Welcome to the

European Science Engagement Conference!

The European Science Engagement Conference annually unites the international community of science communication and public engagement professionals. The main goal of this conference is to offer all practitioners in the field a Pan-European platform to expand their networks and enhance their skills via inspiring keynotes, interactive sessions and co-creative workshops. The conference shares and discusses relevant topics, funding programs and formats mainly related to the areas of public engagement and science communication. In 2020 the conference will be held in Cork, Ireland.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020

Pre-Conference Workshops
The day before the conference will offer a series of insightful workshops and peer-to-peer trainings, focusing on topics with a high relevance for the European Public Engagement community.

Workshop  I: 13.00-16.00

Network to Get Work: Creative Networking for All!

Here we are on the eve of the wonderful Eusea conference, it’ going to be so lovely to be in Cork!  Our minds full of exciting and thought-provoking sessions that we can hardly wait to attend, old friends who we can’t wait to meet and generally immersing ourselves in the fabness that is EUSEA.

But how best to make the most of your time here (or indeed at any conference or event)?  There are contacts to be made and contacts to be maintained, ideas to be pitched, business cards to be swapped and participative science communication stories to be told.

Welcome to the world of networking!  Some of us love it and some of us don’t but to a greater or lesser degree it’s something we all need to indulge in. Improve your networking skills in this interactive pre-conference warm-up with David and Rachel from Science made Simple!

In their science communication careers Rachel and David have done a lot of effective networking around Europe and the wider world. Rachel does a fantastic line of networking strategy for people who don’t like networking and David has been known to turn up to conference sessions regardless of their content to better meet and influence the people running and attending them.

Join Rachel and David in this highly interactive training session! Bring along your networking tips and tricks and consider how best to make and maintain contacts and positively influence people!

DAVID PRICE Senior Science Communicator

David is a senior trainer with Science Made Simple, specialising in developing collaborations between researchers and public engagement institutions and events. His development of science busking methods in the UK and his experience of working with school and family audiences has led to the support of an extensive portfolio of academic institutions internationally.

David has a Bachelor’s degree from Liverpool University in History and American Studies. After working in industry for 10 years he became a builder of interactive science exhibits and now builds science shows and interactive science experiences for audiences of all ages.

Always a keen informal science communicator, in 2009 David was awarded the British Interactive Group professional study bursary, which took him to the world street performance championships. This visit launched him into his chosen specialism of science busking. In 2010 David was awarded the Manchester Science Festival Josh Award for Outstanding Innovation in Science Communication for his work in developing and popularizing science busking techniques. David is a LAMDA trained public speaker to gold level with distinction. He regularly trains diverse groups in both science communication and science busking techniques.


RACHEL MASON Associate Director – Development

Rachel leads Science Made Simple’s researcher training service, managing its academic modules in public engagement for diverse research groups. She also manages the company’s larger collaborative projects EU H2020 Our Space Our Future and UKRI-GCRF Action against Stunting.

With a BSc in Biology and Psychology from Keele University and an MSc in Science Communication from the University of Glamorgan/Techniquest, Rachel has worked in a wide range of UK organisations dedicated to public engagement with the sciences. Her career has taken her from the British Science Association, to Theatre in Education performance, international exhibition project management at Science Projects Ltd and management of Techniquest Glyndŵr Science Discovery Centre. She has worked as a consultant for STEM communication support organisations, including  BIG STEM Communicators Network, STEMNET, RAEng and Women’s Engineering Society.

Workshop  II: 13:00-17:00

Science Engagement for Sustainable Futures: Making Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) applicable in your local contexts

Objective: To provide clear insights about the Sustainable Development Goals, driving participants towards the drafting of an actionable plan for their institution.

Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world, replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which started a global effort in 2000.

The workshop will be led by a team that’s working on the UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers, an important standard-setting instrument which not only codifies the goals and value systems by which science operates, but also emphasizes that these need to be supported and protected if science is to flourish.

