The Doherty Institute Communications Team

Meet the 2020 recipients of the Excellence in Engagement—Public Value award

Rebecca Elliott leads the Doherty Institute’s  Communications Team, which received the Excellence in Engagement—Public Value award for their successful communications strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award recognised the work of the whole team, which also included Catherine Somerville, Natalie Booth and Kayla Robertson, for their achievements in engaging and influencing the public and other key stakeholders beyond the academy.

It was fantastic to have the recognition of the Faculty and our peers as the team put in an extraordinary effort over a very intense period, Rebecca Elliott

During a momentous year, the Communications Team supported the Doherty Institute to maximise national and international recognition for their research and public health expertise that put them at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The team proactively responded to an unprecedented level of media enquiries, adapted to manage Zoom media conferences for major research breakthroughs, and launched a weekly column with the institute’s patron and namesake, Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, now a book, An Insider’s Plague Year, published by Melbourne University Press.

Because of the team’s work, the Doherty Institute saw exponential growth in media mentions, social media following, website visits, and significant philanthropic support over the year.

Rebecca has some advice for those contemplating applying for an award this year, “Go for it! Put your best put forward. Make sure you’re really adhering to the selection criteria, and use evidence to showcase your impact,” , she says.

The team used the funds from the awards to purchase podcast equipment that enabled them to make the first season of their podcast, Infection and Immunity – Evidence Explained. Launched in March 2021, the fortnightly podcast delivers informed and trusted information from experts in an understandable, engaging format for a general audience.