Nancy Mendoza

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Nancy Mendoza is a PR professional based in Bristol currently working for the Society for Applied Microbiology. She was previously a Press Officer at the Science Media Centre.[1]

Nancy Mendoza's LinkedIn profile.



Mendoza has a MBiochem degree from the University of Oxford. In 2004 she was awarded an Association of British Science Writers student bursary to study for an MSc in ‘Science, Culture and Communication' at the University of Bath.[1]

She went on to study for a Diploma in Public Relations with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).[2]


Science Media Centre

After completing her MSc in ‘Science, Culture and Communication' at the University of Bath, Mendoza joined the Science Media Centre as a Press Officer in January 2006.[1]

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

Mendoza was a Media Officer for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) from 2008-2011.

Mendoza notes:

I've regularly briefed officials at the department for Business Innovation and Skills, contributing to Ministerial briefings, and responding to Freedom of Information requests. In addition, I represented BBSRC in the communications sub-group of the Biosciences Coalition to ensure BBSRC’s views were represented in a joint response to the Home Office consultation on incorporation of a new EU directive on use of animals in research.[3]

Mendoza, who boasts of her 'unrivalled media contacts book', also notes:

Whilst working at BBSRC I built a strong relationship with the BBC’s specialist factual unit, organising regular brainstorming sessions with experts to generate documentary ideas that those same experts often participated in personally.[4]

Institute for Animal Health/The Pirbright Institute

Mendoza is a former Head of Communications at the Institute for Animal Health, part of the UK government's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In October 2012 Mendoza was responsible for the rebranding of the organisation, including renaming to The Pirbright Institute.[5]

Society for Applied Microbiology

Mendoza is currently Communications Manager (maternity cover) at the Society for Applied Microbiology.[6]

Views on science communication

On ideology in science communciation

In a blog post reflecting on the role of publics in science policy-making, Mendoza notes:

[I]t’s long been a bugbear of mine, this idea that scientists are supposed to be infallible, rational, and god-like in their ability to speak gospel truths. Alice [Bell] began her talk [at the British Science Association Science Communication Conference] by questioning the extent to which our way of arranging ourselves in hierarchies gets in the way of really effective decision making in science policy. I agree. And it’s not just a problem for science, it’s a problem for public life, and it’s rooted, in my opinion, in a paradoxical lack of personal responsibility in a world that is all about individual success.
What I observe in myself and in others is that we are always looking around for who’s in charge, or whose job it is, or how do we get permission, or whatever. At best this results in procrastination and at worst it actually prevents social, political and economic progress.
Alice talked about how important it is that scientists are aware of and acknowledge, or, as she said, “own” their own politics and ideologies. And again, I couldn’t agree more, but the challenge we have is that most people do not think of themselves as having an ideology and most of us do not consider ourselves “political”. In fact, if anything, being ‘political’ is something that you apparently can be too much of – calling someone ‘political’ is like calling them ‘aggressive’ or ‘smelly’. The truth is everything we do is political and we all hold dear our ideologies but admitting that would be admitting responsibility for the status quo or, indeed, being at the source of change.

She continues:

It’s true that science communicators can be short sighted, and often we start out as scientists and so tend to see things from the point of view of scientific institutions first and the general public second.[7]

On Science Media Centres

In a blog post about the Dr Andrew Wakefield MMR scandal, Mendoza notes:

In 2002, at the height of Wakefield's glory days, the Science Media Centre was born, its mission: "To provide, for the benefit of the public and policymakers, accurate and evidence-based information about science and engineering through the media, particularly on controversial and headline news stories when most confusion and misinformation occurs."
Over 10 years the Centre has supported scientists and scientific organisations to step up to the plate and inject high quality, evidence based information into the media when a story hits the headlines. It has spawned sister centres around the world and continues to do an extraordinary job.
At the same time, the role of the professional communicator in science-based organisations has risen to prominence. This is largely thanks to the pressure that funding bodies have put on research organisations to ensure that maximum impact is achieved from research.
But there are still challenges. The desire to compete with the Wakefields of the world can be superseded by lack of resources, a commitment to the precautionary principle in the upper echelons of the scientific community, competing priorities during times of austerity and change, and a sense of trepidation - who wants to put their head above the parapet, really? [bold emphasis added][8]

It is interesting to note Mendoza's position on the precautionary principle, shared by the Science Media Centre.[9]

"Propaganda or public relations"

In an essay posted on her blog, Mendoza notes:

Part of PR’s PR issue is probably due to the fact that much of PR practice that is visible to the public takes the form of press agentry and therefore is, understandably, viewed as propagandistic. This matters hugely for the reputation of the profession – imagine if all NHS doctors were assumed to be pushing drugs onto their patients in return for a big fat pay packet from the pharmaceutical company at the end of the month, the medical profession would soon be labelled as corrupt.[10]


Mendoza was previously on the Editorial Board of the Nutrition Bulletin, a journal of the British Nutrition Foundation.[11]


Personal website:
Twitter: @NancyWMendoza



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Data from the Internet Archive, Staff profiles, accessed 13 September 2013
  2. Data from the Internet Archive, Staff profiles, accessed 13 September 2013
  3. Nancy Mendoza, Working with the general public and other stakeholders, accessed 13 September 2013
  4. Nancy Mendoza, Making the news, accessed 13 September 2013
  5. Nancy Mendoza, Building a successful brand, accessed 13 September 2013
  6. Society for Applied Microbiology, Staff, accessed 13 September 2013
  7. Nancy Mendoza, Science communicators do it for the public, accessed 13 September 2013
  8. Nancy Mendoza, A wake(field)-up call for science's wall flowers, accessed 13 September 2013
  9. For example, see Science Media Centre Senior Press Officer Tom Sheldon on pregnancy advice pregnancy advice: trying to be helpful, 6 June 2013, accessed 13 September 2013
  10. Nancy Mendoza, Propaganda or public relations - what's the difference anyway?, accessed 13 September 2013
  11. Nancy Mendoza, Effective digital and paper publications, accessed 13 September 2013