What makes science newsworthy? New VA study of Swedish science journalists reveals the decisions behind the headlines

Healthy food, the climate and immigration. These are the three research areas that stir up the most debate amongst the general public, according to Swedish science journalists. Twelve journalists were interviewed to investigate what influences their reporting of scientific issues in a new report, recently published by the Swedish non-profit organisation VA (Public & Science).

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Swedish Star-Spotting Experiment off to a sparkling start

The Star-Spotting Experiment, this year’s citizen science project in connection with the European Researchers’ Night events in Sweden, is now well underway. Members of the public across Sweden are helping scientists to measure light pollution by counting stars in the sky and recording the data in a specially-designed app. Here we catch up with Lena Söderström, Project Manager at VA (Public & Science), who is coordinating the Star-Spotting Experiment, to find out how the project is progressing.

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Science Shops – pairing researchers and citizens to solve societal needs

Science Shops can be an effective model for developing mutually beneficial relationships between academia and society. By working together to find solutions to societal issues, students/researchers get to work on real-life problems and civil society organisations get access to research expertise and new knowledge.

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Why should the public be involved in science?

“For research to be really impactful, the public has to be involved. They need to understand the research and we need to help to connect the research to what people care about,” says Imran Khan, Head of Public Engagement at Wellcome Trust in the UK, one of the world’s largest research funders. But do the public wish to be involved in science? The German and Swedish Science Barometers, the EU-project ORION Open Science European public attitudes survey and the Wellcome Trust Global Monitor have all asked this question.

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Getting to grips with the bioeconomy with Swedish stakeholders

What is the bioeconomy? Is it always climate-friendly? Does it mean the sustainable use of natural resources? What are renewable resources and bio-based production? Does the bioeconomy include the circular economy and ecosystem services, or anything else? Two workshops held in December and January in Stockholm brought together a range of people with an interest in this field to discuss ways to increase public interest and knowledge about the bioeconomy. Läs mer


Mass star-spotting experiment to investigate light pollution in Sweden

Street lamps, illuminated signs and buildings – lights at night improve safety and make cities more attractive, but have also been shown to have negative effects for humans and animals. The more light there is, the fewer stars you can see in the night sky. In this year’s mass experiment, more than 11,000 pupils, families and other members of the public will help scientists measure light pollution by counting stars in the sky.

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Large-scale survey to investigate what researchers in Sweden think about communication and open science

To what extent do researchers want to communicate with the external world? What barriers do they face and what type of support would be of help to them? Are they aware about the transition towards open science and what do they think about it? This week, a survey on communication and open science is being sent to a large proportion of researchers at Swedish universities.

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What do Europeans think about life sciences research?

The ORION Open Science report ”Public attitudes to life sciences research in six European countries” shows that interest in life sciences research is generally high among citizens and that the three most accepted purposes of using genome editing are related to the medical field. 6000 persons were interviewed in this pan-European study which was led by the ORION partners VA in Sweden and CEITEC in the Czech Republic. The full report is now published.

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New resources for Science Shops

As part of the EU SciShops project consortium, VA (Public & Science) has been helping to produce a range of resources to support both new and established Science Shops. The resources address various aspects of setting up and running a Science Shop and take into account different types of organisational models.

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