We spoke to Elodie Chabrol, Falling Walls Engage Winner 2018, about her project and how the Falling Walls Engage Pitches opened up a worldwide network.

 

What is your project about?

The project Pint of Science is a worldwide science festival which brings researchers to local pub- and café-spaces to share their scientific discoveries with the public. It started in 2013 in the UK in three cities and it has since expanded to more than 25 countries around the world (+500 cities). We are happy to feature local researchers in any field.

 

What made you start this project and how did Falling Walls Engage and its community contribute to the further development of your project?

I jumped into the project at the very beginning when I was still a researcher. I started working on it because I love science and I wanted to help scientists meet the public and discuss their discoveries but also their everyday work. When I participated in the Falling Walls Engage pitches the first year in 2018, the project was already five years old, but the pitches gave us visibility, a great network and also a great deal of inspiration.

 

In which Falling Walls Engage format did you participate?

I participated in the very first Falling Walls Engage pitches, in 2018.

Did the Falling Walls Engage Pitches facilitate the contact to other projects for collaborations?

Yes, Falling Walls Engage is an amazing place to get worldwide contacts. I co-edited a science communication guide for scientists with a publishing company, Hindawi, and I tried to feature as many Falling Walls Engagers as possible. Lewis Hou wrote an article, Marie Mühlmann, former Falling Walls Engage project manager, was featured in the interview part, as well as Imran Khan and Ivvet Modinou, both 2018 Falling Walls Engage juries. Also two projects that pitched at the 2018 edition provided their input “In2science” and “I’m a scientist get me out of here“. Read the guide here.

The network was a big source of inspiration for this guide and I was really proud to feature as many of them and try to inspire scientists to do science communication and engagement thanks to those articles and stories.

Beyond the guide, I never miss an opportunity to connect with the network and to collaborate where possible. For example, I might teach science communication for the Durham University, where Francesca Fragkoudi, Science Breakthrough of the Year 2018 in Science Engagement, works.

"The pitches gave us visibility, a great network and also a great deal of inspiration."

Elodie Chabrol

Falling Walls Engage Winner 2018

What makes Falling Walls Engage unique to you?

So many things make Falling Walls Engage unique. I think the main ones are the efforts to keep the network alive and to make sure that it is not just a pitch-competition – it is also a gathering of inspiring minds each year and during the year. I am so grateful for the work done by the team to make sure we keep in touch.

The other main thing is the amazing selection of projects from all over the world. We meet people with all kinds of projects and all kinds of struggles and it is so inspiring to discuss our challenges and successes and learn from each other.

Pint of Science is a worldwide project and I benefit so much from meeting Engagers from everywhere, because I can learn about the state of science trust and -engagement around the world. I understand the local situations and it really helps for the further expansion of Pint of Science. It’s my favourite time of the year and I always leave Berlin exhausted but inspired for a whole year!

"I never miss an opportunity to connect with the network and to collaborate where possible."

Elodie Chabrol

Falling Walls Engage Winner 2018

What was your most emotional experience when you think about your collaboration with Falling Walls Engage?

Some pitches can really get me emotional, especially seeing the winners on the big stage every year. I am very happy that Falling Walls created Falling Walls Engage and spent so much time and energy in connecting, helping and giving visibility to Science Engagement projects.

When I started Pint of Science in 2013, the field of Science Engagement didn’t have so much support and it was really hard to start with it. So, when I see that Falling Walls is supporting Science Engagement that much, I get proud of my own work and happy to be part of this adventure.

Thank you so much for bringing it all together, thank you to the team and can’t wait to see the new edition in November.

I did my PhD in neurogenetics and defended it in 2009. Back then, science communication wasn’t as big and common as it is now. I didn’t do any until my 2nd postdoc in UCL, London in 2013.

One month after starting, I received an email from scientists starting a science festival and looking for volunteers to build it. I immediately called them to join; and I was in! This is how I started working on Pint of Science!

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