VA talks science shops at the Living Knowledge conference

The 8th Living Knowledge conference was held in Budapest from 30 May to 1 June. Two VA colleagues, Helen Garrison and Martin Bergman, joined other SciShops partners to present some of the project’s work so far and gain inspiration from others in the Living Knowledge network.

Helen Garrison presenting SciShops at the 2018 Living Knowledge conference.

Around 260 delegates from 33 countries participated in the three days of informative workshops, discussions and sharing of experiences around the theme of Enriching Science and Community Engagement. Delegates represented a broad spectrum of knowledge, including science shops, community-based participatory research, participatory action research, public engagement and citizen science.

VA joined two other SciShops partners to present findings from the project so far, including science shop case studies; the results of a worldwide survey on awareness and experience of community-based participatory research; a literature study; and impact analysis.

Many delegates expressed interest in the new science shops that SciShops will be setting up, particularly those based at non-university organisations, such as SMEs and private research institutes, and there were a number of interesting discussions about the future direction of science shops. Impact evaluation and how to measure the impact of science shops’ work was also a topic that stimulated discussion.

SciShops’ Project Coordinator, Carmen Munteanu from SYNYO, also contributed to a panel discussion exploring the future place and role of science shops alongside Norbert Steinhaus from Bonn Science Shop and Coordinator of the Living Knowledge Network; Dr Henk Mulder, from the University of Groningen; and Anne-Sophie Gresle from SciShops’ sister project, InSPIRES.

“It was great to meet with so many others working with science shops from around the world, including many of the people that we interviewed for the SciShops’ case studies,” said Helen Garrison, Project & Communications Manager at VA. “I believe all the SciShops’ partners left feeling inspired and motivated, and discussions will certainly inform the next stages of the project as we start developing new types of science shops,” she added.

As the three days were drawing to an end, it was also announced that the next Living Knowledge conference would be returning to the birthplace of the science shop movement, the Netherlands, and be held at the University of Groningen in June 2020.

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