Ten VU teams of scientists ‘Appreciated’ for their commitment to science communication

Although interaction between science and society is of enormous importance, science communication is still far from being recognised as integral to the tasks of science. The pilot fund ‘Science communication by scientists: Appreciated!’ – set up by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and administered by the Academy – takes a step towards showcasing and rewarding the many scientists who have dedicated themselves to science communication.

04/22/2021 | 9:00 AM

Large contribution to VU Amsterdam
Each team has received € 10,000. The following VU scientists have been honored for their research:
Majorie van Duursen (SCIENCE) professor of Toxicology translates scientific knowledge and makes lay people aware of the health and environmental risks of chemical substances, including plastics.

Professor of Molecular Neurodegeneration Wiep Scheper (SCIENCE) explains what happens in the brains of people with dementia and why fundamental research is essential to find a solution to the disease.

Professor of Developmental Psychology Sander Begeer (Faculty of Bahavioural and Movement Sciences) wants to use the Dutch Autism Register to better understand autism and to better support people with autism.

The Netherlands Twin Register (FGB) led by secretary Natascha Stroo communicates about research projects in twin families and makes findings known to NTR participants and the general public.

Philosopher and lawyer Martijn Stronks (RCH) tries with www.verblijfblog.nl to increase the quality of reporting on migration law themes by providing current affairs with legal facts and backgrounds.

Professor of Theology Gijsbert van den Brink (Faculty of Religion and Theology) talks to religious groups that are critical of generally accepted results of scientific research (evolution, climate change).

Professor of Anthropology of Resources Marjo de Theije (Faculty of Social Sciences) facilitates and makes research into social and ecological crises accessible, in order to contribute to social discussions about global citizenship.

Professor of Media Psychology Elly Konijn (Faculty of Social Sciences) is engaged in the development of social robots that can contribute to society, especially for older people.

Physiologist Josine de Winter (Medicine) is committed to informing young people about congenital and hereditary heart and skeletal muscle diseases.

Professor of Prevention in Oral Care Dagmar Else Slot (Faculty of Dentristy) conducts research into how to keep your mouth fresh and healthy by translating prevention and therapy of periodontal diseases into use in daily oral care practice.

Networking and knowledge-sharing
To maximise the response to the fund’s one-off incentive, apply the lessons learned through the fund directly, and draw on the experience that the various faculties around the country have gained with many different forms of science communication, a supplementary programme is being organised on the theme ‘Science communication by scientists’. An extensive programme of activities will follow in 2021 and 2022 that will focus on knowledge-sharing, training in public engagement, an impact study by the Athena Institute (VU Amsterdam), a closing conference, and a final report offering guidelines to help knowledge institutions appreciate and facilitate science communication by scientists. The Academy is developing and will carry out the programme in cooperation with Samenweten.

About the fund
Appreciated! is meant for ongoing science communication projects being carried out by teams of scientists. A total of 96 applications have been submitted by 62 faculties, with all Dutch universities participating. Of these, 91 have been awarded funding. See the Academy website for a list of the award recipients. The Appreciated! fund is in line with the new approach to recognising and rewarding scientists that was recently introduced in the Dutch knowledge sector. The fund was set up by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and is being administered by the Academy.