Unlocking the Power of Public Engagement - Insights from the EUSEA Conference May 2023

EnDROID’s researcher, Dr. Lenka Pelechova, participated on the EUSEA conference in May 2023.

This two-day conference brought together researchers dedicated to making science accessible and engaging for non-scientists (e.g. teachers, media commentators, politicians and the public at large). At the conference Lenka participated on a panel discussion presenting her work (Pelechova, 2022).

Here are a few key insights Lenka brought from the conference:

Conference presenters highlighted that complex research does not have to be intimidating and articulated the importance of breaking down intricate scientific concepts into easily digestible nuggets of knowledge. By encouraging questions and curiosity, learning about the latest scientific discoveries or technical breakthroughs becomes an exciting adventure rather than a chore.

Public engagement practitioners are finding innovative ways to bring scientific concepts to life. Techniques such as the use of plain language, captivating cinematography, online games, children’s clubs and even setting up pop-up gardens, help make science exciting for all. While other researchers emphasised the power of using art exhibitions, nature walks, and historical anecdotes as launching pads to engage with the public.

The conference stressed the importance of making science inclusive and accessible for all. Attendees suggested integrating science communication into the early stages of Ph.D. training. By equipping researchers with effective communication skills, we can create a future where science is shared with enthusiasm at the earliest opportunity.

As researchers play a vital role in public engagement, it’s important to recognise their efforts and hence the conference raised intriguing questions about how researchers are acknowledged for their public engagement work.

Lastly, the conference highlighted the significance of interdisciplinary collaboration in science communication. By breaking down barriers and fostering partnerships between different fields, we amplify the quality and impact of public engagement initiatives.

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  1. Pelechova, L. (2022). Public Awareness of Novel Technologies: DNA Data Storage as a study case (Version 1). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7926530