Stories of Engagers: Rosan Reusken
Rosan Reusken is communications officer at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Together with colleagues, she supports researchers in sharing their research with a wide audience. For example by organising a debate, writing an article, facilitating a children's activity or approaching the press.
What makes your work fun?
“I learn a lot of new things. Every day I talk with researchers who conduct inspiring and innovative research. I also like to translate scientific research to accessible stories for a specific target group, such as animal owners, feed companies or pharmaceuticals. It is a challenge to convince researchers that science is not just about publishing, but also about social impact.”
Why is public engagement important?
“The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine listens to social issues and wants to show that. Therefore we have started organising debates. The first series was about the future of livestock farming. Very relevant, because there are major challenges in areas such as animal welfare and sustainability. During the debates, our researchers talk to livestock farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, veterinarians and other experts. Sharing knowledge is an important goal.”
“Another good example is research into back pain by one of our professors. Currently she collects data by researching dogs, but she is working with researchers to make the treatment available to humans in the future. Eighty percent of the population gets back problems at some point in their lives. It is important to create support for the treatment through public engagement, and at the same time to listen to non-academic views on this subject.”
Do you have any advice for colleagues who also support researchers?
“Involve managers at an early stage. Public engagement takes time. So it is important to properly coordinate the goal, relevance and time investment. Another tip is to contact Miranda Thoen and Stephanie Helfferich from the Public Engagement program. They can advise you and possibly link to a colleague who has experience with a specific target group; you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can also find inspiring examples and opportunities for funds, such as the Seed Fund, on the website of the program. ”
And for researchers?
“Be creative and be inspired by everyday things. In addition: you do not have to do it on your own, involve your faculty communications officers. We can help translate your research into a public project, such as music, debate or dance.”