Communication department of the Plant science Group

Students doing an internship take part in the day-to-day business of the communications department and get the opportunity to carry out a project of her/his own. The team often has several options for projects that can be ‘shaped’ to the needs and wishes of the student.

Communication Plant at Wageningen University & Research

The communication department of the Plant Sciences Group (PSG) of Wageningen University & Research supports all communication about plant-oriented research of Wageningen University & Research, having a focus on the support of the university- and contract research groups within the PSG. The team, consisting of three advisors, supports in many communication disciplines like internal communication, marketing communication, press relations and science communication. The communication advisors often operate on the ‘boundary’ of biology and communication. That is why a background in both biology (BSc) and communication (MSc) has benefits when working for PSG.

A few examples

Research on A new ‘name’ for synthetic biology: valuable or stupid?
Scientists think that the term ‘synthetic biology’ causes negative emotions at the public. Are they right? And if they are, would it be wise to choose to use a different name for this specific research approach in life sciences? Or will consumers regard this as a marketing trick? Some pretesting at presentations showed that consumers are okay with something like ‘designing biology’ when time allows to explains everything thoroughly. But readers of newspapers may response differently. And how will societal organisations response. Will something like ‘Designing biology, also kown as synthetic biology, ....’ work? 
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Make ‘persona’ that describe the different stakeholder groups of the contract research
When making communication items like webpages, one tries to keep in mind the context of the reader. But there is no such thing as ‘the reader’. That makes life tough: how to make texts and choose pictures that have the best impact. In business to consumer marketing organisations sometimes choose to make personas that describe clients and other stakeholders. These generalised person-descriptions allow writers and photographers to take these persons in mind before starting to work. Perhaps this could also help in the business to business marketing of research. We would like to learn about B2B experience and develop several personas, probably for a specific product/market combination.
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Research on: How to communicate about biological control without getting consumers worried
Biological control sounds very positive to people who know what it means. But people confronted for the first time show very disapproving responses and ask question that shows that the term is not easily correctly understood. How could we skip this problem?
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Research among readers of Plant Life
Plant Life is the digital newsletter about the research of Wageningen University & Research. For this newsletter, articles are written by freelance journalists. The subjects cover all of Wageningen, ranging from fundamental research to applied research. We try to carry out a readers survey every few years. Of course reading statistics are produced and monitored. This gives quantitative information and does not explain about the ‘why’ of the stats. A survey among the readers can help to get this information, thus allowing us to further improve Plant Life. Or to stop publishing it.
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