Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Research in the media

How can you ensure that your research hits the headlines? How can you bring your research output, such as PhD research or a publication, to the attention of the public?

Spotlight on a publication

If you have published a book or an article in an academic journal, inform the scientific communication adviser or your faculty’s communication department as soon as possible (after your work has been accepted) to discuss how to bring your publication to the attention of the public. This can be done through different channels: news articles on the University website, social media, the weekly newsletter and press releases. The press releases will be issued by the scientific communication adviser as and when required.

Inaugural lecture

The news team issues a press release before all inaugural lectures, making sure they contact the professor well in advance. This press release notifies journalists and the public of the inaugural lecture and communicates to a broad audience bout the new expertise that the University now has in house.

PhD defence

No later than four weeks before the date of the defence, the PhD candidate submits a short public summary of their dissertation via an online form. This summary is published in the agenda item concerning the PhD defence on the Leiden University website. The website editors decide whether they wish to publicise the results of the PhD research to a wider audience, for example by publishing a press release and/or bringing this to the attention of the press. This depends on the newsworthiness of the research, and can only be done in consultation with the PhD candidate.

Fill in the form

NWO or EU grant

If you have been awarded an NWO or EU grant, inform the scientific communication adviser or your faculty’s communication department as soon as possible to discuss how to bring this to the attention of the public.

Can journalists find you?

Make sure that your profile page is complete so that journalists who are looking for an expert to comment on current affairs can find you. This means using the right keywords in Dutch and English to ensure you are found through the university website and Google. You can also link related pages, such as news articles, agenda items, research projects, programme pages and dossiers. Contact your faculty’s communication department to edit your profile page.

Research dossiers

We use research dossiers to draw attention to areas of research in which the University has a longstanding tradition and which tie in with current affairs. The deans of the faculties decide on the subjects of these dossiers.

Science communication: How we bring your research to the public

We use science communication to bring knowledge and insights from research to the public domain, and to stimulate public engagement. This could include things like news articles on leidenuniversity.nl, posts on our social media, lectures and workshops. Our articles and events frequently attract the attention of the media, which is an opportunity for your research and you as a researcher to reach a broad public. And the resulting responses can in turn lead to valuable insights and even new research questions. Science communication also contributes strongly to the mission of our Institute of Psychology, namely to play a leading role in research and teaching so that we can have a positive impact on society.

There are many good reasons to engage in science communication:  

  • We show how your research helps with issues relating to the brain, behaviour, societal developments and fundamental science. It is a way for us to show clearly what science means for society and to build support for research.
  • We broaden the public’s understanding of psychology and associated research
  • We encourage public involvement
  • We make it transparent and understandable how we conduct research
  • Scientific research is financed from public resources, and we therefore  give our knowledge and expertise back to society in return
  • Greater awareness of your research in society and among potential stakeholders and partners
  • Greater visibility of researchers and scientists helps you with grant applications  
  • More dialogue with the public and partners can lead to new insights and participation in your research (citizen science)
  • Honing your skills, such as the ability to communicate and present clearly

Science communication strengthens our five strategic goals (2023-2027)

  1. Building one united institute together
  2. Recognition, reward and inspiration
  3. Promoting open science
  4. A strong discipline as the basis for interdisciplinary working
  5. Strengthening translational research

Want to know more about science communication?

Contact the editorial team well in advance

Are you a researcher and do you want some personal advice about science communication? Do you have a topic that you believe warrants some publicity? If so, contact the Institute of Psychology editors preferably at least two weeks or earlier: news.psy@fsw.leidenuniv.nl  

The members of the editorial team:


Also read the checklist below When is the time right for science communication?  

How the editorial team works

The editors regularly approach researchers themselves on scientific, topical and social issues. As a researcher, you can also contact the editors yourself. We will then discuss with you whether we will take up the issue and how we will approach it. The editors also often discuss possible topics with the central news editors (nieuws@bb.leidenuniv.nl), the central Science Communication Adviser (Marieke Epping) and the department of marketing & communication at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Want to know more about science communication?

Read the advice online

On this webpage on science communication, Leiden University provides good advice, publications and guidelines to help researchers get started with research in the mediaThe Media guide offers a wide range of practical advice about preparing for interviews and media appearances. You will also find useful advice in the guidelines on the use of social media provided by researchers and other staff at Leiden University. The Young Academy Leiden (YAL) promotes science communication and collects inspiring articles, which are available for you to read at Resources for 'outreach' - Leiden University. If you have any questions about dealing with the media, you can prepare yourself by consulting publications such as the Media guide and/or contacting the Psychology editors via news.psy@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.


This checklist will help researchers and editors to decide whether their research is ripe for publication. Why do you want to communicate about this research or project?

  1. Scientific importance
    Your research provides important/new insights. The research is robustly and solidly conducted, the results are reliable and may already go public. Let us know if there is any important part that is still uncertain.
  2. Topical importance
    This could be the PhD defence date, a publication in a reputable journal, a public lecture, etc.
  3. Societal importance
    Such as a crisis, a social debate, an important report, a development in society that the researcher can explain.
  4. An important prize, grant or subsidy
    You have been awarded an important prize, grant or subsidy for your research. 
  5. A look behind the scenes of current research 
    In some cases, the research is still ongoing but it is worth reporting on it in advance. For example, because of particular circumstances (location, societal partners, etc.). 
  6. How big is the ‘Leiden’ contribution?
    Are the main authors still working at our institute or elsewhere at Leiden University? If you or other key authors are now working at another university, we will need to agree who will pick up the news. 
  7. Does everyone agree that the research should be given publicity now?
    Check with your research partners whether publicity is appropriate at this stage.   

