This Winners Session presents the Top 10 Breakthroughs in the Science Engagement category. These passionate ambassadors of science are reaching for the stars with projects on the universe and astrophysics, creating accessibility to these subjects for refugees, the public, and people with vision impairments. The fascination for and potential of science are brought to a diverse audience, from young people in underprivileged rural communities in India and Africa to inmates in Scottish prisons. Meanwhile, in Australia, an escape room for cancer education is educating its players on cancer prevention and therapeutics challenges, while in Germany scientists and angler communities are generating ecological knowledge to foster sustainable fisheries. Jury Chair Melanie Smallman summarises: “During 2020, the importance of science, but also the importance of breaking down the wall between science and society has never been clearer. It’s about providing information and educating people, but it’s really important as well that we listen to those people that think science isn’t for them. So we can make sure to engage with them in the future, and not leave them behind.”


We are delighted to announce the ten winners in the category Science Engagement Initiatives:


Breaking the Wall to Astronomy for the Vision-Impaired
Bonne’s outreach project is developing accessible teaching resources and workshops to make current topics in astrophysics, traditionally a visual science, accessible to young people with vision impairments.


Breaking the Wall of Engagement In Prisons
Stewart’s project brings informal science learning to the learning centres of 6 Scottish prisons and provides a platform for researchers to develop confidence and skills in engagement.


Breaking The Wall of Cancer Education
Using an escape room as a unique and innovative platform, Excite Science explains the complexities of cancer through an immersive experience, as the world’s first portable cancer biology-themed puzzle room. 


Breaking The Wall of Astronomy and The Sahrawi Refugees
The project facilitates the development of scientific skills and critical thinking through teacher workshops, hands-on activities and sky observations in local schools, contributing to the improvement of the quality of teaching in the Sahrawi refugee community.


Breaking the Wall to Energy Trapped in the Earth
In a public-space pop-up exhibition, guests are guided through interactive panels and a life-size volcano, through the use of augmented reality. The exhibition addresses the issues of volcanoes: formation, eruptions and their influence on culture.


Breaking the Wall of the Travelling Telescope
By bringing a 12- inch computerised telescope and an 8-meter portable planetarium to schools and public places, the project focuses on inspiring people into science and technology through astronomy.


Breaking the Wall to a Youth-Led Science World
With the Bayer Kimlu Science Fellowship, Contreras-Villarroel is shaping the next generation of STEM leaders in Latin America through a 10-day youth STEM-leadership science camp and continued Kimlu network.


Breaking the Wall to Sustainable Fisheries
Arlinghaus is building on the joint execution of large-scale field experiments in cooperation with scientists and angler communities to generate high-quality ecological knowledge co-produced by science and stakeholders.


Breaking the Wall of Unemployment
Pradhan’s initiative aims to improve the quality of education in rural and semi-rural areas in India through programs on innovation, science, and technology by organizing short term programs for students.


Breaking the Wall to Reaching the Unreachable
A mobile science bus aims to reach out to the underprivileged communities of Egypt through edutainment hands-on activities and spark their passion in science and inspire them to choose science and technology fields for their studies and careers and highlight science’s vital influence on Egypt’s social and economic development.

Nicolas Bonne

Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth

I am a vision impaired astronomer and science communicator at the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation. I lead the Tactile Universe public engagement project, which is developing free 3D printable resources to help vision impaired people (particularly students) engage with current topics in astronomy research. I also work as consultant and adviser with groups both nationally and internationally to develop methods of communicating their science in more accessible ways.

Mhairi Stewart

University of St Andrews

Dr. Mhairi Stewart is the Head of Public Engagement with Research at the University of St Andrews. She has a research background in molecular parasitology and has held postdoctoral positions in Scotland and Germany. She moved into roles in public engagement while at the Wellcome Trust Centre in Glasgow University, joining St Andrews in 2015 as a public engagement officer, becoming Head of PE in 2016 building public engagement strategies for individuals, academic schools and the institute.

Ken Dutton-Regester

Excite Science

Dr. Ken Dutton-Regester is an active cancer researcher of twelve years exploring new ways to treat late-stage melanoma. In 2019, Ken founded Excite Science to explain complex biology to hard-to-reach audiences using immersive experiences. Having served on national and international leadership bodies, Ken founded Stemventurist; a community resource to help scientists in their careers, inside or outside of academia. In 2019, Ken was ministerially appointed as a Questacon Advisory Council member.

Susan Murabana Owen

The Travelling Telescope

Susan Murabana Owen is the CEO of The Travelling Telescope, a social enterprise dedicated to promoting astronomy through education and astrotourism. She is also the president of African Planetarium Association and the United Nations Space4Women mentor 2020/2021. Susan thinks that every child should have a chance to look through the telescope and experience a lesson outside under the stars at least once in a lifetime.

Oscar Contreras-Villarroel

Fundacion Ciencia Joven

Oscar Contreras-Villarroel is the Hub Manager of the Falling Walls Engage Hub Argentina. He is the founder of the Fundación Ciencia Joven, and the Executive Director of the Ecoscience Foundation. Oscars 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.

Anil Pradhan

Navonmesh Prasar Foundation

Anil Pradhan a.k.a. “Ideasman of India” is one of the revolutionary Educationalists of India. He is the Founder of IPSFRI (School for Rural Innovation), which is a noble initiative to educate the less-privileged students of Odisha through an interdisciplinary S.T.E.A.M. curriculum in 2015. He is also the founder of the Navonmesh Prasar Foundation. Felicitated with awards like Global Changemaker, Shambhavi Award and National Youth Icon Award. Anil has quit 3 cushy jobs to follow his dreams to educate students through an experimental approach to learning.

Mohamed Daoud

The Funlab

Mohamed Daoud is a science communication officer at the American University in Cairo, where he implements different science communication projects. Mohamed achieved his master’s degree in science communication from the University of Manchester in 2018 through the prestigious UK Government Chevening Scholarship. Mohamed participated in many local and global science festivals and events. He is also one of Egypt’s top 10 Science Communicators according to FameLab competition.