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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. 

The work of the ORION project was shared by Emma Martinez from the Babraham Institute in the UK, who showcased learnings from the stakeholder and public dialogues. Emma also highlighted examples of co-creation formats and methodologies as the MELTIC project, citizen science approaches as Genigma and SMOVE as well as gamification through co-creation in VACCINE project.

VA’s Maria Hagardt presented some of VA’s projects aimed at engaging young people in science, including the annual Researchers’ Night mass experiments, the EU YouCount project addressing social inclusion plus a serious game on the bioeconomy being developed through co-creation by the AllThingsBioPRO EU-project. 

Pedro Russo from Leiden University highlighted the work of the Citizen Science Lab at Leiden University in the Netherlands, to engage communities in tackling local issues. He also spoke about the school-led community development approach being used by Open Science Hubs in a number of countries. 

Emma Martinez, Babraham Institute, Helen Garrison and Maria Hagardt, VA and Pedro Russo, Leiden University, participating in the roundtable session on ‘Engaging the Public through Open Science – Putting theory into practice’ at PCST 2020+1

Following short presentations, delegates were invited to share their own experiences of putting open science into practice in a breakout area of the PCST platform. Discussion focused around incentives for researchers to undertake citizen engagement activities plus the challenges of engaging a diverse range of participants, particularly in certain fields. The session was moderated by Helen Garrison of VA Public & Science.