InSPIRES co-hosts new Science Shop networks

Italian Network of Science Shop inaugural meeting. (Matteo Serra, Fondazione Bruno Kessler Magazine).

The Italian Network of Science Shops

InSPIRES partner, Universitá degli Studi di Firenze (UNIFI), has promoted the creation and consolidation of the Italian Network of Science Shops, including Italian members from our twin project, SciShops, and experienced members of Living Knowledge.

The network goals are to (1) disseminate the idea and initiatives of the network to Italian universities; (2) increase the visibility and knowledge of the science shop methodology towards interested stakeholders; and (3) search for funds on national and international calls.

In February 2020 a kick-off meeting was organised to present the network, and in December 2020 a webinar for universities was organised. The webinar was designed to offer universities the knowledge on the Science shop methodology, well known at European level but still little known in Italy. Two important Italian university networks gave their patronage: the university network for sustainability (RUS) and the network of universities for public engagement (APEnet). Moreover, a Final Event in Italian was organised in June 2021 by UNIFI together with the Italian Network of Science Shops to disseminate the achievements of the UNIFI Science Shop during the InSPIRES project, as well as to disseminate the possibilities offered by the Science Shop methodologies.

The Ibero American “Communities and Science” Network

Our Bolivian partner, CEADES, has co-hosted the creation of the “Communities and Science” Network with the participation of the Centro Latinoamericano de Aprendizaje y Servicio Solidario, CLAYSS (Argentina), the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, FIOCRUZ (Brazil), Soluciones Integrales y Estrategias de Innovación en Salud, SIEDIES (Ecuador) and IrsiCaixa and ISGlobal (Spain).

According to its founding members, the Ibero-American Communities and Science Network has been created in August 2020 to: 1) Exchange research experiences with communities in the fields of health and environment that have as their main objective «a change in the quality of life of the people involved». 2) Analyse the different adaptations of the Science Shop model in the Latin American environment. 3) Generate joint work in formal and non-formal education spaces based on the concepts of open, innovative and responsible science, identifying the most pressing issues in Latin America. 4) Disseminate different research methodologies with community participation and their benefits in academic and non-academic environments, in order to reduce the existing gaps between the scientific world and civil society.

Complementing this set of objectives, another purpose is also made explicit among the co-builders of this network. As before mentioned in the case of the Italian Network of Science Shops, the network is also seen as an instance that can bring members closer to funding opportunities.

The InSPIRES Summer School, organized in Bolivia in April 2021, invited several stakeholders from the region and has served as the basis for the creation of this Network and for forging links with other regional networks and expanding the Science Shop approach beyond the traditional circuits.

The Francophone Science Shop network

InSPIRES has also organized several activities for the Francophone Science Shop network. The Institute Pasteur de Tunis established links with Science Shops operating in Bénin, Sénégal, Niger and Canada, specially thanks to Florence Piron from Canada, with whom IPT presented a panel session during the LK8 in Budapest in May 2018. After that, two meetings were organized in Montpellier (France) and Dakar (Sénégal) with the contribution of IPT in order to identify the key actors of this network.

In April 2019, IPT and UdL organized the InSPIRES Spring school with the involvement of the most important Science shops of French speaking countries. Many Science shop from this network submitted projects during the open call launched by InSPIRES in 2019. One of them was awarded and involves 10 French speaking science shop. The French speaking network is more and more active also thanks to the coordination done by Science Citoyenne, which created a website dedicated to the French speaking network. Finally, this network is alive and continue to develop common actions and some of them are leaded by IPT, like a cycle of webinars entitled “The Science Shops at the University”. These open webinars (online on the InSPIRES Youtube Channel) were quite successful (280 views for the first one, 144 for the second, 77 for the third). IPT also coordinated with Science Citoyenne a panel session dedicated to the French speaking network during the LK9 festival, and can be considered as one the main contributors to this network.

Complementary, UdL organized every month a cycle of seminars (online and onsite) for the research community. In addition, presentations and workshops were organized for CSOs to accompany them to apply to the Science Shop. The UdL also organised monthly meetings with and for the French-speaking network of Living Labs, in which it shared its experience on public engagement and the creation of multi-partner projects.