From press releases about our projects to stories about new developments, all the latest news about things that Matter.

Finalist for Volvo PR

Jun 8, 2017 in news

Finalist for Volvo PR


Matter PR came 3rd out of over 125 agencies in a recent international procurement process to find a retained PR agency for Volvo Trucks, an unusual achievement for a small, specialist company up against larger, more established brands. The pitch team was commended for its creativity as well as its extensive knowledge of science, engineering, and technology PR.


“This is a fantastic achievement for a small agency like Matter PR and the team did an incredible job to get so far. Volvo were really impressed with the depth of knowledge we have of the science and technology sector, as well as our ability to create impactful storytelling campaigns.”
David Reid, Managing Director.

Matter PR’s pitch centred on innovative storytelling. One campaign idea highlighted the people behind the trucks, rather than the technology itself — the engineers, scientists, designers, test drivers, and others. To make the stories about them: their passions, hopes, fears, motivations, families.

Volvo Trucks have developed a reputation for incredible PR stunts and powerful video stories in recent years. Their CEO recently stood in front of a driverless truck in a pitch-black mine while it came to a stop just inches from him. And their Epic Split feat featured Jean Claude Van Damme.



Find out more about Volvo Trucks news stories here.


Alien plants win Gold at Chelsea

Jun 8, 2017 in news

Alien plants win Gold at Chelsea

Congratulations to our client CABI (the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) who won a gold medal at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show for their first-ever solo exhibit – an educational display that showed some of the UK’s most invasive alien weeds including Japanese knotweed.

Matter PR worked closely with the CABI PR team to promote the garden to the media and coverage included the Daily Mail, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC TV News South East Today, i-news, The Telegraph, and the Oxford Mail.

The story was reported by 14 individual websites, with a reach (based on IP addresses) of over 1 billion unique visitors per month, and it is estimated to have reached over 639,000 individuals worldwide.

The exhibit was the vision of young CABI scientist, Suzy Wood, currently reading for a PhD in ecology sponsored by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). She wanted to show the impact of invasive alien weeds on the UK’s environment and infrastructure, including Japanese knotweed on property prices, buddleia on the railway and Himalayan balsam on riversides.

“I liked the idea of communicating CABI’s work on invasive species to a wider audience, helping people learn more about the option of natural control of invasive weeds. We applied last year to exhibit, and it’s been the perfect opportunity to showcase the science of biocontrol and connect with people who are already passionate about plants and the environment.”

Suzy Wood, Research Scientist, CABI

Created for the educational ‘Discovery Zone’, the exhibit showed how plants can spread and cause problems when moved from their native habitat to a new one, with no natural enemies like diseases and insects to keep them in check.

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Say Hi in Munich!

Jun 8, 2017 in news

Say Hi in Munich!

The Matter PR team will be in Munich later this month at Laser World of Photonics (26 – 29th June) – if you are attending and would like to discuss our photonics campaign or communications opportunities in general please drop us a line.

LWoP is the international trade fair for Photonics Components, Systems and Applications. Together with the World of Photonics Congress, the fair unites research and industry and promotes the use and ongoing development in the Photonics industry.


We’ll be based in the press centre all week – if you’d like to arrange to have coffee or a chat here are our details:


David Reid

Managing Director

0044 (0)7818 518736Laser_world_of_photonics



Sam Young

Head of Content & Media

0044 (0)7944 965493




Matter PR – communicating things that matter.

See our full range of services here.


Photonics campaign has real impact

Apr 27, 2017 in news

Photonics campaign has real impact

Matter PR’s campaign to promote photonics research and technology has been the sector’s most successful global PR campaign ever. In its first year (2016), it generated 524 pieces of media coverage in 28 different countries and reached over 70 million people.

Over half of these articles were in trade media targeting potential end-users of photonics research and technologies, and generated real commercial impact as a direct result.

Matter PR have successfully delivered the first year of an ongoing campaign on behalf of the European platform Photonics21. The campaign has focused on promoting a range of high-impact projects funded by the EU through the Photonics Public Private Partnership.

So far, the campaign has resulted in over 524 articles in newspapers, magazines, and websites in more than 28 countries, representing an advertising value totaling approximately €4 million.

