The nitrogen crisis in the Netherlands and Europe puts air and water quality, biodiversity, and human health in danger. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth, but excess amounts of nitrogen can lead to a range of environmental problems, including increased greenhouse gas emissions, decreased air quality, soil acidification, and the loss of biodiversity. In recent years, the issue of nitrogen pollution has gained increasing attention in Europe, leading to calls for more effective policies and measures to address this problem and protect the environment. One of Europe’s main sources of nitrogen pollution is agricultural activities. Despite the advocacy from researchers and scientists for measures to reduce nitrogen use in agricultural sectors, there is a large amount of miscommunication between academia, government, and industry.
There are several reasons for the lack of communication between academia and the general public. Researchers often use technical language and specialized terminology that can be difficult for the general public to understand. In addition, research findings are often published in academic journals that are not easily accessible to the general public, and researchers may not prioritize communicating their work beyond their academic peers. Furthermore, the public may view academia as disconnected from their everyday lives and may not see the relevance of research to their own lives. Last but not least, researchers may not have access to effective channels for communicating their work to the general public, such as social media, public speaking opportunities, or media outlets. To address these challenges, researchers need to make a concerted effort to engage with the general public and to adopt effective communication strategies that can help bridge the gap between academia and the general public.
Creating a website for research provides several benefits. First and foremost, a website can increase the visibility and impact of a researcher’s work by making it easily accessible to a broader audience. Additionally, a website allows researchers to communicate their findings, ideas, and insights more effectively to other researchers and the general public. Also, a website can facilitate collaboration between researchers by providing a platform for exchanging ideas, sharing resources, and collaborating on projects. Finally, a well-designed website can help to enhance the credibility of a researcher and their work, as it provides a professional platform for presenting the information.
Therefore, I created the website (https://modelling.earth) to help me engage with the public and promote my research. Here are the steps I took to create the website:
- After considering factors like ease of use, customization, and cost, I chose Google Sites as my website builder.
- I bought a domain name, “modelling.earth”, as it is very memorable and relevant to my research, geoscience-related modeling. Then I used Google Domain as a hosting provider that offers reliable and secure hosting services.
- I used the color green as the main theme of the website design because it reflects the nature of environmental science as well as the logo of Wageningen.
- I added information about my research, including background, research topics, publications, CV, and contact information.
- I shared my website on social media and other channels to increase its visibility and attract more visitors.
- I regularly updated the website with new research results and other relevant information to keep it fresh and relevant.
Through the A2 project, I realized that building a website was much more complex and energy-consuming than I anticipated. The most challenging part was the UX design of the website. Apart from using a harmonious color palette to make it more visually appealing, creating a user-friendly interface was also significant. The interaction needed to be intuitive and logical. Another issue was the choice of words. The balance between being technical and professional and being understandable and generic needed more refinement, which requires feedback from readers with multiple backgrounds.