Berlin, 8 November 2020. Science Engagers and communicators around the world are working to find creative ways to connect to the public, engage in meaningful dialogue and inspire scientific thinking. In 2018, The Falling Walls Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung launched the international platform for Science Engagement to generate awareness of successful science outreach programmes and foster exchange between their initiators. Each year, at Falling Walls Engage, initiatives from around the world present their creative methods of engaging the public in science for the chance of being named the Breakthrough of the Year. The award recognises projects that build bridges between science and society in an inspiring way and show outstanding outcome in their respective region and target group.
Completely online for the first time this year, applications from 241 initiatives from 73 countries were submitted. 112 finalists were invited to share their projects in a 5-minute video, freely accessible in the Falling Walls media library.Today the 10 winners, chosen by an interdisciplinary jury of top researchers, museum directors and journalists, were announced at the Science Engagement ‘Winners Session’. Chaired by Melanie Smallman, Co-Director of the new Centre for Science Communication at UCL, the jury will decide on a Science Engagement Breakthrough of the Year, to be made public tomorrow, 9 November, together with the Breakthroughs from the 9 other categories.
Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
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.
SANDRA BENITEZ HERRERA
Breaking the Wall of Astronomy and Sahrawi Refugees. In her science outreach project, Amanar – under the same sky, Benitez Herrera aims to empower and inspire the Sahrawi refugee community through the wonders of the Universe. 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 region.
University of Portsmouth, UK
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.
Fundacion Ciencia Joven, Chile
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.
The Funlab, Egypt
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.
Excite Science, Australia
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. Highlighting prevention messaging and modern therapeutic challenges, the project exhibited to various audiences throughout Australia.
Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence, Chile
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.
SUSAN MURABANA OWEN
The Travelling Telescope, Kenya
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.
Navonmesh Prasar Foundation, India
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.
University of St Andrews, UK
Breaking the Wall of Engagement in Prisons. Stewart’s project, Cell Block Science, 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. Engagement between sessions is sustained through popular science books and textbooks. Cell Block Science also engages with the learners’ families through family learning programmes and family visits.
“During 2020, the importance of science, but also the importance of breaking down the wall between science and society has never been clearer. At Falling Walls Engage, we are looking for the projects that do that – that make sure that no one is left behind as we break down the wall between science and society.” – Melanie Smallman
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Falling Walls Foundation gGmbH
About the Falling Walls Foundation
The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Berlin. The foundation creates international and interdisciplinary platforms and networks through its annual Falling Walls Conference, which asks each year on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: Which walls will fall next?
Falling Walls Conference
This year, the conference shifts from a physical event in Berlin to a global virtual showcase. Here, we gather, discuss and celebrate the most recent breakthroughs in science and society. This happens across a packed schedule of live streams, video presentations, live panels and virtual meetings.
The Berlin Science Week is organised with the support of the Senate Chancellery – Science and Research and Berlin Partner. Coordination is provided by the not-for-profit Falling Walls Foundation. The Falling Walls programme is conducted with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research and many other partnersof the Falling Walls Foundation.