Norwegian universities are required by law to communicate their research to the public. The Information Office of our university has a “two-tiered” approach to this task. The first step is encouraging and helping scientists with the infrastructure, the second is providing suitable arenas for the interaction between the scientists and the public.

One annual event using this approach is the one-day “Science Market” in the city centre every September since 1994. Here some 100 scientists display popularized, often handson activities connected to their research. As most scientists have no training in this kind of communication, the event is preceded every spring by a short introductory course, addressing the special communications skills needed. The event has annually attracted some 7000 youngsters in the age group 8–15. The concentrated, central location profiles both the scientists and the university to the community.

We will address the criteria basic to the successful performance of the event, from the inspiration of the scientists, via the practicalities of the physical settings to the cooperation with local schools. We will also look at the development of additional activities. Last year’s main new effort was an outreach activity involving “bussing science” to local communities all over the county. This is also an example of getting the most out of the money and time invested for such a single day’s event. In addition to making the event more cost-effective, the future depends on incentives for the scientists to participate, for instance: How may a culture among doctoral students to regard science in public as part of science itself be developed?

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Pushing science to the public in the street at 63°N - A ten years' perspective

Sigmund Grimstad   Information Division, Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU

Norwegian universities are required by law to communicate their research to the public. The Information Office of our university has a “two-tiered” approach to this task. The first step is encouraging and helping scientists with the infrastructure, the second is providing suitable arenas for the interaction between the scientists and the public.

One annual event using this approach is the one-day “Science Market” in the city centre every September since 1994. Here some 100 scientists display popularized, often handson activities connected to their research. As most scientists have no training in this kind of communication, the event is preceded every spring by a short introductory course, addressing the special communications skills needed. The event has annually attracted some 7000 youngsters in the age group 8–15. The concentrated, central location profiles both the scientists and the university to the community.

We will address the criteria basic to the successful performance of the event, from the inspiration of the scientists, via the practicalities of the physical settings to the cooperation with local schools. We will also look at the development of additional activities. Last year’s main new effort was an outreach activity involving “bussing science” to local communities all over the county. This is also an example of getting the most out of the money and time invested for such a single day’s event. In addition to making the event more cost-effective, the future depends on incentives for the scientists to participate, for instance: How may a culture among doctoral students to regard science in public as part of science itself be developed?

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

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