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What does the public expect from genome editing in life-sciences? Results from ORION Public dialogues

Welcome to the online launch event of the findings of the ORION public dialogue on genome editing on 11 March at 14:00-16:00 CET. The public dialogues which were conducted in the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden and the UK during 2019/2020 sought to explore public attitudes to fundamental life sciences research when revolutionary genome editing technologies are used in order to understand when and how to engage audiences with emerging technologies. The dialogue also sought to understand how public engagement strategies might differ between countries.

Inspiring story - Aligning an entire country to develop an Open Science action plan

Taking Open Science ideas and putting them into practice is a challenge. Even at institutional level there are many different stakeholders with different motivations and challenges who need to support Open Science initiatives. At a national level, these challenges are even greater with many institutions and governing bodies needing to find common ground. This is a challenge that has been taken up in the ORION project and the Czech partner CEITEC - the Central European Institute of Technology, set about changing the way that their institution engaged in Open Science.

Inspiring story - Using Art as a way to level the playing field when discussing science

Can art help to explain scientific concepts? During the course of the ORION project, artist Emilia Tikka designed an art piece to represent a possible future scenario where it was possible to prevent aging using genome editing. The art piece was produced by Tikka while she was on a residency with the ORION partner, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin. There she spent time in a molecular biology lab and developed the concept for her art piece titled “ÆON - Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR.”

Inspiring story - Pollution project captures the imagination of primary school children

Talking about pollution on a global level is important, but for communities, it is equally important to understand and discuss how pollution is affecting their local environment. Protecting areas of local natural beauty is crucial in local communities, but this is difficult to achieve if people don’t know about the environmental threats that their local area faces. Klára Vaculíková from Brno University technology designed a project to engage school classes who helped to monitor levels of the water pollutant phosphorus in the Moravský kras which is a spectacular natural limestone feature to the north of Brno. This project was funded as part of a co-creation call from the ORION partner JCMM.

Inspiring story - Introducing co-creation in fundamental life sciences?

Genigma is one of the two citizen science projects that has received funding from the ORION Open Science project. The Genigma project, managed by CNAG-CRG, is developing a game to explore the genomic alterations in cancer cells. The idea of the game is the result of a collaboration between the scientific team and a group of citizens who have participated in co-creation events previous to the game development.

Co-creating ideas to improve health of citizens in small communities

The ORION MELTIC project coordinated by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, has run its first co-creation workshops together with stakeholders from different sectors of society. The project, which started on 1st March 2020, brings together two disciplines; health as well as information and communication technologies (ICT), and will improve the quality of life of European citizens in small communities.

Public dialogue to spur engagement? ORION at Engage Festival 2020

The online Engage Festival, organised by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) in the UK brought together public engagement and science communication professionals from all over the UK and the EU for discussions, knowledge exchange and networking. The ORION project ran a session to share experiences of how public dialogues could be a tool for public engagement on societal issues such as genome editing.

Passing on lessons learned: ORION train-the-trainer course

The ORION ‘Train-the-Trainer’ course was developed to help Open Science advocates and stakeholders learn from the training that has been delivered throughout the project and equip them with the skills to run their own training. The course ran from the 19th October to the 4th November and 21 people from all over the world participated in the online training.

Gaming for a change - ORION VACCINE project

The UK recently lost its measles eradication status, leading to urgent calls for action and making vaccination an important and timely issue with the potential for far-reaching impact. Meanwhile, the current Covid-19 pandemic and the discovery of a vaccine has renewed interest in and fear of vaccinations. The novel ORION VACCINE project aims to create together with young people a digital game and engagement tool for engaging the public with the science behind vaccinations, infections and the immune system.