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Having face to face dialogues between science and society is important – especially when concerning topics of big social and political impact. But it is also important for each of these groups to actively listen to one another. That is where the Science Listeners activity comes in, this format has three main steps:

  1. Provide the audience with a series of provocative questions before the event via an online questionnaire. This serves two purposes – it stimulates the audience to think about the topic and share their opinions. The answers will be used to create an overview of the mood, hopes, fears and any questions the audience might have.
  2. The dialogue portion of the event bring people and scientists together to discuss the topics that arose from the questionnaire. The face-to-face exchange is very important – it is not a one-way knowledge transfer, but a dialogue between science and society. You may need to set up recording devices to capture the thoughts and conversations had between the experts and the audience members.
  3. The last step is to bring to the scientific community the outcomes of both, the online questions and the findings of the dialogue events in form of a summarized publication and/or short presentations at scientific conferences or meetings. These publications can also be the basis for workshops held with the scientists working in the corresponding field.
Target Audience
  • Adult citizens
  • Policymakers
  • Stakeholders

You can do it with all those groups, but we did it with professionals from different fields like public engagement or the cultural and creative sector.



People reflect on an important topic. They do not only learn, but they can also express their opinions (hopes and fears). Scientists acknowledge the opinions of people, and they can address any concerns the participants might have on this topic. A profound dialogue between science and society takes place.


  • Set the dates and location for the event
  • Rent venue if needed
  • Finding experts to take part in the event
  • Find a science journalist who will happy to write up the key findings from this event.
  • Promote the events
  • Develop online questions
  • Share online questions with your audience (e.g. on social media)
  • Analysing the answers to the questionnaire
  • Define sub-topics for the dialogue events
  • Conduct event
  • Get your science journalist to write up the findings from the event, ready for publication
  • Publishing and promoting the publication
  • Preparing presentations for future conferences or meetings
  • Find any scientists who might be interested in attending a workshop about the issues addressed in your listening event
  • Conduct the Workshops and share your findings.


Foundation Science et Cité, Switzerland