BSc minor Communication in Life Science Contexts (WUELC)

This advanced BSc Minor Effective Communication in Life Science Contexts deals with several aspects of the relation between scientific research and communication practice.

Continue to an overview of the courses in this minor

In their future work, many students with a life science or social science background will be confronted with societal responses to research findings, the setting of research agenda's in support of societal innovation, and the design of communication research as a preparation for communication planning. In this minor students come to grips with the different ways in which communication can relate to research.

The BSc minor starts with a course in Risk Communication. This course deals especially with the way in which research findings (e.g. life science technologies such as bio-technology and bio-nanotechnology) enter society, and are interpreted by 'non-experts'. Attention is paid to different appreciations of science and technology, and the way in which societal risk perceptions come about. In the course Innovation Management and Transdisciplinary Design students learn about the roles that disciplinary and interdisciplinary research may play in innovation processes. The course introduces recent theoretical insights from innovation theory and students link these insights to prominent approaches to interdisciplinary diagnosis, analysis, design and research planning. In this course, students learn to look at research as an integral component of societal innovation trajectories.

The course internet based Communication and Learning for social Change investigates how the digital age affects communication between scientists and societal audiences, and the way people learn about contested issues relating to environment, sustainability, health, biodiversity and natural resource management. In the course Research for Effective Communication students learn how to develop a communication science research proposal that is relevant to making strategic choices in the preparation and development of communicative interventions (campaigns, process plans, communication plans). In the final course Designing Communication Interventions students can apply the insights gained by developing a coherent communication plan.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:

  • assess the relationships that exist between communication and research and judge the theoretical assumptions behind a variety of communication methods;
  • analyse the dynamics of communication between 'experts' and 'non-experts' as well as the way in which risk perceptions come about;
  • design practical strategies for risk communication;
  • distinguish the roles that disciplinary and interdisciplinary research (including research planning) may play in innovation processes;
  • execute a socio-technical problem analysis, and develop an interdisciplinary research agenda for conventional or collaborative research;
  • analyse strategic choices in the preparation and development of communicative interventions and design a theoretically underpinned communication plan.

Target group

This advanced minor is intended for life science and social science students who have already obtained introductory knowledge of communication studies (Introduction to Communication and Innovation Studies, or Introduction to Strategic Communication) and who are interested in the relation between communication and research.


Dutch and English


Second semester (period 4, 5 and 6)

Programme or thematic

Programme minor