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FUTURESHOCK — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44693
Funded under: FP6-SOCIETY
Country: Latvia

Beaming Baltic science around the globe

There are currently very few households that do not have access to a television set. With this in mind, a Baltics-based TV project set out to beam science into as many homes as possible.
Beaming Baltic science around the globe
Television has long been regarded as the glowing example of how mass communication has the power to inform, educate and influence the public. Despite claims that television is just for 'entertainment', the positive potential of TV to provide knowledge to both adults and children cannot be denied.

As a result the EU-funded 'Baltic popular science TV show Futureshock' (Futureshock) project chose television as its medium of choice to help people get a better sense of scientific achievements.

The general objective of the project was to give those who have nothing to do with science more insight into the achievements of scientific endeavour generally. The focus centred on advances primarily in the Baltic region, but also in Europe and the rest of the world. The idea was to promote the importance of these accomplishments and the way they may affect public life in the near as well as the more distant future.

Other objectives were to promote dialogue between scientists and society, popularise the culture of science and highlight issues of gender equality in science.

Futureshock produced and broadcast a cycle of programmes that championed the integration of Baltic countries into the European Research Area (ERA). In addition, the programmes detailed scientific opportunities in Europe and the broader international setting.

The 26-minute–long programmes focused on 18 important scientific events in the Baltics and the rest of Europe. They were created by experienced partners of science TV production companies from three Baltic countries. The programmes were aired weekly on Latvian television (in Latvian and Russian), on Lithuanian television (in Lithuanian) and on Estonian television (in Estonian and Russian).

The aim of these TV programmes, first broadcast in 2008, was to explain and analyse scientific projects in three contexts. These covered the local context of each country, the pan-Baltic context, and the European context.

Topics for the programmes were chosen at an international conference. Attendees included scientists from the Academies of Science in the three Baltic countries. Participants from the Baltic branches of the Association of Young Scientists and the Marie Curie Fellowship Association were also involved as well as Futureshock producers.

Each Baltic country produced its own national version with additional views from the other two countries covering the scientific issue of the week. The 10 most interesting subjects were then made into an international version by project leader HansaMedia for distribution worldwide. This satisfied another of the project's main objectives: to promote and distribute the Baltic perspective in the global science debate to the wider public.

Finally, the programmes were made available on the internet for European audiovisual communication professionals in the areas of science and scientific information.

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