Aarhus Universitets segl

Specialeeksamen: Cristina Maria Ribeiro Do Canto Lagido

Perspectives on internal science communication and communication pathways to societal and scientific impact in the Novo Nordisk’s Research and Early Development (R&ED) section

Oplysninger om arrangementet


Tirsdag 4. oktober 2022,  kl. 10:15 - 11:15


Aud. D1 (1531-113)


Organisations take centre stage in modern society and communication is part of the collective construction of their identity and culture. However, the study of science communication in research performing organisations (RPOs) has received little attention, especially in corporate environments. The present study aims to change this, with a focus on the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. Founded in 1923, to produce insulin and treat diabetes patients, it is now the 6 th biggest pharmaceutical company in terms of its market value. I set out to research how science communication is perceived within the company, how it is enacted and what challenges exist. Moreover, I enquired what contributes to the societal and scientific impact of the company and what opportunities for external communication can be seized. The methodology consisted of interviews of employees of the Research and Early Development Section of Novo Nordisk and an internal survey about science communication, societal and scientific impact.

Results indicate that science communication is seen as contributing to a collaborative culture and organisational efficiency. Most scientific communication that speaks to the core activities of the company, as well as partnerships and collaborations has an attentive audience. There is an organisational drive for greater openness, although the distincton has to be made between sensitive information and what can be talked about freely. In common with other organisations, further challenges include the ammount of information available and the multiple channels of communication. Professional communicators and science communicators are addressing these communication challenges at organisational level, ensuring that communication is relevant, high quality, and is in the best interest of the organisation and its people. Scientific impact brings value to the company and publications, conferences and external partnerships and collaborations are considered major contributors. Whereas in terms of societal impact, helping patients and medical and scientific innovation are identified as the strongest drivers. There is a perceived gap between the innovative science of Novo Nordisk in disease areas other than diabetes, and the public awareness of this. Therefore this is highlighted as an external communication opportunity. The one hundreth anniversary of the company in 2023 may provide a unique platform for this.

To conclude, this study shows that science communication is at the core of sensemaking, community and culture building in a corporate RPO, but can also expose tensions between openness and secrecy, knowledge and overcommunication, and branding and dialogue with stakeholders