Since 2003 the Science Shops in Flanders have delivered more than 100 research reports to serve non-profit organizations. But what is the actual impact of the Science Shop? In 2007 we started with a qualitative study to answer the question: “What are the outcomes of Science Shop-work?” Science Shops are bridging the gap between community, the university as research institute and the university-student. All actors are influenced through the research process and involvement. Students are given an extra role of consultant during the research process. Does this experience have any influence on personal growth, job opportunities, skills? And what about the research institute? Does the involvement of community have an impact on research agenda’s? Or do we see change in attitude? The third party (non-profit organizations) are the ones for whom the Science Shops exists, but what do they gain with the research reports? Did they change their organisational policy? Did they use the research results as a lobby-instrument towards the government? In which way did they benefit from the research process and reports? In spring 2008, focus group interviews with all the 3 different actors will give us a pallet of possibilities of what impact Science Shops have in Flanders. The findings of the focus group interviews will be the basis for the individual interviews with students, university staff and non-profit organizations. In our paper, we’ll focus on the different findings of the focus group interviews and in which way these findings have been influenced by the Science Shops.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Impact on the actors of science shop work

Ils Bal   Free University of Brussels

Since 2003 the Science Shops in Flanders have delivered more than 100 research reports to serve non-profit organizations. But what is the actual impact of the Science Shop? In 2007 we started with a qualitative study to answer the question: “What are the outcomes of Science Shop-work?” Science Shops are bridging the gap between community, the university as research institute and the university-student. All actors are influenced through the research process and involvement. Students are given an extra role of consultant during the research process. Does this experience have any influence on personal growth, job opportunities, skills? And what about the research institute? Does the involvement of community have an impact on research agenda’s? Or do we see change in attitude? The third party (non-profit organizations) are the ones for whom the Science Shops exists, but what do they gain with the research reports? Did they change their organisational policy? Did they use the research results as a lobby-instrument towards the government? In which way did they benefit from the research process and reports? In spring 2008, focus group interviews with all the 3 different actors will give us a pallet of possibilities of what impact Science Shops have in Flanders. The findings of the focus group interviews will be the basis for the individual interviews with students, university staff and non-profit organizations. In our paper, we’ll focus on the different findings of the focus group interviews and in which way these findings have been influenced by the Science Shops.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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