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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a €250,000 grant to Dr Bas van den Putte of the UvA’s Amsterdam School of Communication Research. Van den Putte will use the grant to study health care information for young people with learning difficulties.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a €250,000 grant to Dr Bas van den Putte of the UvA’s Amsterdam School of Communication Research. Van den Putte will use the grant to study health care information for young people with learning difficulties.

Youths with learning difficulties tend to smoke, drink and take soft drugs more frequently than others in their age group. Van den Putte will assess how information on alcohol, tobacco and cannabis can be made more understandable and effective for 12-15 year olds at special-needs schools and during practical training. The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Trimbos Institute.

The Dutch government has defined the issue of understandable language – or rather the lack thereof – as one of the 10 key problems affecting the effective provision of information to the general public. The use of understandable language is also crucial in sectors such as financial services, education and health care. The issue prompted the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to launch its new programme entitled Understandable Language: the fundamentals and application of effective communication. The NWO will fund a total of nine studies on this issue.

The research projects will be conducted in collaboration with social institutes and the business sector. The studies will therefore be demand-driven and results will be suited for immediate practical application. The programme aims to gather more knowledge on effective communication, and ensure that academic expertise on the subject is more readily available to government bodies and organisations.