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IfMK cooperates with Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute

Media students at TU Ilmenau will analyse risk communication of animal diseases for the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute

Elke Reinking - Press Spokeswoman of FLI

Starting this winter semester, master students from the TU Ilmenau’s Media and Communication Science program will carry out studies on the risk communication of animal diseases such as African swine fever for the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), a federal authority concerned with the health and well-being of farm animals and the protection of humans from contagious animal diseases. Together with the  FLI, the students will investigate the risk and crisis communication strategies of authorities and media coverage on animal diseases outside Germany.


Through a period of two semesters, students will plan and implement scientific analyses of risk communication on animal diseases. This will be done in cooperation with Elke Reinking, press spokeswoman and head of the FLI press office, who will provide background information and exchange views with the students on the research needs of the FLI. Course instructor Dr. Andreas Schwarz, head of the Public Relations and Communication of Technology Research Group, divides the students into research teams, which then examine different aspects of risk and crisis communication on animal diseases in different countries. In doing so, the communication of authorities and the reporting of international media will be particularly taken into account. The focus is on animal diseases such as African Swine Fever and Bird Flu, which have only recently broken out in Germany. The research results, which will be available in the summer semester 2021, will also allow to deduce recommendations for the practice of risk and crisis communication of the FLI.


 "The cooperation with the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute is an excellent example of the interlocking of science and practice in crisis communication as it is lived at the Institute for Media and Communication Science", says course instructor Dr. Schwarz. "For us, this is also an opportunity to have our own media relations analysed from a communication science perspective and to be able to optimise it if necessary," adds FLI press spokeswoman Elke Reinking.


As a federal research institute for animal health, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) is dedicated to the health of food-producing animals. Its central tasks are the prevention, diagnosis and control of animal diseases, the improvement of animal husbandry and nutrition as well as research into farm animal genetics