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Cherrybyte: Web-based information system to promote the benefits of UK bio-science to the general public - HH3802

Public interest in biological sciences has never been more acute, but there is no widely recognised website for the enquiring public to access. Biotechnologies and new biological products are seldom fully understood and experience consumer resistance when introduced. There is an opportunity to hugely increase the value of the UK’s science-base by involving the public in a knowledgeable dialogue. Cherrybyte is the first cross-Institute initiative to try and put research advances into the public domain with a unified, high-profile, dedicated resource. While expert in communicating with their peers, few scientists are skilled in the ability to pitch articles at the appropriate level for the general public. Cherrybyte will commission graphic artists and journalists to write the articles at two levels: a tabloid-style short article and a “broadsheet-style” fuller account. For the first time the public will have a single, accessible resource for delving into what is happening in the UK biosciences, food agriculture and the environment.
An editor will be appointed (part time) to:
1) To manage the daily affairs of Cherrybyte and to support the interests of members.

2) To represent the legal entity of Cherrybyte and to oversee copyright issues within the first three months of the project and review regularly as new members join.

3) To generate for Cherrybyte the highest possible profile in the field of bioscience reporting.

4) To assess and act on feedback from users of the Cherrybyte website.

5) To regularly report to DEFRA and member Institutes (as funding partners) on the progress of Cherrybyte.

6) To secure the future of Cherrybyte.

The everyday management of the Cherrybyte site is main objective on which all other parts depend and the success of the project will revolve around the appointment of a suitably qualified and experienced Editor. To secure the future of Cherrybyte, the legal and copyright issues associated with the project will be formalised. Cherrybyte will need a high profile to attract users, and their feedback, and to ensure funders feel they are gaining maximum benefit from their contribution. All funders will expect and receive regular reports and updates on the project’s progress. It will be a combination of all these factors that ensures the final objective is met; that of securing the future of Cherrybyte after the two-year project is complete.

1. There should be no real obstacle to achieving a smooth and rapid turnover of quality articles for the site. Initially, the biggest obstacle is to overcome the inertia that 12 months of slumber has left for the site and members of the consortium. Once articles are identified and writers engaged, the site’s progress should proceed unhindered. The appointment of a dedicated editor (this proposal) is the cure to the inertia.

2. Copyright may be an issue on some pictures, not text. If necessary pictures could be sourced from commercial picture libraries. Any photograph used will be properly credited, including gaining authorisation from the photographer. To date, we have had no problems over copyright on any article placed on cherrybyte so far and we foresee no member Institute impeding the utility of the site by holding back pictures.

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2004

Cost: £59,493
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Horticulture Research International, Warwick - HRI
Technology Transfer