Highlights have included coverage in The Times, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, BBC News, MSN, as well as major national and international titles in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, China, Japan, and the USA.

With a readership of over 70.7 million people so far, Matter PR has helped applied research groups across Europe promote the value and potential uses of photonics (the emission, manipulation and detection of light) as well as raising awareness with the public and policy-makers in governments across the world.

There have also been some direct commercial impacts from the campaign already, with a number of the Horizon2020 Photonics PPP projects receiving commercial application requests and developing new business partnerships as a result.

One success was a story about using inspiration from nature to create a new anti-bacterial, dirt-repellant metal. Media around the world hailed this as a possible way of making a “self-cleaning saucepan”. The Tresclean project team have been inundated with enquiries about potential business opportunities and R&D collaborations with major industrial manufacturers in the food and drink industry.

The campaign has involved creating original and engaging content and developing strong relationships with the media, especially in key target sectors such as aerospace, manufacturing, defence, healthcare, and security.

David Reid, Founding Director of Matter PR said:

“The Photonics Public Private Partnership chose Matter PR, one of the only communications agencies specializing in science, technology, and engineering, for its experience in targeting general news and industry sector media. We are demonstrating how photonics can be applied to wide variety of industrial sectors as well as showing its importance to our everyday lives.”

Europe is a global leader in light-related research and with the production of European photonics alone accounting for €60 billion and employing over 350,000 people directly.

Matter PR is the only communications, PR, and government relations agency which specialises in promoting photonics and related areas. Read more about our services.

If you would like to discuss a project or campaign please get in touch.

Science Community Responds to the 2017 Budget

Apr 10, 2017 in news

Following our briefing on science in the UK’s 2017 budget, here’s our round-up of the main reactions, comment, and analysis from the HE and research community. (Prepare yourself for overuse of the word “welcomed”).

The BBC did the most detailed analysis of the robotics, 5G, and driverless car funding announcement, part of the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). They point out that the new investments in robotics and driverless cars are much lower than those being made in other countries, which might make it difficult for the UK to achieve the Government’s ambition to be a world leader in these technologies.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Noel Sharkey, a robotics expert at the University of Sheffield, said:

“The money means there will be more resources for universities, which may help them retain their staff. But it’s not nearly enough for all of the disruptive technologies being developed in the UK. The government says it want this to be the leading robotics country in the world, but Google and others are spending far more, so it’s ultimately chicken feed by comparison.”

In their response, CaSE director Sarah Main highlighted the need for the UK’s immigration policy to work in harmony with these announcements in order to attract and retain international talent, and  reiterated the standard warning to ensure that funding for specific initiatives doesn’t come at the expense of unallocated (or responsive mode) funding.

Russell Group policy experts Jessica Cole and Sarah Stevens welcomed the investments but also warned of the need for balance in the ratio between competitive funding and QR funding, which allows universities “to explore new opportunities in efficient and effective ways”.

In their official media response, the Russell Group focused on this being an affirmation of the Industrial Strategy – making a direct link between investments in talent and key research areas and future prosperity: creating jobs and wealth. Acting director of the Russell Group, Tim Bradshaw, also cited the international nature of the investments as a welcome sign ahead of Brexit.

“Moves to attract the best international talent to the UK are also welcome. International staff and students are fundamental to the work of our world-leading universities and our ability to attract the best from around the world pays huge dividends to the UK economy and society. This investment sends a positive signal about the Government’s long-term intentions ahead of Article 50 being triggered.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by RSC President Professor Sir John Holman who also said:

“Science is a human activity that depends on the free exchange of ideas, and this is a welcome sign of the government’s commitment to keeping UK science open to international exchange and collaboration.”

UKRI’s official response (by Innovate UK CEO Ruth McKernan and RCUK Chair Phil Nelson) said nothing (not even reading between the lines) beyond welcoming the announcement and reiterating some of the competitions it will fund.

The IoP’s Paul Hardaker called it a sign of the Government’s confidence in UK research and the IoP welcomed the support this offers for researchers as well as to technical education through the new T-levels.