Participants: 20 ideal
Speakers: John Crowley, Chief of Section for Research, Policy and Foresight in UNESCO, and a team member of his section.
Facilitator: Andrea Troncoso, EUSEA
Duration: 13:00-17:00
The SDGs are a bold commitment to tackle some of the more pressing challenges facing the world today. All 17 Goals interconnect, meaning success in one affect success for others. Dealing with the threat of climate change impacts how we manage our fragile natural resources, achieving gender equality or better health helps eradicate poverty, and fostering peace and inclusive societies will reduce inequalities and help economies prosper. In short, this is the greatest chance we have to improve life for future generations.

If we believe that science is more than a material dimension, and that it means access to knowledge, participation and is essential to build democratic societies, the SDG´s become a fertile soil on which plant our stakes. The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all, making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.

This workshop is an invitation to reflect and set an action plan that will begin or continue (depending on the participant´s contexts) the explicit endorsement of this policy umbrella, that will allow to aligne and to boost the programmes, projects and activities that involve science and public engagement, towards a conscious and active sustainable future that begins today.

Takes away:

  • A clear understanding of the aim of the SDG´s with simple idea-nuggets that will enable participants to explain them to their own teams, boosting their advocacy.
  • Methods and elements that facilitate their actionability and practice in different contexts that link public engagement and open science.


  • Introduction of participants and speakers
  • Story of the SDGs: Milestones and where are we now
  • Case studies
  • SGD´s and science engagement: evident and not so evident links
  • Your own personal action plan
  • What´s next?


The workshop includes ice-breakers dynamics, presentations and interactive activities oriented to get practical results, including world cafés and role games.

Workshop  III: 13:00-17:00

Using LEGO Serious Play to ‘talk’ about Sustainable Landscapes

The Erasmus+ project SUSTAIN (https://www.sustainablelandscapes.eu/) aims to enhance the awareness of secondary school pupils about local environmental issues concerning the sustainable use of landscapes. SUSTAIN does this by engaging pupils and their families in research projects on biodiversity, bird migration and water management.

Within this project, innovative methodologies like LEGO Serious Play are used as a playful and creative tool for pupils and teachers to collectively create scenarios of local environmental issues and to analyse the involved stakeholders (e.g. farmers, local politicians, nature conservationists).

The workshop will train participants in how to use these creative methodologies to foster engagement and stakeholder dialogues.

Participants: 20 maximum.

Hours: 4 Hours

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is a methodology to facilitate communication not only orally but also visually and tactile. It multiplies collective reflection and understanding of complex ideas.

The method helps to:

  • Use metaphors to explain their ideas, which makes them more easily understood by others.
  • Learn how to arrive at consensus solutions without the need for endless discussions or give up their firmer beliefs.
  • Lear the importance of developing general principles for making decisions rather than having to follow a list of instructions.

In this pre-conference workshop, we use Lego Serious Play to explore how the methodology can be applied to create collective narratives for analysing a sustainable landscape.

Table with set-up of workshop

I: Introduction 5 min Introduction to LEGO SERIOUS PLAY (20-80);

Learn having fun.

Objectives of the session.

II: Skills 45 min 1.0   Build a tower.

2.0   Build randomly and create metaphors.

3.0   Build a model to explain your ideal working environment.

III: Individual model 60 min 4.0   Build a model that represents your ideal sustainable landscape (previously fixed in the group) (AT1)
Break 30 min  
IV: Collective model 90 min 5.0   Build a collective model that represents the ideal sustainable landscape (AT2)
VI: Closing the workshop 25 min 6.0   Closing the workshop with final reflections.
18:00 Welcome to the FameLab Ireland National Final!

This year’s conference is inviting all participants to attend the Irish FameLab Final. Held in more than 30 countries, FameLab is among the worlds leading science communication competitions. The British Council and Cheltenham Festivals have teamed up to bring FameLab to Ireland in 2020.

We are proud to announce that the FameLab Ireland 2020 national final will be held as part of the European Science Engagement Conference 2020 in partnership with the Cork Institute of Technology, Blackrock Castle Observatory and EUSEA.

Armed only with their wits and a few props, the top newest voices in science, technology, engineering and maths from across Ireland will give 3 minute talks on always fascinating, sometimes bizarre science concepts. Expect to hear anything from why newborn babies cry to how 3D glasses work and even the science behind pimple popping. Presentations will then be judged according to FameLab’s golden rule – the 3 Cs: Content, Clarity and Charisma.

