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MEYPS SC2 — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44566
Funded under: FP6-SOCIETY
Country: France

Spreading the word of science

European institutions, national governments and the scientific community are keen to increase the engagement of the general public with science. A team of European scientists and policymakers joined forces to spread the word on how public engagement in science can benefit all.
Spreading the word of science
Communicating science and technology to the public has become an essential enterprise for universities, government agencies, science museums, and other non-profit scientific organisations and corporations.

The scientific community believes that a lack of knowledge about science and technology is a major obstacle to society's development. Another commonly held view is that a lack of science literacy is a major factor in discouraging pupils and students from choosing to study science. As a result, fewer consider pursuing science or technology careers.

Attempting to rectify this, scientists and policymakers in France's Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and the French area of Belgium initiated the EU-funded 'European mobility of young people and scientists in scientific culture context' (MEYPS SC2) project. The aim was to develop a transnational approach to developing the science/society dialogue in Europe. The rationale was that this would in turn contribute to the diffusion of scientific culture into society and promote science and scientific careers to young people.

The approach was based on three main goals. The first was to increase public awareness of scientific and technological advances and their societal impacts.

Through an EU-wide programme, members of the public engaged in debates about the issues that affect science and society, improving public confidence and directing research. The main intention of these debates was to promote science and technology. In addition, they sought to nurture public interest and pique curiosity about scientific progress, thus helping citizens to relate to science in their lives.

This idea was based on the fact that the focus of promoting science activities has shifted in recent years. Encouraging public understanding of science has been usurped by the premise of science engagement.

The second goal was to encourage the participation of scientists, students and pupils in the promotion of scientific culture. To this end, young people were engaged in artistic events that promoted science through science-themed theatre pieces, spectacles and concerts. Secondary school pupils took part in science competitions at a local level with the winners going on to compete in European contests. Pupils, students, researchers, engineers and technicians were also brought together in a number of interactive and entertaining European workshop exhibitions.

Thirdly, the project promoted the European mobility of pupils, students and scientists in a scientific cultural context by organising exchanges and regional science festivals.

As a result of the MEYPS SC2 programme of engagement, a wide range of European institutions initiated science communication programmes aimed specifically at the general public.

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