The Royal Academy of Engineering, represented by Dame Ann Dowling, said:

“Improving productivity across the country is vital, and I am glad to hear of measures from the National Productivity Investment Fund to enhance digital infrastructure and tackle traffic congestion. Engineering currently underpins at least 20% of UK gross value added, and the changes announced today will help us to grow that contribution.”

See the RAEng’s full response here.

Unusually, there was no specific response by the Royal Society who had previously commented on the Chancellor’s major investment announcements in the 2016 Autumn Statement.



See also:




Matter PR promotes EU’s digital incubator for photonics

Apr 10, 2017 in news

ACTPHAST, the EU’s digital incubator for photonics, has asked Matter PR to help promote their success stories and raise awareness of their services among a wider range of industry sectors.

logo-actACTPHAST (Access CenTer for PHotonics innovAtion Solutions and Technology Support) is a unique “one-stop-shop” for supporting photonics innovation by European companies, which is financially supported by the European Commission under the FP7 framework.

Matter PR have already promoted one project with the company Holoxica, a UK-based initiative to develop an interactive holographic video that can display live footage of internal organs such as a beating heart.

ACTPHAST supports and accelerates the innovation capacity of European companies by providing them with direct access to the expertise and state-of-the-art facilities of Europe’s leading photonics research centres (the ACTPHAST Partners), enabling companies to exploit the tremendous commercial potential of applied photonics. There are 23 research institutes who together make up the ACTPHAST Partners.

Together the ACTPHAST Partners provide a full spectrum of photonics technology platforms ranging from fibre optics and micro optics, to highly integrated photonic platforms, with capabilities extending from design through to full system prototyping.

It has been geographically configured to ensure all of Europe’s companies can avail of timely, cost-effective, and low risk photonics innovation support, and that the extensive range of capabilities within the consortium can impact across a wide range of industrial sectors and application domains, from communications to consumer-related products, and life sciences to industrial manufacturing.

The ACTPHAST program is particularly suited to the needs of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who do not have the financial resources to invest in in-house R&D expertise and state-of-the-art technologies, nor to undertake risky innovation projects.

Over the next year, Matter PR will continue to work with the outreach team at ACTPHAST to promote successful collaborations and help them reach small and medium-sized companies from many different industry sectors.

Find out more here.


Science in the UK’s Spring Budget: Briefing

Mar 8, 2017 in news

Today’s up-beat Budget announced by Britain’s chancellor Philip Hammond contained good news for science and engineering with investments of over £500 million for research talent, robotics, and electric vehicles. Here’s Matter PR’s round-up of what the Budget means for science and technology.


Last month, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced an investment of £229 million to support research and innovation to deliver the UK’s Industrial Strategy. This created two new national centres, the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials and the Rosalind Franklin Institute, a centre of excellence for the life and physical sciences.

Today, the chancellor said he wants to “prepare Britain for a global future”. He made it clear that science and innovation is a key part of making Britain the “best place in the World to do business” with a range of investments worth over £500M — part of the £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

“Brightest and best research talent”

The NPIF will invest a total of £250M in funding to build the pipeline of highly skilled research talent for a “growing and innovative economy”. £90M will be used to provide an additional 1000 PhD places in areas of the UK critical to the Industrial Strategy. 40% will be focused on improving collaboration between academia and business through industry partnerships. A further £160M will support new fellowships for early and mid-career researchers in areas aligned to the Industrial Strategy.

Global research talent

£100M will be used to attract the best minds to the UK over the next four years to make it a world leader in science and engineering. £50M will be ring fenced for “fellowship programmes to attract global talent” and a further £50M from existing international funds will be used to attract researchers from “emerging powerhouses” such as India, China, Brazil, and Mexico.

Disruptive Tech

The chancellor announced an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) which will support collaborations between business and the UK science base. It will make an initial investment of £270M to kickstart developments that “have the potential to transform the UK’s economy” such as robotics, biotechnology, and driverless vehicles. Key areas for support include:

* Development, design, and manufacture of batteries that will power the next generation of electric vehicles and reduce air pollution.

* Robotics and AI systems for extreme and hazardous environments such as offshore energy, nuclear power, and Space.

* Medicine manufacturing technologies that accelerate patient access to new drugs and treatments.

