VA is a non-profit organisation that promotes openness and dialogue between the public and researchers. VA has recently developed two novel concepts aimed at connecting politicians and researchers. We believe that both of them are promising methods in the field of communicating science to policy-makers. It should also be possible to develop them further and to adapt them to different conditions and cultures in other countries. Coffee with researchers Almedalen Week is an annual event that takes place in the city of Visby in Sweden. It is considered to be one of the most important forums in Swedish politics. During the week, politicians, policy makers, lobbyists, journalists, business leaders and representatives of NGOs, universities and the public meet to discuss topical issues. The Week had 20,000 visitors and more than 2,200 scheduled activities in 2013, including seminars, debates and speeches. During Almedalen Week 2013, VA organised “Coffee with researchers” at which Almedalen attendees were invited to discuss scientific issues with senior scientists from a range of research fields. The aim was to connect scientists with a range of stakeholders. VA rented an outdoor lawn and the scientists each sat on a picnic blanket with coffee and muffins. Passers-by were invited to sit down with a scientist and discuss a scientific topic over a cup of coffee. In this way, we created an opportunity for busy politicians and other policy-makers to meet scientists in a relaxed and informal environment. VA sees great promise in this concept and will continue to develop it. Science cafés in Parliament It is important that Swedish Members of Parliament have some knowledge of science and scientific methodology. It is also crucial that they know how to find and interpret new scientific findings within their areas of responsibility. To support this, VA has organised a series of science cafés aimed specifically at politicians and office holders in the Swedish Parliament, in collaboration with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Research. The events took place in the main café inside the parliament itself and this novel approach was much appreciated, attracting both civil servants and MPs. The first science café focused on health issues and the second one on the different cultures within the political parties. One challenge is that politicians have little spare time to attend events. Moving the events into the Parliament is one way of overcoming these time constraints.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science among politicians
Creating innovative forums for dialogue

Klas-Herman Lundgren   VA (PUBLIC & SCIENCE), Sweden

Cecilia Billgren Askwall   VA (PUBLIC & SCIENCE), Sweden

Lotta Tomasson   VA (PUBLIC & SCIENCE), Sweden

Karin Larsdotter   VA (PUBLIC & SCIENCE), Sweden

Maria Lindholm   VA (PUBLIC & SCIENCE), Sweden

VA is a non-profit organisation that promotes openness and dialogue between the public and researchers. VA has recently developed two novel concepts aimed at connecting politicians and researchers. We believe that both of them are promising methods in the field of communicating science to policy-makers. It should also be possible to develop them further and to adapt them to different conditions and cultures in other countries. Coffee with researchers Almedalen Week is an annual event that takes place in the city of Visby in Sweden. It is considered to be one of the most important forums in Swedish politics. During the week, politicians, policy makers, lobbyists, journalists, business leaders and representatives of NGOs, universities and the public meet to discuss topical issues. The Week had 20,000 visitors and more than 2,200 scheduled activities in 2013, including seminars, debates and speeches. During Almedalen Week 2013, VA organised “Coffee with researchers” at which Almedalen attendees were invited to discuss scientific issues with senior scientists from a range of research fields. The aim was to connect scientists with a range of stakeholders. VA rented an outdoor lawn and the scientists each sat on a picnic blanket with coffee and muffins. Passers-by were invited to sit down with a scientist and discuss a scientific topic over a cup of coffee. In this way, we created an opportunity for busy politicians and other policy-makers to meet scientists in a relaxed and informal environment. VA sees great promise in this concept and will continue to develop it. Science cafés in Parliament It is important that Swedish Members of Parliament have some knowledge of science and scientific methodology. It is also crucial that they know how to find and interpret new scientific findings within their areas of responsibility. To support this, VA has organised a series of science cafés aimed specifically at politicians and office holders in the Swedish Parliament, in collaboration with the Parliamentary Secretariat for Research. The events took place in the main café inside the parliament itself and this novel approach was much appreciated, attracting both civil servants and MPs. The first science café focused on health issues and the second one on the different cultures within the political parties. One challenge is that politicians have little spare time to attend events. Moving the events into the Parliament is one way of overcoming these time constraints.

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