Research group Cross-Media Communication in the Public Domain

The research group for Cross-Media Communication in the Public Domain (PubLab) contributes to the development of effective and innovative communications and communication strategies. PubLab examines how (cross-media) communication can be used strategically to promote a sustainable society with a good quality of life. It works on issues such as how to influence behaviour in the areas of health, safety, prosperity, sustainability and mobility, how the government and citizens communicate with one another, or how organizations can respond to interaction between citizens concerning latent crises that have the potential to boil over.

Vision and methods

The research group brings together the thought and action of science communication, practice and education. Using specific questions and problem definitions taken from society, we identify and analyse problems relating to cross-media communication in the public domain and resolve these where possible. By doing this with the field of professional practice rather than on behalf of professional practice, the research group encourages the sector to reflect on its own actions, the methods that it uses and ingrained patterns.

Fields of research

PubLab’s research focuses on identifying, analysing and (further) developing a variety of forms of persuasive, cross-media communication in the public domain. We work with three approaches:

  1. Social psychology provides us with important insights regarding how to influence behaviour.
  2. We examine the effectiveness of communication processes between public institutions and citizens from a strategic point of view.
  3. discursive psychological perspective can lead to important insights into the interactional effects of certain communication strategies and the ways in which organizations can respond to latent crises.

Examples of PubLab’s research work include developing the 'Campaign Strategy Instrument’ in partnership with the Ministry of General Affairs, which enhances the effectiveness of government campaigns by ensuring that campaign decisions are thought through more carefully. Working for and with the Dutch municipality of Almere, the research group is developing an approach to gauge how communicative the organization is. The research group is also working with students to develop easy-to-use ‘apps' for the use of the general public on the basis of open data, and we are investigating how implicit advocacy strategies may contribute to changes in people’s knowledge, attitude and behaviour.


PubLab’s interactive approach and its active open-door policy and its physical location in the middle of the entrance to the Faculty of Communication and Journalism help to ensure that the knowledge and understanding generated by the research group is incorporated into teaching at the university. In addition, insights from PubLab’s research are also reflected in lectures and classes because in many cases our researchers are also teaching staff members. This means that not only are new generations of communications professionals educated on the basis of the latest insights, but also that these professionals will join professional practice with a ‘research mentality’ (i.e. an inquisitive and critically reflective attitude towards their own methods and an attitude that is oriented to the acquisition of new knowledge).


To read the latest news about all the activities of the research group, please visit Or follow the research group via @publab.


Visiting Address:
Heidelberglaan 15
3584 CS Utrecht
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 85029

3508 AA Utrecht