To help open science up to a wider audience, ORION organised a number of public dialogues in the UK, Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic during 2019-2020. One purpose of the dialogues was to explore public attitudes to genome editing technology, which has revolutionized scientific research in the past decade and has the potential for broad societal impact. The dialogues also aimed to understand how to engage the public on disruptive technologies and how public engagement strategies could vary between countries. Information about the potential use of the technology has led to a wide variety of different opinions and reactions from the public, which are not always based on scientific fact. The empirical evidence gathered during the dialogues will provide the basis of future communications strategies within the ORION institutions.
The Public Communication of Science and Technology, PCST, conferences take place every two years, bringing together practitioners, educators and researchers in the diverse and growing field of science communication. The Covid-19 pandemic and science engagement were unsurprisingly key themes addressed throughout this year's PCST conference in late May 2021. The ORION team participated in the VA Public & Science’s roundtable session on ‘Engaging the Public through Open Science – Putting theory into practice’ which showcased practical examples of methods and activities for engaging the public in the research process.
A major goal of the ORION project was to open a funding call that encouraged different stakeholders to come together and present new and innovate ways to make science more accessible and participatory. The overall aim of this funding call was to support long-term collaboration between unusual/different stakeholders.
The ORION Open Science Podcast started as a way to communicate with new audiences. For science to be open, information has to be accessible, and taking advantage of this unique audio medium was too good an opportunity to pass up. The podcast officially launched with episode one in 2019 and is now in its second season with the podcast hosts Luiza Bengtsson and Zoe Ingram who have deep dive discussions with experts on a wide variety of topics related to Open Science.
The Virtual Activity Co-Creation Initiative for Novel Engagement (VACCINE) is an ORION project, which aims to create, together with young people, a digital game for engaging the public with the science behind vaccinations, infections and the immune system. The project is managed by ORION partner the Babraham Institute, located in Cambridge, UK.
On Thursday 11 March the ORION partners hosted an online event to share the findings of ORION public dialogues on genome editing with relevant stakeholders in the research community. The findings are detailed in the corresponding reports of each of the countries where the dialogues were conducted during 2019-2020: the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Czech Republic. The objective of the dialogues was to explore public attitudes towards the use of genome editing technology in fundamental life sciences research in order to inform research organisations when and how to engage the public with emerging technologies.
The ORION citizen science project Genigma project has been selected as part of a NEWSERA initiative to increase the uptake of citizen science projects among academic researchers across the EU. This coincides with the launch of the Genigma game app which has been in development for two years by the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG).
The ORION partner and non-profit Czech organisation JCMM (South Moravian Centre for International Mobility), was established in 2005 to support and stimulate an influx of students into the region and counteract the brain drain of scientific talent occurring at that time. Since its foundation, the range of JCMM activities has extended to now support talented young people, students, fellows and teachers. Within the ORION regional call for open science projects on local societal challenges, JCMM distributed 10 grants in 2019 to master/Ph.D.students to carry out projects containing strong elements of open science.
How much time do school pupils spend sitting each day? And if some do sit or move more than others, which are the factors that influence this? The ORION partner Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) has been investigating these questions together with pupils from German schools as part of the SMOVE – Science that makes me move-project.
The findings of the ORION public dialogue on genome editing in life sciences research were presented on 11th March 2021. The findings bring together four public dialogue events held in the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Czech Republic during 2019-2020. Case studies on the use of genome editing technology in fundamental research were used during the discussions with the public to help research organisations better understand the views of the public.