The goals and characteristics of the new EUSEA Science Engagement Platform were defined in a collaborative process, uniting experts from the EU projects NUCLEUS and SUSTAIN plus qualified EUSEA members. The partners agreed upon the following characteristics to make the platform unique and practical for professional users:

  • The EUSEA Science Engagement Platform will serve Public Engagement professionals across Europe and beyond in their needs to find inspiration, resources, methods and tools for running participatory, dialogue-oriented engagement activities in various institutional and national contexts.
  • As a continuous work in progress, this new platform will unite and showcase inspiring and innovative ways to engage different publics with science. A special focus of the examples will be on actively involving citizens and stakeholders in research and innovation processes.
  • The platform will have a clear European perspective, while being open to engagement formats from other countries: “European but Open to the World” will be the motto of this platform.
  • While there are several national Public Engagement platforms, there is until today no European version, compiling European examples, related to European concepts of Research and Innovation.
  • The platform will relate to European values and the European Innovation Model, which is human-centric and focuses on both socio-economic and social innovation.
  • The platform will reference and link to strategic approaches to engagement such as the Quadruple Helix Model, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Open Innovation Framework and the new concept of Mission-Oriented Research, which will be at the heart of HORIZON Europe.Background of the EUSEA Science Engagement Platform

    Today, Public Engagement formats are as diverse as the institutions behind them: All across Europe you will find Science Festivals, Researchers’ Nights, Science Parliaments, Hackathons or Maker Faires, organized by universities, municipalities, science centers, companies or cultural institutions. Many such events have evolved all over Europe: from Slovenia to Sweden, from Portugal to Poland, from Israel to Iceland – and more are on the way. While the number of activities are growing, there are only few platforms providing an overview plus standards for organising and conducting inclusive, dialogue-oriented Public Engagement.

    The European Science Engagement Association, EUSEA, today embraces more than 110 professional institutions and engaged researchers promoting interdisciplinary, multi-actor science communication and engagement processes. As a dynamic network, we strive to foster dialogue-oriented science engagement strategies across Europe and beyond. To inspire and support qualitative engagement processes, the EUSEA Board decided in 2018 to create a new online platform for Public Engagement practicioners across Europe and beyond.

Inspirations and Resources of the EUSEA Science Engagement Platform
“Living RRI”: Uptakes from the NUCLEUS Project
A large number of activities shared in this platform was inspired by the HORIZON 2020 project NUCLEUS (www.nucleus-project.eu, 2014-2019). Many examples are derived from a series of so-called Mobile Nuclei – modular approaches to facilitate and broaden the uptake of  Responsible Research and Innovation, RRI.

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) focuses on engaging citizens and their representative institutions as active agents to solve  societal challenges. Enabling easier access to scientific information and results, so a diverse range of stakeholders can participate in immersive discussions on scientific developments, is central to the RRI approach. RRI processes aim to include actors from society, research, industry, policy and education into science and research processes. The goal is to maximise the impact of R+I processes by fostering collaborative forms of knowledge generation and transfer.

The NUCLEUS project aimed to find out how research can better relate and respond to societal needs and challenges. 21 “Mobile Nuclei” advocated for new ways of communicating scientific research, not only by sharing results of research and innovation but by involving a wide range of stakeholders in the discussions of how and why research is conducted. This is the prolific ground in which the Mobile Nuclei took place.

The host organisations were of different kinds: universities, NGOs, science centres or municipalities. Mobile Nuclei were advised to follow the NUCLEUS Project approach of interrelatedness and reflect the RRI concept in the context of research and its relations with various stakeholders.

The following five goals are the goals for the Embedded Nuclei which were considered as guiding principles:

  1. Build institutionalised bridges between the research community and different stakeholders
  2. Catalyse ongoing debates about the role of research in open societies
  3. Develop, nurture and support new forms of transdisciplinary research
  4. Question and redefine prevailing notions about science agents and recipients
  5. Stimulate co-responsibility in all actors involved in the process of research and innovation

Mobile Nuclei formats were co-defined in a collaborative process involving the NUCLEUS partners and other host organisations. The “Mobile Nuclei Menu” consisted of 7 formats that help inviting different partners and addressing new audiences. The format, the content and the participants varied, depending on the needs and individual profiles and contexts of each host. All Mobile Nuclei took place between November 2017 and July 2019.

The EUSEA White Book
The European Science Engagement Platform includes recommendations which were once compiled in the EUSEA White Book. In 2005 this publication was compiled by engaged and experienced EUSEA members, aiming to
  • assess the state of the art of Science Communication Events (SCEs) in Europe
  • summarize strategies on how to start new SCEs
  • structure recommendations on how to improve existing SCEs
  • collect “best practices” and valuable ideas
  • enhance the Science Communication Event community in Europe
The White Book Inputs have been refreshed with new formats and toolkits that have been developed by sister institutions or EU Projects relevant to the field.
National Science Communication and Public Engagement Platforms
In designing the platform we have considered high-quality national platforms developed by EUSEA members Vetenskap & Allmänhet (V&A) and Wissenschaft im Dialog (Germany). Many of the examples mentioned in this platform are directing you to the hands-on examples these excellent platforms are showcasing: www.wissenschaftskommunikation.de and www.scicommtoolbox.se.
This is just the beginning. Bringing together ideas for science engagement is an on-going and never-ending process. We will be grateful to hear from you, your ideas, experiments in the field. Feel free to contact us, and use the new platform as a source of inspiration and information to stimulate and enrich your work in the future!

This platform was developed by two projects joining forces

Together these two projects formed the basis for a new European Online Platform on Science Engagement.

Is striving to achieve institutional transformations in universities, aiming towards research practices that are more in tune with societal challenges

Is developing Citizen Science methodologies as a way to spark engagement among teachers and students studying water ecosystems.