovation consultancy for the world’s best known brands but most of its work is highly confidential.  Its brief to Holdsworth Associates was to gain profile for its expertise in food technology without mentioning a client.


Insects could provide a sustainable source of protein but there are many hurdles to overcome – including the ‘yuck’ factor. Innovia has specialist knowledge of behavioural science and food processing and its consultant Greg Dickens, was passionate about the potential of insects to fill the protein gap.  So we developed a story about how insect protein could be processed into textured protein chunks to overcome consumer resistance.


To gain a hook for the story we teamed up with Harper Adam University who had just issued an ‘Edible Bug Challenge’ at the agricultural show ‘Cereals’. Using third party comment provided endorsement for the story. We contacted trade, broadcast and regional media and sold in a story about how consumer objections could be overcome and the technical issues resolved to make insect protein a viable option – offering the enticement that Greg was prepared to eat insects on request!


Innovia media relations - Changing attitudes towards insect protein


A fun presentation communicated a more serious message and gained profile for Innovia as an innovator in food processing

Coverage included:

  • A range of food technology titles in print and online
  • Broadcast pieces on ITV Anglia and Cambridge TV
  • Regional coverage

Created opportunities for Twitter and a reason for Innovia’s business development to contact key targets.

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Concept through to launch of a memorial garden

Brief and Objectives

Cheltenham Pet Crematorium (CPC) had converted a facility on an industrial estate into a crematorium. Although sympathetic inside, outside it was a warehouse with patch of grass alongside. CPC asked Holdsworth Associates to create a launch event to raise awareness of its services and communicate effectively to potential customers.

Research, planning and strategy

Pets are important family members and a cremation service provides a time for the owners to grieve and for other pets to understand the loss. CPC provides counselling and support to owners who are able to design their own service.  However if the family want to take the ashes home or to scatter in a favourite place then they need to wait for short time.

HA proposed that a memorial garden was created for owners to use for reflection and also to exercise other pets.  The garden would also provide something for a celebrity to ‘open’ and create the opportunity for a positive experience for invited guests.

Adam Henson, best-known for presenting Countryfile, and interested in dogs and gardening was invited to open the garden. It was decided to have a wildlife element as the site backed on to a nature reserve.

Being located on an industrial estate, the garden strategy would add value to the environment and create a more comforting environment for mourners.

Research revealed that the local Tewkesbury School had horticultural society. HA worked with the school to develop a project that would enable students to talk about bereavement and to use their skills to design and build the remembrance garden.

At the official opening, the pupils would be invited to bring their families and friends to see their work and meet Adam – creating a lovely photo-opportunity for regional media.

Cambridge Pet Crematorium new garden design poster
CPC Adam Henson opens memorial garden


To warm up the media, HA created an initial story about commissioning the pupils to build the garden – this created an opportunity to talk to media and invite them to the opening.

For the launch there was a strong story, photo opportunity, people to interview about how they overcame their loss.   The event attracted broadcast, online and print media.


Measurement & Evaluation

The launch of the Memorial and Wildlife Garden was a success, with coverage secured in local media and veterinary publications, including:

  • Cotswold TV
  • Cheltenham Standard
  • Vet Times
  • Vet Surgeon
  • Your Cat

Coverage was also achieved for CPC in the Daily Telegraph.

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Promoting the Cambridge Phenomenon


In their latest book about the ‘The Cambridge Phenomenon’. Charles Cotton and Kate Kirk wanted to stress the international impact of Cambridge ideas. Holdsworth Associates was asked to create a story to attract media coverage and add value to the event.


The concept of the Cambridge Phenomenon’ has been discussed at length and frequently the city is criticised for creating ideas not businesses.  This view is outdated, so HA proposed to use a photograph of the new Cambridge skyline of cranes, to create an alternative image for the city.  We also invited spokespeople who have set up successful international businesses, or been the reason for multinational companies setting up R&D facilities in the cluster, to speak to the media at the launch.

Tech companies with different types of  international impact were sourced and  interviewed to gain case-studies. They were also  invited to bring demonstrations to the launch event to create filming opportunities for broadcast media and interest for attendees and journalists.

Business, finance and technology publications were targeted, alongside local and national outlets.


We developed stories with William Tunstall-Pedoe; the man behind Amazon Echo’s ‘Alexa’ software, Sebastian Manhart of Simprints, Professor Andrea Ferrari of the Cambridge Graphene Centre and Professor Chris Lowe of the University of Cambridge.

We commissioned a photograph of the new Cambridge Skyline to demonstrate visually the ‘new Cambridge’.

Content was produced on each of these contributors, with diverse press releases. Holdsworth Associates kept in contact with these organisations as the process unfolded, providing details of the event and organisation for the demonstration desks, wireless access etc.

The Cambridge Phenomenon - Global Impact book launch
Cambridge Phenomenon Global Impact book launch and media relations



The launch of the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ gained strong coverage in the national, broadcast and online media.

Coverage included:

  • The Times
  • BBC News
  • Cambridge TV
  • Science|Business
  • Engineering & Technology magazine
  • Business Weekly

Participating companies also benefited from wider coverage and gained stories for their websites and content for Twitter and social media outreach.

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Changing behaviour with cross-channel campaign

Devise and implement a communications campaign for the NSPCC that would help change parent child-shaking behaviour, helping to prevent the serious injury or child death that can occur as a result.


  • Raise awareness of the vulnerability of babies and their need for careful treatment
  • Create recognition of the early signs that a baby is at risk
  • Encourage parents under stress to ask for help
  • Provide a pilot model for planning and implementation of a behaviour-change campaign

How we did it?

Many child protection awareness-raising campaigns rely on shock to get the message across. It was felt that in this campaign, while important to stress the severity of the problem, should engage with the target audience and empower them to take the next step.

The relative size different between an adult and a child is the major reason why babies are so vulnerable. In considering the size difference, we approached the Saints rugby team to work with us on the campaign. An image of them with a child would explain visually and with impact the campaign key message.

The Saints rugby team modelled for the poster campaign and participated in a press event to launch the campaign. A package of media-content including research, case studies and spokesperson comment was developed to ensure sustain media coverage.

In addition, a multi-agency conference was held to promote understanding of the signs and symptoms.

NSPCC child protection campaign


  • Over 200 more health professional training packs were requested – in addition to those already widely distributed
  • The posters received high levels of public engagement
  • On-target media coverage was sustained through national, regional and trade, print, broadcast and online media

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