The FameLab Ireland final will be an unpredictable, enlightening and exciting way to encourage your curiosity and give you a snapshot into the world of science. As an audience member you will also have the power to judge contestants along with an esteemed panel from academia, media and industry. The winner of FameLab Ireland will then go on to represent the nation at the FameLab International Finals, Cheltenham Science Festival, UK in June 2020.

So come along to witness leading scientific research, amaze friends with surprising facts and interact with individuals in Ireland responsible for tackling some of the biggest scientific issues in the world today.

Thursday, 16th April 2020

9:00 – 10:00 Registration and Coffee

10:00 – 10:40 Conference Opening

Welcome and Introduction by EUSEA President Markus Weißkopf

Panel Discussion with leading stakeholders and representatives from the Cork Institute of Technology and Science Foundation Ireland.

Musical Interventions from the Cork School of Music.

10:40 – 11:20 Keynote by Dr. Niall Smith, CIT

Niall Smith, B.Sc., Ph.D., MIAU
Art and Astronomy – why you and me really are special

Niall Smith studied astrophysics at University College Dublin and became CIT’s first Head of Research in 2005, now providing strategic oversight of a budget of €14m per annum across disciplines from science and engineering to arts and music. Niall played the lead role in establishing a Researcher Career Framework for CIT researchers, a development which was also central to the Institute being awarded the EU Commission HR Excellence in Research badge.

Niall is the Founder-Director of the internationally award-winning Blackrock Castle Observatory (BCO) which has just celebrated its 12th anniversary and over 1.2 million visitors. BCO staff have trained over 800 teachers to use space in the classroom, has engaged with over 35,000 primary and post-primary students in formal science workshops and an additional 40,000 in informal workshops, with over 120,000 members of the public attending events at BCO.

11:20 – 12:00 Keynote 2

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:30 Parallel Sessions I

Session 1.1

La Moulinette: a tool to remix your projects to get them even better!
Horace Perret
Réseau romand Science et Cité, Switzerland

Like cooking, communicating science is a subtle mixture of art, love and technique, of which it is necessary to know how to master all the components, to balance all the flavours to make it work. While public communication of science always stems from good intentions, it may sometimes, be it out of clumsiness or naivety, has the opposite effect and ends up widening the gap it claims to close between science and society.

To win the public’s trust, a good public communication of science therefore requires a reflective approach in order to challenge practices that sometimes stem too much from habit or spontaneity. The aim of this talk will be to present you this tool, from the history of its design to the principles that govern its functioning, and most of all to make you feel like using it !

Augmented Lectures: communicate science by triggering emotions
Andrea Brunello, Arditodesio Theatre Company \ Jet Propulsion Theatre, Italy

This talk will present Augmented Lectures, an innovative science communication format where a scientist and an artist co-create and co-produce a staged theatrescience lecture performance. Theatre, storytelling and other art forms are powerful tools to elicit emotional responses and provide a more empathetic and inspiring communication of science.

This format, developed by the Jet Propulsion Theater, has had demonstrable results in audience engagement with scientists, through cutting edge scientific concepts, connecting with unsuspecting audiences, dispelling stereotypes and misunderstandings, and inspiring young audiences to pursue a scientific career.
Augmented lectures are at the heart of the Theatre of Wonder Festival (www.teatrodellameraviglia.it) and have received the CULTIVATING CURIOSITY Bronze Award at the 2016 Reimagine Education Conference organized by The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania and QS Quacquarelli Symonds.

Spectroscopy for all: Behind the scenes of using music to shake your bonds up

Maria Larriva Hormigos
Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford, UK

Music and Science are both universal languages. Music is also the perfect vehicle to deliver complex scientific concepts.

For example, Music allows us to construct easy to grasp allegories we could use to teach basic Physical Chemistry to non-specific audiences in a non-academic and interactive environment.

Here I present the project “Shake your bonds up”, a multi-activity science-fair stall funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The aim of this project is to engage young children and a broad audience with little knowledge of Chemistry with molecular structure, vibrational modes, and how scientists harness light-molecules interaction to do Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy, a technique that remains almost unknown to the public which has many applications in bioscience, industry and in everyday life. In this presentation, I will talk about our experience making the basics of IR Spectroscopy fascinating and fun for everyone using DIY costumes, music, a bit of acting and our audience’s best moves.

