News - December 21, 2018

Proud as punch

Guido Camps

You could hardly fail to notice the nederbanaan last week. To me, this really was a moment to be proud of WUR.

Needless to say, that’s because of the undoubtedly outstanding science underlying the project and the marvellous articles it will generate. But I was also proud of the good media campaign that accompanied the presentation of the first Dutch bananas.

It might not strike anyone who is not especially interested in scientific communication but what I noticed was an excellent short film of the first banana harvest (a well-chosen moment). A film that was easy to share on social media. A catchy and descriptive name: the nederbanaan. The launching of the easy-to-follow # nederbanaan, and ample opportunities to ask the researcher questions.

Its success in communication terms was clear from the headlines. A Dutch headline ran: ‘Banana threatened by fungal disease, but Wageningen has the solution: the nederbanaan’. And elsewhere readers were told: ‘First Dutch bananas could help tackle worldwide fungal threat’.  Now that’s the sort of publicity a university wants, isn’t it?

Sometimes I hear scientists expressing doubts: is all the bother with the media really worth it? In my view it is the only way for the university to hold its own in the coming century. For me, two things were harvested this week: a nederbanaan, and a campaign that put our science in a positive light. Congratulations on both achievements.

Guido Camps (34) is a vet and a postdoc at the Human Nutrition department. He enjoys baking, beekeeping and unusual animals.