Science Engaging Society: Life Sciences, Social Sciences and Publics

April 1, 2010 to September 30, 2013
42 months

Science shops have been part of the landscape of the public engagement of science in many European countries and in some countries beyond Europe. The diversity of experiences in this field provides a very rich repertoire of organisational models, initiatives and modes of articulation of the concerns of scientists and scientific institutions, on the one hand, and different types of publics, on the other. They have been a very important means of democratisation of science. As rich as it may be, however, the experience of science shops is unevenly distributed across countries, and Europe is not an exception. Portugal is a conspicuous case of absence of experience with science shops. For over a decade now, there have been some very successful initiatives in science education and, in particular, in extra-curricular activities – namely as part of the national agency Ciência Viva, associated with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology –, as well as some experience with the engagement of scientists in science popularisation. There is very little experience, however, of engagements of scientists and scientific institutions with citizens and publics on a collaborative basis for addressing science and technology-based concerns raised by the publics or citizens themselves, as would be the case of science shops. The institutions involved in this project are part of the major research institutions in Portugal, active in the fields of the life and biomedical sciences and of the social sciences, with a standing commitment to the development of science-society relationships, based on transdisciplinary approaches bringing together the life, biomedical and social sciences and the arts. The main objective of this project is to address this gap in science-society relationships in Portugal through the creation of a science shop and the engagement with a variety of publics on the specific theme of the social implications of the life sciences and associated technologies. This will be achieved through the creation of an infrastructure for the continuing support of the work of the science shop and for communication with publics; the identification and “interessment” of a variety of publics; the training of mediators/facilitators for science shop activities; the development of pilot activities aimed at creating a “demonstration effect” of the potential of science shops for promoting science-society dialogues and collaborations; and the dissemination and sharing of experiences with a view to encouraging and supporting the formation of other sciences shops.


website; public campaigns; implementation of pilot activities; information kits


IBMC - Institue for Molecular and Cell Biology

Alexandre Quintanilha
Ana Filipa Queirós
Ana Raquel Matos
Ângela Marques Filipe
Daniel Neves
Ingrid Olsson
Irina Castro
João Arriscado Nunes (coord)
Jorge António Gonçalves Pinto Basto
José Borlido Santos
Maria Paula Meneses
Marisa Matias
Marta Araújo
Rita Serra
Sónia Martins
Susana Costa
Tiago Santos Pereira
science shops, science, society, publics
Funding Entity
Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology