Science from one-way to two-way communication
The government in the Netherlands sincerely believes in investigating in innovation. It has created a structure of nine themes (top sectors) with potential for economic growth. As the Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agricultural and food products two themes have been identified in this field of agriculture and food. Worldwide, Wageningen University & Research centre is one of the leading institutes in these topics .
Annually, the ministry of Economic Affairs invests over 140 million euros in research at Wageningen UR, resulting in more than 1000 projects each year. As the funds are public money, Wageningen UR is obliged to publish all research projects and results. For this purpose it has created a website (www.kennisonline.nl), which receives 50.000 unique visitors. A digital newsletter, a printed magazine and social media complete the communication mix of KennisOnline. Since 2013 videos replace the magazine, creating a younger, diversified, more international and extended audience.
Despite these efforts the communication remains one way, researchers perform the research and provide the results online to the public. A few research groups on specific research topics however succeeded in more interactive ways of communication. One such group was active on research in organic agriculture. Their research was coordinated in close collaboration with the farmers and industry and therefore demand driven. The research results were as such more targeted as they answered questions from the target audience itself. As such the results were also provided in ways that really answered the needs and habits of the audience. A website for background information, factsheets for practical information and meetings to discuss the results, answer specific questions and ask new ones. The programme receives high marks on recognition and user friendliness, confirming the thought that two-way communication is more effective that one-way communication.