5G and Broadband

£16M for a new 5G National Innovation Network to trial and demonstrate new 5G applications. A further £200M was announced to leverage private sector investment in fibre broadband for local initiatives.

The Budget also contained continued support for the Oil and Gas industry through a package of tax incentives and support for specialist “Maths” schools.


Detailed information on these announcements will be revealed in the coming days. Full analysis will appear in the next Matter PR newsletter due out at the end of March.

Campaign highlights Armyworm invasion in Africa

Feb 23, 2017 in news

Campaign highlights Armyworm invasion in Africa

Earlier this month, Matter PR led a global media campaign on new research by scientists at CABI which confirmed that a new invasive species of crop-destroying Armyworm is now spreading rapidly across Mainland Africa and could result in devastating loses to crops and farmers’ livelihoods.

The campaign raised awareness of the threat to agricultural trade and the need for urgent action to help farmers and researchers working in affected areas to accurately identify and work out the best strategies to control this new pest.

It resulted in over 350 pieces of media coverage around the World, reaching an audience well in excess of 12.9M people. It provoked widespread concern on social media with over 40,000 social shares and responses from key Government agencies including the UN and resulted in an emergency UN meeting being called in Harare to discuss the issue.

Amongst the first wave of media to cover the story was the BBC and Reuters News. BBC News covered the Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 12.30.58story extensively on BBC World and BBC Radio World Service including interviews with CABI expert Dr Janny Vos on BBC Newsday and Newshour.

Fall armyworm is native to North and South America and can devastate maize production, the staple food crop that is essential for food security in large areas of Africa. It destroys young plants, attacking their growing points and burrowing into the cobs.

CABI Chief Scientist, Dr. Matthew Cock said, “We are now able to confirm that the fall army worm is spreading very rapidly outside the Americas, and it can be expected to spread to the limits of suitable African habitat within just a few years. It likely travelled to Africa as adults or egg masses on direct commercial flights and has since been spread within Africa by its own strong flight ability and carried as a contaminant on crop produce.”

An indigenous pest in the Americas, it has not previously been established outside the region. In the past year, it was found in parts of West Africa for the first time and now a CABI-led investigation has confirmed it to be established in Ghana. It can be expected to spread to the limits of suitable African habitat within a few years.

Plant doctors working in CABI’s Plantwise plant clinics, which work to help farmers lose less of what they grow, have found evidence of two species of fall armyworm in Ghana for the first time. This has been confirmed by DNA analysis undertaken at CABI’s molecular laboratory in Egham, Surrey (UK). In Africa, researchers are working to understand how it got there, how it spreads, and how farmers can control it in an environmentally friendly way.

Known as the fall armyworm because it migrates into temperate North America in Autumn (fall), this pest has long been a problem throughout tropical America, damaging vital crops. It mostly affects maize (corn) but it has been recorded eating more than 100 different plant species, causing major damage to economically important cultivated grass crops such as maize, rice, sorghum and sugarcane as well as other crops including cabbage, beet, peanut, soybean, alfalfa, onion, cotton, pasture grasses, millet, tomato, potato and cotton.

Damage to maize crops was investigated at three different survey areas within Ghana and the caterpillars associated with the damage were photographed, collected, and sent to the CABI laboratory in Egham, UK for analysis. Once samples are received in the lab, a small portion of each caterpillar is removed for molecular testing. DNA is isolated from the cells, and a specific gene is amplified, sequenced, then compared against authenticated ‘barcode’ sequences for definitive identification.

Fall armyworm is native to North and South America and can devastate maize production, the staple food crop that is essential for food security in large areas of Africa. It destroys young plants, attacking their growing points and burrowing into the cobs.


An indigenous pest in the Americas, it has not previously been established outside the region. In the past year, it was found in parts of West Africa for the first time and now a CABI-led investigation has confirmed it to be established in Ghana. It can be expected to spread to the limits of suitable African habitat within a few years.

Plant doctors working in CABI’s Plantwise plant clinics, which work to help farmers lose less of what they grow, have found evidence of two species of fall armyworm in Ghana for the first time. This has been confirmed by DNA analysis undertaken at CABI’s molecular laboratory in Egham, Surrey (UK). In Africa, researchers are working to understand how it got there, how it spreads, and how farmers can control it in an environmentally friendly way.


