The Oncode Communications Team is responsible for all communication to the Oncode research community and to external audiences such as funders, partners, media and other stakeholders. In 2020, the main goal of the Oncode Communications Team (CT) was to showcase the added value of Oncode Institute. The CT used Oncode communication channels such as its newsletters, digital magazine, website, and social media channels to share exciting stories about Oncode Researchers with the world.
February 4th marks World Cancer Day. To put Oncode in the spotlight, the CT created a video interview with patient representative Erica van Wuijtswinkel. She serves on the Supervisory Board of Oncode Institute and explains her role and the importance of patient engagement in cancer research.
The CT communicated a large number of scientific stories through our website and other channels, in which the added value of Oncode was always an essential part of the story. Examples include research from the Bernards lab on multiple low dose therapy, a study in the Zwart lab on metastatic prostate cancer, insights into pre-existing immune-resistant cancer cells from the Peeper lab and a study into single molecule resolution imaging of viral infections by the Tanenbaum lab.
Throughout the year the CT supports our colleagues who run the different Oncode programmes. For example, it supported the production of training materials on several topics, such as the CPoC videos and primers for the VITAE programme, and it helped the shift towards digital meetings due to COVID.
The PR challenge
COVID-19 made it difficult to get Oncode stories in the national media, because many science journalists only focused on COVID-related stories. The CT aims to get a number of exciting Oncode stories covered in national news outlets and trade journals in 2021.
Science is art
During the annual meeting in September, the CT team organized a science art prize. The research community was asked to send in artful imagery from their experiments. Based on their submissions, winners were selected and a video overview with all these stunning images was created.
In 2020, three regular editions of Oncode’s digital magazine were produced. This online magazine is designed with full Oncode branding and gives Oncode the opportunity to showcase the broader impact of the institute in a visually appealing way. In every edition we put together an Oncode Investigator and an external expert for a dialogue, we portrait an OI on a more personal level and we take a deep dive into the science of one of our labs.
Growing our social network
The CT put a huge effort into communicating the impact of Oncode via social media. This resulted in a 27% increase in the number of followers on LinkedIn (3,577 at the end of 2020) and a 28% increase on Twitter (1,544 at the end of 2020). These numbers continue to grow every day.
Responding to COVID-19
When COVID hit the Netherlands, the CT liaised quickly with the Managing Board to reach out to the Oncode research community. The team produced dedicated materials, including a special newsletter and video. The goal for these materials was not only to inform the community about the impact of COVID on Oncode programmes, but also to connect with researchers and learn about how they were impacted personally.