Digital comms update: May 2018 – EMBL Communications

EMBL Communications

Informing, inspiring, and engaging society with EMBL’s research, services and training

Digital comms update: May 2018

We’re trying a new thing.

Every month, I will be letting you know what we’ve done during that month, and what we’re planning next. We’ll also send out an email – let me know if you want to be added to the list.

Why are we doing this? To keep you all up to date! It’s really important that you know what we’re doing and what we’re planning so that we can act on any opportunities.

This post is quite long. Please read it at your leisure. Over time, we’ll tweak how we do this to be more efficient, but, as always, we think it’s better to start and course-correct as we go. I hope it goes without saying if you have any questions, thoughts or concerns to let me know!

Last month


  • INTRANET: We ran the first web retreat in HD with web development teams from EBI, HD, and members of the communications team.
  • DESIGN: Participated in a design sprint for logo and colours
  • BYNDER: We overcame the last few technical hurdles. Bynder now works with EMBL SSO and is on its own EMBL subdomain: https://resources.embl.org
  • BYNDER TRAINING: Cian and Spilios attended ‘train the trainer’ training for Bynder ready for rolling out the system department wide.
  • CONTENT: Laura ran several workshops in HD and Rome. The first in a series of training initiatives to empower content creators across EMBL and to reduce the support overhead of our team.
  • PLATFORM: We appointed Trilby Media to begin building Grav and WordPress themes based on the new visual framework.
  • EMBL.ORG: Cian has started a full content audit of all of our digital channels in preparation for the EMBL.org redesign project.
  • EMBL.ORG: Cian started work on a taxonomy project. Our meta data around content and media is going to be critical in the future to help us share content between digital things. Central to this is the taxonomy. He spoke with EBI on EDAM ontology and ran tests using URL fragments from embl.de and the intranet.
  • CONTENT: Launched beta version of EMBL overview calendar
  • SOCIAL: GDPRed our newsletter
  • SOCIAL: @embl published our best ever performing tweet. (https://twitter.com/embl/status/989053151734005760)


  • Mark presented at SmashingConf in San Francisco
  • We’re working on setting up our own server with IT to run prototype projects as well as comms.embl.org
  • Spilios was appointed Digital Editor (hurray!)
  • We enjoyed a few public holidays and the odd beer in the sun

Next month


  • PLATFORM: We expect delivery of the Grav and WordPress themes from Trilby ready for rollout across our own blog, and ready for the Barcelona micro site project kickoff.
  • INTRANET: We will work on releasing the first beta release of the intranet springboard as an opt-in pilot on HD and EBI intranets. More info on this next month.
  • EMBL.ORG: Conduct a full crawl of all existing EMBL URLs. Analyse output and plan for audit.
  • EMBL.ORG: Conduct a taxonomy workshop to audit existing terms and reorganise them to establish the new ones we need.
  • SOCIAL: Build workflow and guidelines to trial an instagram take over by EMBLers at Nobel Lindau meeting
  • EMBL.ORG/SOCIAL: Begin Alpha work on EMBL.org landing pages. Including social integration, user research and defining KPRs.
  • SOCIAL: Develop social campaign to support EIPOD call
  • BYNDER: Supporting the incorporation of Bynder in the team’s workflows (initial workshop, training HD and EBI Strat Comms team members).
  • BYNDER: Begin initial population of images


  • In June, Ken Hawkins joins the team from EBI in a 50% capacity. He will be located in HD.
  • Our new Digital Intern will start w/c 4th June. His name is Filipe and will be sat with the team in HD. Spilios and Cian will be spending a lot of time on-boarding and training.
  • Mark will be in HD w/c 4th June

Coming up

  • We have a follow-up web retreat workshop in July. The plan is to continue the frequency of these as we start to build a  cross-EMBL digital delivery team
  • A freelance frontend developer, Stu Robson, will be joining the team through to the end of the year working with Ken on expanding the scope of the EBI Visual Framework to encompass all of EMBL. This is a whopper of a project and we’ll be working very closely with our colleagues in EBI and with Tabea and her team.

What did we learn?

Our work is becoming more visible internally. Earlier in the year, we communicated our two year roadmap clearly to many stakeholders across the organisation and that work is clearly paying off. However, projects are beginning to mushroom and compete for our attention. Legacy is still an issue; technically, institutionally and processes. Despite this, we’re making great progress.

Thank you!

Digital Communications Team
Laura, Cian, Spilios, Mark, (and soon: Ken and Filipe)