Science to inspire and amaze – 300 cities in 28 countries celebrate European Researchers’ Night

A thunderstorm simulation in Romania, organ-dissecting workshops in Estonia and a spectacular light show in Birmingham were just a few of the thousands of free activities held on 25 September as part of the 2015 Researchers’ Night – Europe’s largest science festival.

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VA at Almedalen – Sweden’s biggest political forum

The hope for a better life – that’s the foundation for the strong support for investing in research and innovation among Swedes, according to Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Swedish minister for higher education and research. She participated in VA’s dialogue seminar on 30 June during Almedalen week in Visby.

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Fifty shades of deceit – ESOF session on public perception of research misconduct

How research misconduct is reported is critically dependent on the relationship between science and the media. Does media coverage impact public confidence in research? How does the scientific community deal with research misconduct?

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Should science always be open? – Report from an ESOF seminar

What can you gain from opening up your data? What is the balance between benefits and concerns in relation to openness to knowledge and data? Does openness pose risks for privacy and patients?

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Swedish students debate resolutions for a more sustainable future

How does Stockholm need to change to meet the demands and challenges of the future? Driverless electric cars and better recycling facilities were some of the proposals in resolutions developed by a group of Swedish pupils and passed in a student parliament held in April 2014. The parliament’s final debate took place in the debating chamber of the County Hall in Stockholm, where the resolutions were handed over to Per Ankersjö, the Vice-Mayor for Environment at the City of Stockholm.

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How do you measure a university’s interaction with society?

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?

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Science matters: 300 cities celebrate Researchers’ Night

Robotic shows, live link-ups with NASA scientists, energy-generating dancing, murder mysteries to solve and real-time outdoor projections of the sun. These were just a few of the thousands of free activities that took place on 27 September at the 2013 Researchers’ Night – Europe’s largest science festival.

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ESOF session: “Scientists need to feel that engagement is important!”

At the Euroscience Open Forum in Dublin, VA (Public & Science) organised a well-attended session on the theme of communication between scientists and the public. The conclusions drawn from the session included the need for clear incentives and for scientists to feel that engagement is important in order to be willing to engage with the public.

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Lively discussion between the public and GMO researchers in Uppsala

Is it safe to eat genetically modified food? Does genetically modified food taste differently from ordinary food? Does wild and genetically modified salmon differ in appearance? These were a few questions discussed at a dialogue event on 7 December, organised by VA and Uppsala University.

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Asthma tests and research discussions attracted the public

How do I prevent my kids and myself from developing asthma? Is it something genetic? How can researchers and patients work together in order to find better treatments? These were a few questions discussed at a dialogue event on 19th October, organised by VA, the Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association.

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