Ionica Smits and Alex Vercad National Center for Scientific Communication | news item

news item | 09-21-2022 | 14:00

Minister Dijkgraaf (OCW) has appointed Ionica Smeets and Alex Verkade as Supply Managers for the new National Center for Scientific Communication. This new center stimulates conversation between scientists and society and will collect and share experiences, in order to make scientific communication more effective. Ionica Smeets and Alex Verkade have been committed to a national science communications hub for years.

Ionica Smits is Professor of Science Communication at Leiden University and Head of the Department Communication and society sciences Which offers the major specialization with the same name. She also participates in scholarly communication through columns, books, and discussions in (social) media. Alex Verkade is an MT member of the SIA Directorate, stimulating the quality and impact of practice-oriented research. Throughout his career, he has been committed to connecting research and society and has worked for more than 20 years in the field of scientific communication, both in practice and in policy.


Minister Djgraf announced the establishment of the new Center for Scientific Communication in May this year. The dialogue between society and science must be maintained, and this is where science plays a role. But Minister Djgraf also wants us as a country to stand firmer in science and science practitioners. This requires a solid foundation for our scientific communication. Dialogue is essential to a good relationship between science and society. Scientific communication can ensure an equal dialogue based on understanding and trust. Researching and gathering knowledge about effective ways to have that conversation is very important in this regard. The Minister also sees a role for the new Center for Scientific Communication in this regard.

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Ionica Smeets and Alex Verkade are appointed October 1 to create the newly created National Centre. The Minister gave the Masters of Supply 2 a free assignment to collect all the energy in the field of scientific communication. Objective: Not more, but better scientific communication. The center will not define what good science is, nor will it communicate about science itself, but it will stimulate dialogue between scientists and people in the community. Smeets and Verkade will present to the minister a blueprint for the new center next spring.

Exchange of experiences

Ionica Smeets: “Scientific communication happens in many places and in many forms. Many people have to reinvent the wheel each time. There is so much to be gained by sharing experiences.”

Alex Vercade: “Science communication is an important part of a larger movement toward more open science, in which scientists are also recognized for their efforts to engage in a dialogue with society. This is how we work as supply managers: in an open conversation with the field, in the broadest sense of the word” .

Minister Djgraf: “With their different backgrounds, extensive experience and extensive network, Ionica and Alex are the ideal Catering Managers. I appreciate that Leiden University and SIA have enabled them to create a knowledge center alongside the field. Ionica and Alex represent a wealth of knowledge and connections and are well positioned to combine The wide field of scientific communication. That there is a need for this is evidenced by the many positive reactions to the initiative of the National Center. This broad participation reflects the need for cooperation and knowledge exchange.”

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