In Sweden, universities have three official mandates – research, education and the so-called ‘third assignment’ “samverkan” – interaction with society. The third assignment stipulates that universities should collaborate with the surrounding society, inform people about their research and work to ensure that their research is of use to society. In the 2012 Research and Innovation Bill, the Swedish government tasked VINNOVA, Sweden’s innovation agency, with developing a model that can be used to evaluate the quality and performance of a university’s interaction with society with the ultimate aim of using this model for resource allocation. But how do you measure this type of engagement and which indicators should be used?
VA (Public & Science) is organising a student parliament on urban sustainability from 8 -10 April in collaboration with Thorildsplans gymnasium, an upper secondary school in Stockholm. Five of the Swedish students will be selected to participate in a European Student Science Parliament in Copenhagen in June.
Vetenskap & Allmänhet, VA, (Public & Science) is the Swedish partner in a new European project involving 30 countries. The aim is to improve the research and innovation process in Europe. The work will be carried out in direct consultation with a range of civil society stakeholders.
Public confidence in scientists at universities is at a record high in Sweden and there is large support for investment in research, regardless of whether the results will be of immediate use or not. But age is a factor. It is retired people in Sweden who are the most positive towards scientific progress. However, they are also the ones with the least faith in climate research, whereas young people are the most optimistic. These are results from the latest barometer conducted by Swedish non-profit organisation, VA (Public & Science).
Andreas Ohlin, a researcher at Örebro University, has won the Swedish 2013 Researchers’ Grand Prix – the national competition in which contestants must present their research in a very short amount of time. He was selected as the winner by an expert panel of judges and the audience on 5 December in Stockholm.
In today’s society, scientists don’t just need to tell the public about their research. They must also be able to defend it, particularly if the research has social implications and is of high public interest. This is what a recently launched UK prize acknowledges.
Are you planning a science communication event? A new best practice manual provides advice on key elements to make your event successful, attract new audiences, identify topics, and define content and structure. Evaluation methodology and checklists are also included.