VA (Public & Science) is a Swedish non-profit membership organisation that works to promote dialogue and openness between researchers and the public.

We, along with many others, believe that dialogue is a cornerstone of a democratic society and key to solving the societal challenges that we face.

VA’s members consist of some 90 organisations, authorities, universities, companies and associations. In addition, it has a number of individual members. The organisation was founded in January 2002 and is funded through membership fees, project grants and a grant from the Swedish Ministry of Education and Research.

VA’s Main Goals

  1. To ensure that the public understands what science is, how research works, and its role in society.
  2. To provide those working in education and research with knowledge about:
    • public attitudes to research
    • the importance of dialogue and engagement with society
    • methods for science communication
  3. To ensure that decision makers have access to science and recognise the value of dialogue and collaboration between researchers and society at large, and act accordingly.
  4. To strengthen VA’s role as an expert organisation in dialogue, science communication and public engagement both nationally and internationally.
  5. To ensure that VA’s members represent a broad range of societal actors. VA seeks to offer something of value to all its members.

VA has four strategies for achieving these goals:

Knowledge development

VA carries out studies and surveys with the aim of increasing knowledge about the relationships between science and society at large. This includes an annual VA Barometer into the Swedish public’s general attitudes towards science and researchers as well as more specific studies into societal groups such as journalists, teachers and the business community.

Activities

VA arranges many events and activities aimed at stimulating dialogue between researchers and the public in new ways and in novel arenas. It is the Swedish national co-ordinator for European Researchers’ Night, the annual European science festival. As part of European Researchers’ Night, VA also runs the Researchers’ Grand Prix, a science communication competition for researchers, and mass experiments in schools, which engage pupils in real research. In the EU project AllthingsBio.PRO,VA is also involved in the development of a serious game to engage citizens on the topic of the bioeconomy.

Communication

We collect and disseminate knowledge and experience gained by ourselves and others and as an organisation. Communication is at the heart of VA’s work and we utilise a range of communication tools, including traditional and social media, newsletters, as well as face-to-face activities, such as conferences.

Advocacy

VA also undertakes advocacy work, engaging in public debate and in dialogue with decision-makers. We seek to inform and influence research policy at both a national and international level. VA is currently a partner in a number of European projects: RETHINK shaping science communication for a digitalised world; EU-Citizen.Science developing a European platform for citizen science; YouCount co-creating social innovations and policy making through youth-focused citizen science; and TechEthos stimulating dialogue around controversial technologies. VA has also developed a new Swedish portal to help counter myths against covid vaccination – pratavaccin.se


VA in Europe

VA is an outward-looking organisation engaged in projects with many European partners and organisations. Read more about the experience and expertise that we can bring to partnerships. VA is also a member of ECSA (European Citizen Science Association), ECSITE (European network of science centres and museums) and EUSEA (European Science Engagement Association). Many reports and report summaries are available in English. Everyone working at VA has excellent English skills and will be happy to answer any questions about VA’s work or discuss potential future collaborations.

Four times a year VA issues an international newsletter in English. Sign up to receive it by email here.

View our member organisations and see our Board of Directors.

Read more about VA and its goals in VA’s information folder.

More information about our projects.

For further information please contact

Cissi Askwall, Secretary General of VA