Shall we dance?

Educational Robotics in Ireland
Sharon Lawton
Cork Institute of Technology

The VEX Robotics programme in Ireland, Cork Institute of Technology are leading, through its Access Service, the VEX robotics programme in Ireland.

This programme was introduced in Cork in 2012 with 12 DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) post primary schools participating. This has now grown to over 350 primary and post primary schools nationally, with most counties having at least one team. The programme is heavily supported by both CIT and Dell in the cork region and by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under the Discovery funding call nationally.

Fine-tuning an intensive science communication course: a flipped classroom approach
Amanda Mathieson
University of Malta

It can be argued that if we want the voice of science to be heard, we’re going to need a bigger choir.

We need researchers and other STEAM professionals on board, communicating science with us. The problem is that professionals often have a lack of time for training. Intensive science communication or public engagement courses are one option but they have limitations. Namely, how can such a wealth of content be absorbed in a mere number of days?

STEAM summer school has trained more than 100 students in science communication through the arts over the past four years and has continually evaluated and updated its methods. In our most recent year, we tried a flipped classroom approach, allowing participants to learn some of our content prior to the school so that we could focus on practical application and skills development in session. In this talk we will discuss how this approach benefited our course in contrast to previous years and what this means for science communication trainers.

Mixing new sounds for diverse audience: robotic fabrication meets philosophy in the City Hall of Hannover
Theda Minthe
Hannover Science Initiative / City of Hannover, Lord Mayor’s Office

Robotic engineers meeting philosophers? ‘Nerds’ communicating with ‘dreamers’?

Yes, it is challenging to bring together different spheres of scientific cultures. We designed a two-days-event with workshops of programming robots, experiments around robotic fabrication and philosophical interventions including theatre about the interaction of humans and humanoids. We share our experience building new alliances and of how to overcome prejudice and to enjoy dissonances. Copying is absolutely appreciated.

Session 1.2

Encouraging uptake in STEAM careers
Danielle Martine Farrugia
University of Malta, Department of Physics, Malta

Participation in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) fields can be increased through initiatives targeted towards different genders and interests; however, research shows that both sexes become disengaged from STEAM subjects at school.

This results in a lower likelihood for girls and boys to choose certain careers. Although dependent on culture and country, males tend to take technical careers while females are encouraged into care-based roles. The reasons for this are complex.
This includes a lack of knowledge about STEAM careers at schools, lack of female role models, unconscious bias and a tendency for males and females to be encouraged into stereotyped roles and careers. Key research findings and case studies will be used to encourage participants discuss major agendas in this fishbowl discussion. The discussion will be moderated by Danielle Martine Farrugia (Science Communicator & lecturer, Ph.D. student, University of Malta), together with Jon Rea (Engagement and Participation Lead Nottingham City Council) and Dr Edward Duca (Science communication practitioner and lecturer), Simone Cutajar (Esplora Natura director, researcher) and will address SDG Goals 4 & 5 concerned with quality education and gender equality. The goal of this workshop will be to discuss the current models worldwide that are already in place and working to address skills gaps and encourage more STEAM careers.

Session 1.3

Maths in City: Public Engagement with STEM, in Public
Sheila Donegan
Calmast STEM Engagement Centre, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland

Maths Week Ireland is an annual celebration of maths taking place in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and is the largest festival of its kind in the world.

It has achieved this through an innovative partnership model linking academia with education at all levels, government bodies, industry & business. It is successful in using traditional and electronic media to spread the positive message further. Linking maths to the rest of STEM, to other disciplines and to art is important.
This session describes innovative aspects in the organisation, development and delivery of the festival and focuses on one activity. Maths in the City in Belfast and Dublin engages the public, in public spaces. In the second part of this session participants will engage as the public do in these fun activities.
The model has been fully replicated in Maths Week Scotland (2017) and Maths Week England (2019) and Maths in the City has inspired Oxford Maths Festival and Mathematicas en la Calle, Madrid.

Introducing Creativity into Chemistry
John O’Donoghue
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

In TCD our PhD students complete a semi-structured programme with a number of flexible modules available to fit around their research.