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International biosciences centre hires Matter PR


Top Ten Most Influential Tech News Platforms

Feb 23, 2017 in news

In 1899, Charles Duell, Commissioner of US patent office, is alleged to have said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Yet over a century later, we are in awe on a daily basis by the technological wonders that pop up to improve our lives. With so much technology to keep track of, and so many technology websites, here’s a guide to some of the most influential technology news platforms from around the world.

Here’s Matter PR’s Top Ten in reverse order…

10The Verge 49.3 m

The Verge website remains a popular choice for technophiles and gamers alike and is renowned for its reviews of new products. Even if you are not a tech fan, you will not fail to love The Verge’s unique ‘Circuit Breaker’ blog.


9Digital Trends 50.9 m

With news for gamers, smart phones, photographers, computers, and other cool technological innovations, Digital Trends covers everything for Android and Apple users alike. Unlike many of its competitors, DT actively engages with its readers by directly marketing the technology it talks about. On its ‘Deals’ page, users can pick up some very expensive products with large reductions, whereas the ‘Giveaways’ section, viewers have the chance to win some of the latest new tech on the market. This always ensures a loyal readership.

8Mashable 53.4 m

By its own admission, Mashable is the ‘go-to source for tech digital culture and entertainment content’. With over 53 million monthly visitors, Mashable has remained in the top ten most popular tech websites on many reviewers’ lists for a long time.

With vital information on the latest social media, tech, business, entertainment, Mashable manages to pull off what lesser websites wish they could do, or simply fail to do: they know what’s cool and how to present content it in a slick, professional manner. Their video section contains well-presented, well-researched and amusing items.

74PDA 53.8 m (Russia)
clients43With an impressive 53.8 million monthly visitors, the Russian computing website 4PDA provides information on an array of topics, from communicators, computers, smart phones, e-book readers, tablets, navigational equipment and any other mobile devices.

6Engadget 55.7 

A stalwart of technological news and gadget reviews, Engadget remains in the upper rankings of many reviewers’ ‘top 10s’. With over 55.7 million monthly visitors and with topics as diverse as AV, Space, Computing, Wearables, Transportation, Internet, Entertainment, Gaming and Culture, and with a selection of well-written, unique and informative blogs, we can see why.

5 –  Life Hacker 69.1 m

Some of the most popular videos on Youtube are the ‘how to…’ uploads, so it is no wonder that Lifehacker, with its general life tips and tricks and copious amounts of easily palatable ‘5 things to…’ help propel the monthly visitors over the 69 million mark.  When Lifehacker also adds in its unique features on money and its ‘Dealhacker’ sections, this website looks to stay in the top five for a long time.

4Comment Ca Marche 69.6 m (France)

The French website ‘Comment Ca Marche’ (or ‘how it works’) began as a simple computer magazine at the turn of the millennium. Since then it has (according to La Tribune) rocketed into the top five websites in France, giving way only to behemoths like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and France Telecom.

A whopping 69.6 million viewers per month log on to the CCM website to access its many downloadable features, from apps and programs on a plethora of platforms, such as Linux, Mac, Windows, Android, BlackBerry and Windows.

3Gizmodo 80.9 m

For people who are obsessed with gadgets, Gizmodo offers a technological haven. Tailoring the news to users in a specific country (, or for example), Gizmodo does an excellent job of addressing its audience.

Catering for all users, from Ios, Android, Apple, to Windows, Gizmodo provides features on everything from cameras, tablets, smart phones, from the very large to the miniscule.

Proving that its creators have a sense of humour, Gizmodo’s ‘WTF’ section shows a roundup of the week’s silliest technology stories, and distinguishing it from its peers.

2GSM Arena 84.8 m (India)

Although exclusively a mobile phone review website, GSM Arena has a significant monthly reach and impact for smart phone technology. While we could argue that a successful website in India, with the second highest population in the world (according to worldometers 2017) would have a larger reach anyway, GSM Arena, with its slick and easy to navigate design, has capitalised on the consumer interest of one of the most important products of 21st century life.

