We spoke to Oscar Contreras-Villarroel, Falling Walls Engage Hub Argentina Manager and Falling Walls Engage Winner 2019 and 2021, about the importance of the international Hub network and emerging collaborations.


What is the focus of the Falling Walls Engage Hub Argentina and which countries does it cover?

We are an organization rooted in the Southern Cone region of South America, representing the identity of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and more. The Hub Argentina is working to become a platform for Science Engagement practitioners from the region to share experiences and connect their work, hosted by Fundación Ciencia Joven (FCJ) and supported by Elizabeth Haug, Regional Programs Director, and FCJ’s team.


Why do you think a Falling Walls Engage Hub is particularly important in your region?

Falling Walls Engage is an important opportunity to connect the work from the Global South to other regions of the world. Sharing experiences, opportunities and collaboration among different projects and organisations allows the network to grow and to open more possibilities for the field in the region.

"Falling Walls Engage is an important opportunity to connect the work from the Global South to other regions of the world."

Oscar Contreras-Villarroel

Falling Walls Engage Hub Argentina Manager

Which collaborations and cooperations have emerged since the launch of the Hub Argentina in 2020?

Among various opportunities, we have been able to collaborate and sign a cooperation agreement with the UNESCO Regional Office for Science for Latin America and the Caribbean to expand the work and opportunities for the network. UNESCO and Fundación Ciencia Joven – the host organisation of the Hub – will work to spread the work further of Science Engagement in the region. We are also working on possible collaborations with the Hub Mexico as well as other Engage Hubs. More to come soon!


You hosted an event AS PART OF THE HUB IN OCTOBER 2022 in Buenos Aires. what was the response participants?

This awaited event was an opportunity to connect people who are linked to science and society, generating a space for exchange of experiences between different actors in the ecosystem of scientific dissemination, citizen participation in science and public policies. We had the chance to welcome Carolina Vera, Vice Chair of the IPCC’s Working Group I (WGI) and Director of the Argentinean-French Institute for Climate Studies, and Raúl Estrada Oyuela, career diplomat, who has been directly involved in the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Both speakers and participants were grateful for this opportunity and are looking forward to a new evens next year.

The speakers appreciated the opportunity to disseminate their work as well as the exchange of opinions generated with the participants. Participants said the experience was very enriching. In addition, they appreciated the open format and the opportunity to actively participate in talks and workshops. Topics included community engagement, climate change politics, gender-specific approaches and introductions to science communication formats. 

"Creating a global network with local identities is the value of the international Hub network."

Oscar Contreras-Villarroel

Falling Walls Engage Hub Argentina Manager

Where do you see the value OF the Hub network?

Creating a global network with local identities is the value of the international Hub network. Each participant is able to share their local context and experience and get involved in a valuable global platform for collaboration. This international platform helps advance the development of the field and the way science connects to society.


What was the most inspiring experience you had as part of the Hub network?

The opportunity to learn from local projects in Mexico as part of the Hub launch in 2022 was an overwhelming experience. Identifying the work small communities are doing to bring science into their practices is marvelous. The chance to bring these projects to a global context is a unique opportunity to learn and get inspired by successful projects.

Oscar Contreras-Villarroel is the Hub Manager of the Falling Walls Engage Hub Argentina. He is the president of the Fundación Ciencia Joven and the Vice President and Legal Representative in Chile at the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). Oscar’s expertise is in working with companies at a regional level to develop private partnerships. He was responsible for implementing one of the first STEM community engagement programme at the first Google data centre in Latin America. Oscar has been a Falling Walls Engage Winner in 2019 and 2021.

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