The need to find alternative energy supplies has never been greater. Fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas are non-renewable and burning these fuels releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Bioenergy could contribute to an energy solution relying on renewables while offering the promise that it will solve environmental, social and economic issues. This raises questions such as “Should we be using our farm land to grow energy crops when food prices are rising?”. The development and production of biofuels face challenges in public acceptance as well as scientific and technological improvement. From the outset of public engagement programmes, consultation with stakeholders is essential to ensure the success of initiatives. The delivery of initiatives needs to take into consideration the environment in which they will be offered; approaches adopted in the UK are able to highlight the similarities and differences that are required for undertaking public engagement on bioenergy in different countries. This session will cover how researchers and funding organisations are contributing to science education of young people, communicating their research and facilitating discussion of controversial issues. The topic of biofuels provides a wide scope for developing students’ understanding of science and ample opportunity to consider the social and ethical implications. The effectiveness of practical biofuel activities and discussion toolkits to engage young people with bioenergy will be explored. In order to address a decline in practical science in UK classrooms a range of practical activities and resources were developed to support researchers to communicate their work. Twenty practical activities were developed in collaboration with researchers, science education organisations, teachers and pupils to improve practical science education. To stimulate discussion a successful format of role-play and voting that does not require expert knowledge has been created. One of the key principles of these initiatives in science communication and education has been to provide young people access to the latest research and scientists through science fairs and school visits. Another key principle during development was an awareness of accessibility and pedagogical approaches, with a variety of media being produced to support teaching and scientific literacy.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Engaging the public with bioenergy in the uk
Science education, communication and discussion

Tristan MacLean   Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, United Kingdom

The need to find alternative energy supplies has never been greater. Fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas are non-renewable and burning these fuels releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Bioenergy could contribute to an energy solution relying on renewables while offering the promise that it will solve environmental, social and economic issues. This raises questions such as “Should we be using our farm land to grow energy crops when food prices are rising?”. The development and production of biofuels face challenges in public acceptance as well as scientific and technological improvement. From the outset of public engagement programmes, consultation with stakeholders is essential to ensure the success of initiatives. The delivery of initiatives needs to take into consideration the environment in which they will be offered; approaches adopted in the UK are able to highlight the similarities and differences that are required for undertaking public engagement on bioenergy in different countries. This session will cover how researchers and funding organisations are contributing to science education of young people, communicating their research and facilitating discussion of controversial issues. The topic of biofuels provides a wide scope for developing students’ understanding of science and ample opportunity to consider the social and ethical implications. The effectiveness of practical biofuel activities and discussion toolkits to engage young people with bioenergy will be explored. In order to address a decline in practical science in UK classrooms a range of practical activities and resources were developed to support researchers to communicate their work. Twenty practical activities were developed in collaboration with researchers, science education organisations, teachers and pupils to improve practical science education. To stimulate discussion a successful format of role-play and voting that does not require expert knowledge has been created. One of the key principles of these initiatives in science communication and education has been to provide young people access to the latest research and scientists through science fairs and school visits. Another key principle during development was an awareness of accessibility and pedagogical approaches, with a variety of media being produced to support teaching and scientific literacy.

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