Brussels, 29 October 2001
Key words: scientific and technological literacy, public awareness, young people
The 2001 edition of the European Science and Technology Week will take place from 5 to 11 November in more than 20 countries. Thought-provoking events organised during this week in many cities across Europe aim at raising public awareness of science and technology and showing the importance of European co-operation and tradition.
Said Philippe Busquin, Commissioner for Research: "The Union has reinforced and will still reinforce its support to the development of citizens' scientific and technological literacy. We believe this is an important issue. Today teaching has become too theoretical, perhaps as a result of a shortage of funds. Initiatives such as the European Science Week allow us to reintroduce the intuitive dimension into teaching science. They also reinforce dialogue and enable researchers to keep an eye on citizens' expectations.
The European Science and Technology Week is part of a broader EU initiative to raise public awareness of research in general and in particular to encourage young people to take an interest in science – not only as potential future scientists, technologists and technicians, but also as better-informed citizens.
Following a call proposals published in 2000 7 projects (see annex) have been selected (EU-funding EUR 1.73 million) and will organise events across Europe during the week beginning 5 November (see table on next page). Most of these projects have also designed entertaining web sites which are likely to attract lots of young web-surfers and provide useful information about the events and follow-on activities.
This year several additional activities have joined the European Week. The Commission also created a permanent web site on the Science Week (including a media pack) and more generally on activities to raise public awareness of science and technology.
The Science Week takes place at a time when policy makers across Europe are concerned with declining number of students choosing to enrol in science subjects.
Journalists wishing to attend one of these events should contact the organisers or the Commission contacts indicated below.
Localisation of the events
BE, UK, FR
Life in the Universe
AT, BG, CH, CZ, DE, ES, GR, HU,
IE, NL, PO, PT, SE
BE, DE, ES, UK
ES, GR, IT, PT
IT, SE, UK
Small is beautiful
EE, FI, LT, SL
For Press information please contact:
Michel Claessens, Information and Communication Unit, Research DG,
Melanie Kitchener, Science and society Directorate, Research
Tel : +32-2-295.99.71; Fax: +32-2-295.82.20
Tel : +32-2-295.06.86; Fax: +32-2-296.32.70,
For additional information on the Week:
Special issue of RTD info on "Young people and science": http://ec.europa.eu/research/rtdinfo.html
Stephen Parker, Improving human potential programme, Research
Tel : +32.2.295.85.51, Fax : +32.2.296.70.24,
E-mail : email@example.com
European Science and Technology Week 2001
Description of the projects selected.
Why isn't science a source of inspiration for the media?
After all, it certainly has its adventures, sometimes heroic figures, and
discoveries full of suspense. Why would the layman fail to be fascinated by
research if it is presented in the right way for a mass audience? Television
alone can reach such an audience and is also the most suited for a
'dramatisation' of science. EuroPAWS (European Public Awareness of Science
initiative) is encouraging efforts to this effect with initiatives such as
grants for TV drama scriptwriting, a new festival of TV dramas and the first
Midas prizes. The latter will be awarded to the best television dramas: one
prize for dramas based on factual science stories, and the other for fictional
stories in which science or technology play a major role.
Co-ordinated by the CCLRC (Council for the Central
Laboratories of the Research Councils/UK), EuroPAWS is an association of five
partners, two of them European groups of actors/producers and scientists. Its
website offers some interesting avenues to be explored by anyone seeking to
launch drama projects drawing on science and technology.
Awards ceremony: Institute of Electrical Engineers,
London (UK), 5 November
Press conference and presentation: Musées Royaux d’Art
et d’Histoire, Brussels (BE), 7 November
|Life in the Universe
Who are we, and where do we come from?
In the beginning, probably between 13 and 17 billion years
ago, came the Big Bang. But what does this theory mean? What is our present
understanding of the Universe? What forms of life could possibly exist outside
the solar system? What in fact constitutes life? What do scientists
know about the origins of our world and the worlds around us? Secondary school
students (14 to 19 years) in 23 European countries are invited to present
their 'conception of the Universe', their ideas on its development, and the
questions it raises in the form of projects. These can take virtually any
format, from the creation of a website to theatre.
Two winners per country will then be selected to come to
CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics) in Geneva where they will
present their projects and have the opportunity to discuss them with seasoned
This three-day event will culminate with the awarding of
the Super Contest Prizes in the form of an invitation to the launch of
the Ariane rocket at the European Space Agency site in Kourpou (French Guyana)
and a visit to the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at Cerro Paranal
(Chile), site of the world's largest telescope (see RTD info no. 31).
This final will be broadcast on the Internet.
As partners of CERN, the ESA and the ESO, the European
Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE), the European Molecular Biology
Laboratory (EMBL), and the European Synchroton Radiation Facility (ESRF) will
also be contributing to these events.
A three-day meeting-debate at CERN, Geneva (CH), 8-11
Live web cast on 10 November at 7.00 pm
Biotechnologies and daily life
Demonised by some, and presented as the inevitable solution
for the future by others, GMOs are at the forefront of the debate between
science and society which is currently interesting a growing number of
Europeans. It is also a subject on which expert opinion is divided. A
45'-documentary on plant biotechnology ("Genes on the menu") and a
conference debate on the implications of GMOs in the areas of health, food,
the environment, the principle of precaution and freedom of research, will be
shown at four European science museums: in Munich, Bristol, Brussels and
Madrid. The aim is to provide the general public with the most comprehensive
and objective information possible in the interests of a well-informed debate.
