New media as a means for better dissemination of knowledge about plant biotechnology
While genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as microorganisms have vested their place in the food expires commercialization of biotech crops in Europe extremely difficult. The main challenge is the distrust of consumers. The reasons why people are skeptical are diverse, but research shows that there is a positive correlation between level of knowledge or training and the degree of acceptance and optimism about genetically modified foods. A recent survey of Ghent university students showed that only a good half of those who can only rely on knowledge about biology in secondary education, may withdraw from the battle of basic questions about biotechnology and agriculture. While the Internet is full of information about plant biotechnology, but that information is not always clear, mostly English, often scientifically incorrect, too difficult, too large, too boring or totally framed in an agricultural or social context. This project aims to improve the perception about and understanding of plant biotechnology in Flanders by direct communication to students and teachers of secondary schools and the general public. The basic strategy to achieve this is to develop an attractive, interactive website with a very low threshold, making 1. Using cartoons, animations, applications, ... 2. coupled with social media such as twitter, and 3. via levels provide more detailed information and attention to the agricultural and social context.