Note: contact the Institute of Psychology editors well in advance, preferably at least two weeks or earlier.

Make strategic choices in good time so that the information, format and tone reach the chosen target groups and have greater appeal for them.

  1. What do you want to achieve (impact)?
    For example, the transfer of particular knowledge (informing people about research), a change in attitude (getting the target group to look differently at an issue (only applies to specific research such as lifestyle research that has been commissioned). 
  2. Who are the target groups?
    For example, journalists from national/ international/regional/specialist/popular media, peers, stakeholders, a diverse lay audience, patient associations, young people, parents, professionals in the field, such as youth welfare, education, etc?

  3. Do you want to measure the impact of science communication?
    This can be done, for example, with the help of the more than 30 tools in the toolbox of Impact Lab, a collaboration of researchers from Leiden University and Utrecht University).

  4. Do you want dialogue and interaction with the target groups?
    If the answer is positive, then look at the checklist below to see which means of communication are most appropriate here.

The possible resources are:

  1. A news article on universiteitleiden.nl
  2. A press release to national, international and regional media; this is only possible following discussion with the central Science Communication Adviser Marieke Epping m.epping@BB.leidenuniv.nl
  3. A press release to specialist media (this is possible in discussion with the institute editors news.psy@fsw.leidenuniv.nl )
  4. Social media such as LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Facebook. Visuals are especially important with social media. Are images available?
  5. A video can be a very attractive format, but is also costly and time-consuming and will therefore be considered extra carefully by the editors.
  6. A podcast episode (Leiden Psychology Podcast) or a personal podcast
  7. A blog (on the Leiden Psychology Blog or personal blog)
  8. Are you or your research group considering your own (free space) website? Contact the editors first for advice and read here more about the process and criteria for a free space website

With the above resources, there is only scope for interaction with followers when posting on social media. The researcher has the opportunity to answer questions, but, for constructive and nuanced discussions, social media are unfortunately often not the ideal platforms. To engage with audiences, you should preferably consider an activity such as:

  • A lecture, workshop or webinar with interaction, for example in a local community centre, a festival or online
  • A complete public event (such as the LIBC public scientific day)

Easy to find

Scientists don’t necessarily need an editorial team to communicate about their research. Many journalists prefer to approach researchers themselves directly rather than first having contact with a press officer. This means that it is important that you can be found easily on internet.

  1. Is your profile page good and up to date, and does it have these seo keywords (in Dutch)?
    This makes it easier for journalists and other interested people to find you quickly via Google or other search engines. If you would appreciate some advice, the editors at Psychology offer the profile service to improve your profile page. 
  2. Is your research project page up to date? If not, contact webteam.psy@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
  3. Present your research in the PhD calendar
    Journalist often look at the PhD calendar on the website to see whether there are any  interesting topics coming up. A title and summary with a lot of jargon are less attractive for a Given their limited time, a professional or a lay person  will not be attracted by a title and summary with a lot of jargon. It is better to provide a public-friendly summary of your PhD dissertation with as little jargon as possible but with a clear research question and conclusion. 
  4. Who/what do you want to achieve with social media?
    Post important and/or interesting developments in your research on a medium that appeals to you, such as LinkedIn.  Bear in mind that posts can also elicit reactions, so be precise and show integrity. You can read more about this in the 8 golden tips for sociale media and the Leiden University code of confuct for social media (in Dutch).
  5. If you want to reach a broad public,  explain your research in a way that is engaging and interesting 
    In the interview, try to formulate the most important results in a way that a diverse public of non-experts will be able to understand it. If relevant, tell them what the societal impact or potential impact is; for example, that the research results will help to develop more targeted therapies for young people suffering from depression. Or, for example, that your new statistic models will help make research more reliable, etc. 

  6. Invite the reader with a catchy title, intro and text
    News articles are generally around 450 to 500 words with an intro of a maximum of 40 words and a catchy and strong title.

    Help the editor to make your article/interview accessible, attractive and factually correct. If the editor asks a question you can’t answer, just be honest about it. Science is also about handling uncertainty, and it’s OK for that to be apparent in the article. Provide a PDF or web links of the scientific publication so that readers who are interested can read the publication themselves. 

What should you do in the event of intimidation or if you have concerns about this?

Public debate can be fierce and in some cases unfortunately even go off the rails. As a result, scientists may feel inhibited from speaking out on sensitive social issues because of possible vicious reactions or even intimidation. A protocol for this has been agreed within Leiden University: always discuss concerns about (possible) intimidation with your supervisor and possibly also with the dean of your faculty and the editorial team at your institute. Talk together about how we can best help you.

Report incidents

If you are the target of threats and/or persistent abusive posts on social media, always contact the Security department as well:

Always report incidents to the Security department so that the University is aware of what is going on and, if necessary, can take appropriate measures. For advice, you can also consult the national Safe Science hotline.

Good to know: reports made via this platform are automatically passed on to our own Security department. Safe Science also offers useful advice on how you can limit the risk and how to handle intimidation. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and there is also an emergency number for discussing urgent concerns: 0320-331343. If you would like to know more about what employers, supervisors and staff can do in addressing threats and intimidation, you can read more in the Guidelines for dealing with threats and intimidation directed at scientists (in Dutch) produced by Universities of the Netherlands.

This website uses cookies.  More information.