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Course module: BMB614319
Engaging Scientists with the Public (online course)
Course infoSchedule
Course codeBMB614319
ECTS Credits3
Category / LevelM (M (Master))
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Medicine; Graduate School of Life Sciences; Graduate School of Life Sciences, fac. GNK;
Contact persondrs. F.W. van Dam
Course contact
drs. F.W. van Dam
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
BMS_P2_A  (14/11/2022 to 05/02/2023)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slot-: Timeslot not applicable
Study mode
RemarkTaught twice a year: P2_A 14 Nov 2022 - 3 Feb 2023 and P4_A 24 Apr - 30 Jun 2023. Register via Osiris Student.
Enrolment periodfrom 19/09/2022 up to and including 02/10/2022
Course application processOsiris Student
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Post-registration openfrom 24/10/2022 up to and including 25/10/2022
Waiting listYes
Course placement processadministratie onderwijsinstituut
Course goals
After successful completion of this online course, the student can:
  1. Explain/analyze the complex relationship between science and society;
  2. Explain what science communication is, in particular in relation to public engagement;
  3. Assess activities of public engagement based on design, learning, behavioral and communication models;
  4. Develop a coherent and feasible plan for a public engagement activity for a complex societal problem;
  5. Pre-test and improve this plan based on a small pilot;
  6. Design the public engagement-plan in the form of a grant proposal;
  7. Interact successfully with a scientist and with relevant stakeholders;
  8. Pitch the grant proposal.
Period (from – till): This course is taught 2 times: Period 2 (BMS_P2_A) 14 November 2022 - 03 February 2023 and Period 4 (BMS_P4_A) 24 April 2023 - 30 June 2023.

Course coordinator: Drs. Frans van Dam (|

Course description
Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit” says the Utrecht University’s public engagement website. In the past five to ten years, universities have started to value public engagement. Universities feel they should be open to society. Not as mere providers of knowledge but they should also actively involve citizens, school children and stakeholders in their research and higher education.
Public engagement has many forms, from science fairs, special apps to patient consultations or data gathering. Activities of public engagement are aimed at a large variety of audiences, including patient groups, homeless people, school children or wider audiences. Key is that both, the researcher and his/her audience benefit from the interaction. Examples of these activities can be found on the UU-website:

In this online course, you will design a public engagement activity. For that purpose, you will select a research topic in connection with a Utrecht University research group or a particular researcher of their choice. In the first weeks, you will deepen their understanding of the complex relationship between science and society, the roles of scientists and the audiences for public engagement activities. Starting in week 4, you start performing the analyses needed for designing and evaluating their public engagement activity with follow-up in weeks 5-7. At the end of the course, in week 8-10, each of you will finish your written plan for a public engagement activity and present it online.
All learning activities are supported through our online learning environment (ULearning). Here you have access to literature, informative videos and exercises. In week 4 and if needed later, online sessions (MS Teams) will be scheduled that you can attend voluntarily. 
Teamwork, (peer) feedback, and critical (self) reflection are key elements in this course.

Didactic approach
In this course, students develop a plan, based on theory, practical insights, and analyses. Peer feedback is a crucial aspect of the course, as giving and receiving feedback is a great help in improving the assignments. The weekly assignment will have to be finished on time to allow proper feedback.
This online course contains clips, reading materials, assignments, statements and reflections. In addition, students will be asked to contact a researcher and members of the audience they have selected. All of the weekly learning units can be carried out at home, using a computer and internet.
The lecturer is also moderator of the online course. He will assist the students and monitor the assignments and quality of the peer feedback.

The registration is via Osiris Student. Please find additional information about the registration on the Study Guide. Max 20 participants.

Mandatory for students in own Master’s programme:

Optional for students in other GSLS Master’s programme:

Prerequisite knowledge
Entry requirements
Required materials
Instructional formats
Online Education

Final result
Test weight100
Minimum grade5.5

Individual final proposal for a public engagement activity: 90%
Participation and feedback quality: 10%

Kies de Nederlandse taal