Project news & updates

Reporters Join Researchers in the Fight Against Cancer

19 November 2009 | PROJECT NEWS


Cancer claimed 7.4 million lives in 2004 and that number could rise to 12 million by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. Key to fighting cancer is to understand not only how it starts but also how it spreads within the body, a process known as metastasis. To this end, researchers are studying the link between metastasis and the viability of lymphatic systems and then sharing their findings with the EU’s ‘REsearch LAbs for TEaching Journalists’ (RELATE). 

The Lymphatic and Cancer Bioengineering lab at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) is doing pioneering work on the physiology and biology of lymphatic transport, how it affects cancer metastasis and immune cell trafficking. To help explain this research to the general public, the lab will host a group of young journalists as part of RELATE from 16-20 November. 

RELATE brings scientists face to face with next generation journalists in a two-way learning curve. The reporters will shadow and interview researchers, write daily blogs and produce a final article, audio or video piece. This should demystify the research, be engaging, balanced and accurate, while exploring the possible impacts and benefits for society. The young journalists will then pitch their work to mainstream and science media with the help of the European Journalism Centre. 

The programme aims to build bridges across Europe: between scientists, journalists and the rest of society. It is also a showcase for cutting-edge cooperation between the EU and candidate countries. 


RELATE project was launched early this month with the visit of five students to the Nanotechnology Research Center of the Bilkent University in Ankara (Turkey). Seven students followed them in Rome, visiting several laboratories at ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development). A second application window is open until 30 November 2009, feeding the following rounds in March and November 2010. Journalism students, particularly from new member states and candidate countries, are encouraged to apply online at:

NOTES FOR EDITORS: RELATE is a project funded by the European Commission under the Science in Society research area of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Up to 80 young journalists will visit labs across Europe, interview researchers, then publish their findings. Their articles should ‘make sense of science’ for a non-specialist audience. Project partners include Minerva Consulting and Communication (Belgium), the European Journalism Centre (The Netherlands), and three European research bodies: ENEA (Italy), EPFL (Switzerland) and TÜBITAK (Turkey). 

Embedded Science Reporting with RELATE
Week-long encounters brought journalists and researchers together, getting researchers out of ivory towers and journalists out of deadlines. These punctual collaborations paved the way to a more knowledgeable and trust-based relationship between researchers and journalists, improving, ultimately, the quality of science reporting.