Three minutes is all it takes to pitch your innovative project at Falling Walls Lab. Yet to improve mutual understanding, mutual benefit, and bridge the perceived gap between academia and the public in a sustainable manner, creative Science Engagement solutions are crucially important. As part of the Science Engagement Team-Up, Falling Walls Lab alumni with established projects took on the exciting challenge to further develop and increase the scope of science communication within their projects.
In 2022, Falling Walls Lab and Falling Walls Engage joined forces to launch a new Science Engagement mentorship programme for which Lab and Engage alumni from pre-selected regions could apply. Via a call for Science Engagement projects, Falling Walls Lab alumni were encouraged to apply to the mentorship programme. Those selected were, depending on their region and background, matched with an experienced Science Engagement practitioner to receive specially tailored advice on how best to incorporate new elements of Science Engagement and communication into their work.
That summer, six Falling Walls Lab and Falling Walls Engage alumni ‘teamed up’ to create new science-based engagement activities in Mexico and Southern Africa. Based on the teams’ specific areas of expertise, and with innovative research, engagement experience, and a passion for tackling pressing issues, the three teams developed hyperlocal, engaging, and community-driven solutions that they showcased and reflected on at the Berlin Science Week on 3 November 2022.
“Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity. It comes at a time when we need it the most. I’m looking forward to the next steps.”
Science Engagement Team-Up participant
The inaugural Science Engagement Team-Up consisted of the following projects:
- Adivhaho Mphaphuli teamed up with Stanley Anigbogu for her STEM Awareness initiative (STEM-Pro), which strives to make Science Engagement easier and more accessible to all students (and girls in particular) in remote areas of South Africa.
- José Luis Flores-Guerrero teamed up with Cristian Zaelzer-Pérez to further develop an arts & science engagement project titled ‘Biotlahuilli’ (from the Greek Bios: life and the Nahuatl Tlahuilli: light), which focuses on cardiometabolic disease in rural areas of Puebla, Mexico. For their project, the team invited a group of pregnant women to use painting and ceramics to better grasp the Raman spectroscopy mechanism for detecting diabetes. Another workshop of theirs targeted young children from the northern mountains of Puebla, Mexico.
- Kaveto Tjatjara teamed up with Jacqueline Goldin to further develop his science engagement project Flushh – a waterless toilet project for remote areas in Namibia – and conduct a short-term participatory evaluation of community projects with a strong focus on gender.
The mentoring teams quickly developed new projects within their teams, enjoyed working together, and showed high levels of motivation and commitment throughout. Across all projects, the participants felt inspired and showed their appreciation for the involvement of Falling Walls.
“Thank you so much. I had a wonderful time during the session. It was great connecting with everyone.”
Science Engagement Team-Up participant
Falling Walls’ goal is to connect Falling Walls Lab alumni with Science Engagers around the world, to inspire new collaborations, and to activate and encourage researchers to increase the societal impact of their projects through Science Engagement in their respective countries and regions.
Are you interested in joining us for the next mentorship team-up? Partners gain exclusive insights into the development of innovative research projects and become part of a local and international network of Science Engagers and award-winning scientists. We look forward to hearing from you!