And finally, the number one most influential Tech News platform…

1CNet 222.3 m6a00d83451b1af69e2010534993db6970b-600wi

At over 220 million monthly visitors, CNet is categorically the worlds most visited and popular technology review website, and therefore our firm choice for the most influential technology website on the internet.

Founded in 1994 by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie, it was the flagship brand of CNET Networks and became a brand of CBS Interactive through CNET Networks’ acquisition in 2008. delivers a wide range of news, put together by extremely well-informed writers on new tech, developments on the internet, social media, computing, smart phones, photography, security, tech culture, to name but a few.

With the potential exposure, having your product featured on CNet can accelerate the sales or commercial development, making the difference between your product doing well and being extremely successful. For this reason CNet towers above its competitors, and is our number one slot for influence.



We Heart Holograms

Feb 23, 2017 in news

We Heart Holograms

Matter PR are promoting a UK-based project to develop an interactive holographic video that can display live footage of internal organs such as a beating heart, delivering a breakthrough in medical imaging and education.

Watching your heart beat, your lungs inflate, or your unborn child in life size as a hologram that can be rotated or enlarged in real time is no longer the stuff of science fiction thanks to engineers at Holoxica Limited, who are developing a moving 3D video hologram.

Matter PR are working with the digital incubator ACTPHAST who are supporting the project. Actphast is a ‘one-stop shop’ digital incubator designed to provide open access to photonics innovation support for eligible European companies, and photonics technology.

With no need for 3D specs or a virtual reality headset, the dynamic or ‘moving video’ 3rd Generation holograms are made by gathering multiple ‘slices’ of an internal organ, such as a brain or a liver, from a normal CT or MRI scanner. These ‘slices’ of data are then assembled through a ‘diffractive holographic screen’, producing single colour green pixels, or ‘voxels’, in mid-air and essentially bending light to the will of the user.

Hologram specialists Holoxica have linked photonics technology with their 1st and 2nd Generation holographic motion displays to develop one of the most revered gadgets of science fiction, an idea that never seemed to take off in real life.

Instead of trying to create a mythical “Star Wars” display, Holoxica took a more pragmatic approach by starting with the simplest holographic display, a single pixel, or ‘voxel’, in 3D space, that could be switched on or off.

Holoxica’s CEO, Dr Javid Khan explains:

“After the first voxel, we moved on to two, working up to 4, then 9, then 16 voxels and so on. Our images are not projected; they are holographically reconstructed using diffractive optics. Projection implies scattering off a surface, but here there is no surface, only air. We are using photonics design and engineering of diffractive optical elements to bend or form light to produce images in mid-air.”

“Although we are looking at targeting medical, scientific and engineering imaging fields to start with, holographic video will change gaming, communication and create a new digital revolution,” Dr Khan enthused.


With the possibility to isolate features, zoom in, rotate and pan around 3D space, the 3rd Generation dynamic display presents an array of exciting opportunities for the future of surgery and anatomical study.

“Take current imaging techniques like CT scans where radiologists are trained to interpret the multiple levels of data, or ‘slices’ of the brain. Medical consultants, specialists and surgeons are not trained to do this and therefore need to build up a mental stack of the scans or rely on second-hand interpretation.”

“For the first time, a physician will be able to see a tumour in an impossible part of the brain and make an informed decision. This is also easier for patients to understand what is going on. Teaching anatomy with this device will give students a hitherto unrivalled understanding.”

While Augmented and Virtual Reality both have their strengths, both rely on an artificial separation from the real world, a point Holoxica are keen to exploit.

“VR headsets have fundamental limitations which makes them unsuitable for a true 3D experience. These technologies do not recreate a true 3D image: they present a pair of 2D images to both eyes.”

“This stereo disparity leads to a poor 3D experience as it is fundamentally unacceptable to the human brain, resulting in problems such as motion sickness, dizziness and nausea. The headsets also mess up your hair and provide a potential breeding ground for bacteria.”

Earlier this year the Holoxica received a grant of €1.3 million from the EU via the European Union’s Horizon 2020, after a successful partnership with ACTPHAST, the ‘one-stop shop’ digital incubator designed to provide open access to photonics innovation support for eligible European companies.