This film will report on the latest European research in the field. It will be
produced in five language versions (Spanish, Italian, German, French, English)
and will be available on video, CD, DVD and on the Net. A five-minute
presentation version will be available in science museums and on the Net.
A video conference organised by the Nature Publishing Group
and the Deutsches Museum in Munich will accompany the documentary's first
screening. This will be attended by science journalists and publishers,
politicians, education experts, etc. There will also be an award for
investigative journalism in the field of biotechnologies.
Live debate involving Commissioner Busquin and panels at 4
locations on 8 November
Film premiere and video conference: Deutsches Museum,
Brussels, Bristol, Madrid, 5 -11 November
The benefits of renewable energy sources
The sun, the wind, plant waste… Each one is an energy
source which respects the environment and is the subject of increasingly
significant research. Infoplanet presents the latest developments in the field
of renewable energy sources with a particular focus on Europe's Mediterranean
region. Four educational exhibitions, complete with explanatory posters and
videos, will be held simultaneously in four cities: Rome, Thessaloniki,
Barcelona and Porto.
At each venue, the general public -
and secondary school teachers and pupils in particular -
will be able to meet and debate with researchers and other experts on
renewable energy sources.
There will be an extensive campaign to raise public
awareness prior to the event while the Infoplanet website will report on the
ensuing debates and results achieved. One of Infoplanet's principal aims is to
close the gap which too often separates scientists from the general public,
due to a lack of information and communication.
Museo dei Bambini, Rome (IT)
CEDEFOP, Thessaloniki (GR)
ISEP, Porto (PT)
da Vinci, Darwin, Linnaeus and the life sciences
Under the banner of these three major figures, the
association Public Understanding of Science and Health (PUSH 2001) -
a partnership of the Darwin Centre (Pembrokeshire, UK), Florence University
(IT), and Uppsala University (SE) - will be
bringing together some 150 teachers and pupils from the three home countries
of these illustrious Europeans, namely Italy, England and Sweden.
With the help of experts, PUSH 2001 aims to take a close
look at educational modules which permit an active approach to scientific
concepts by giving students the opportunity to carry out experiments. Over
three days, participants will talk with researchers and attend the many
workshops rich in 'dramatisations' of science. Evocations of the work of da
Vinci, Darwin and Linnaeus will also provide an opportunity to place
discoveries and their development in a historical context.
The educational modules will be on the life sciences.
Genetic engineering will be illustrated, for example, by showing the
expression of a fluorescent protein in bacteria, enzyme activity through
bioluminescence, immunology applications, and plant biotechnology. It will be
possible to evaluate the modules presented so that they can be used by other
teachers and adapted to different kinds of teaching.
Meeting of science teachers and students – workshops,
Villa del Poggio Imperiale, Florence (IT), 5-7 November
Events in Uppsala, Pembrokeshire
Mario Pazzagli, Universita degli studi – Florence (IT), firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Keith Campbell, Darwin Centre for Biology and Medicine (UK), CampbellAK@Cardiff.ac.uk
Peter Bergsten, Uppsala Universitet (SE), email@example.com
Small is beautiful
How microsystems perform
Airbags installed in cars are controlled by microsystems
(MST) no bigger than your fingernail. Electronic noses are able to detect
whether or not food is fresh. In the fields of health, the environment,
transport and safety, minute devices are playing an ever- bigger role.
The European Week on Microsystems Technologies - Chances,
Changes, Challenges exhibition will be presenting the products, applications
and developments of the future of this invisible world of micro-intelligence.
Mobility, daily life, work and communication are the exhibition's four main
Information days with seminars, conferences and debates will
be devoted to three target publics: young people, students and teachers; elderly
and disabled people (whose daily lives are greatly facilitated by MST
innovations, in the field of electronic surveillance and home care, for
example); and SMEs, with a special day set aside to meet European microsystem
producers. At a closing session, sociologists, industrialists, user
representatives and the general public will meet to debate the ethical, social
and environmental implications of growing MST applications.
Conference in Manchester, Museum of Science and Industry
(UK), 6, 7, 8, 10 November
Exhibition on microsystems applied to mobility, living, work
and communication, 5-11 November
Young scientists at work
The competition was open to teams of young scientists (three
to five youngsters aged between 12 and 18), supported by an adult, from Estonia,
Latvia or Finland, and ideally forming international groups. Their research
projects had to lie within the broad field of energy but were allowed a greater
freedom of approach. The aim was to encourage innovative initiatives by teams
from the Baltic countries. Scientists were allowed to help them to develop their
projects. A jury comprising experts from science centres in the three countries,
researchers and engineers selected the ten best projects. These finalists will
now be travelling to the Tallin Technology and Science Centre to present their
work with the aid of multimedia resources. A range of other activities is being
organised on this occasion, including excursions, science dramatisations of
science and a quiz. The winning projects will be presented on the Energetic
Friends internet site.
Final of the 'Energetic Friends' research projects:
Technology and Science Centre Energy, Tallinn, Estonia, 5-8 November