CPT-14306 Life Sciences for Communication Scientists


Studiepunten 6.00

Individual Paper4
Group work4
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. BC Mulder
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. AJH van Vliet
dr. BC Mulder
Examiner(s)dr. BC Mulder

Language of instruction:



This course introduces communication students to key concepts and research problems in the life-sciences. Using models and theories from science communication, it surveys dominant and alternative ways of thinking about technology and societal change in the life-sciences. The course concentrates on six domains: health, food, urbanisation, climate change, natural resource management, and sustainability related to food and fibre production. At the end of the course, students will be able to make an informed choice which of the six domains to select as their focus area ('track') in following courses and their BSc thesis. The course will address aspects of science communication that enable students to understand the rationale of natural scientific and social scientific reasoning. The course follows a basic understanding of complex societal issues in life-science related domains. It starts with an introduction into the basics of interdisciplinary collaboration between life-sciences and communication science and practice. The main part of the course introduces students to elementary natural science concepts addressing issues around health, food, urbanisation, climate change, natural resource management and sustainability related to food and fibre production. The final part addresses the commonalities and specifics of various life-science approaches and reflects on the implications for communication theory, research and practice.

Learning outcomes:

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

- describe examples of life- science based approaches to complex societal problems in six specific life science domains
(health, food, urbanisation, climate change, natural resource management, and sustainability related to food and fibre production);

- use science communication models and approaches to explain relevant issues for strategic communication within
the life science domains, including tensions and opportunities in the communication between life scientists and societal stakeholders;

- apply science communication models and approaches to formulate and critically assess goals and means to effectively
communicate these issues;

- apply science communication principles to produce a communication item, e.g. a feature article, about societal
issues in a life science domain;

- reflect on the case for collaboration between life-sciences and communication theory, research and practice in
addressing complex societal challenges, and the added value of interdisciplinary collaboration;

- justify the choice of one of the six life science domains as the focus area ('track') in their minor program.


This course consists of (guest) lectures, group work and literature study. The (guest) lectures on the life-science content are given by experts for the relevant disciplines. Co-teaching between communication and life-science experts will allow students to understand and appreciate the nature of interdisciplinary collaboration approaches to complex societal issues. Selected cases will provide students with first-hand insights into the practice of life-science research. Students will work in groups to report and reflect on life-science concepts, practices and contributions to societal issues.


Group assignments (50%);

Individual written exam (50%).

For successful completion of the course, students need a minimum mark of 5.5 for each component.


To be announced.

Verplicht voor: BCLCommunication and Life SciencesBSc5MO