BSc minor Communication in Life Science Contexts (WUELC)

In the advanced BSc programme minor Communication in Life Science Contexts, students explore the relation between life science research and strategic communication.

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 and the setting of research agenda's in support of societal innovation. In this minor students learn about different ways in which research in life science domains can relate to communication.

The 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 and Transformation 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 Life Sciences for Communication Scientists, students are introduced to key concepts and research problems in the life-sciences, and how to use models and theories from science communication to study ways of thinking about technology and societal change in the life-sciences.

In the final course Designing Communication Interventions students can apply the insights gained in the minor by developing a coherent communication plan aimed at influencing a societal challenge, such as climate change, health or sustainability.

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;
  • apply models and theories from science communication to understand key concepts and research problems in the life-sciences;
  • analyse strategic choices in the preparation and development of communicative interventions to address societal challenges.

Target audience

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 science communication and the relation between life sciences and strategic communication.


Dutch and English


Second semester (period 4, 5 and 6)

Programme or thematic minor

Programme minor