Oxford University turns to Cornish PR


The world’s leading university for social sciences has turned to a Cornwall-based public relations consultant for communications support.

Rachel Picken, an independent chartered PR operating as Agile PR, has been awarded a six-month PR and communications contract with University of Oxford’s social sciences division.

The contract comes off the back of a smaller piece of work with the university’s heritage department, plus Picken’s work last year with University of Bristol around the UK industrial strategy and research commercialisation.

The current project supports the newly-formed business engagement and partnerships team, as well as the research impact team, to communicate succinctly what they do to support academics internally as well as businesses and organisations externally.

Picken said: “I pride myself in taking on interesting, challenging and strategic briefs, which is why I’m so excited to be working with Oxford’s social sciences division.

“Researchers across the social sciences division at Oxford are delivering world-changing impactful research. They are absolutely top of their game globally, and they deserve communications to match.

“This piece of work involves supporting two separate teams with content strategies and plans to cement their expertise amongst the academic community and with external organisations that might want to partner with Oxford for research projects.

“What’s really positive about this project is being able to work closely with the existing team and communications manager to add capacity, bring an external perspective and implement current best practice.”

Esther Brown, head of business engagement and partnerships for social sciences and humanities divisions, who led the contract said: “As a new team we have a complex landscape of stakeholders and a limited amount of time and resource.

“Working with Agile PR has helped our team to stop and think strategically about what we want from a communications plan, what is possible and how it will help us achieve our ambitious goals.

“Rachel is the additional member of my team and I can parachute her into any meeting with very little information and trust she will add value. Rachel is an excellent sounding board and sense maker and is focused on results orientated communications.”

University of Oxford Social Sciences was ranked the world’s best institution for social sciences by Times Higher Education World University Rankings in October 2018.