Public Engagement with Science
The Science & Society research group straddles both research and practice when it comes to public engagement. Members of the group design, produce, and implement public engagement events and activities. The group is also involved in the evaluation and impact assessment of national and international public engagement events.
European Researchers’ Night
European Researchers’ Night is an annual celebration of research and its role in European society that takes place in up to 300 locations across Europe with the aim of bringing researchers closer to public audiences. The Science & Society research group has been part of European Researchers' Night events for almost a decade — first contributing events and later evaluating the event itself when it was known as “Discover Research Dublin” between 2013 and 2015 (Roche, et al., 2017; 2018), before eventually coordinating the event in Ireland when it was known as “PROBE” between 2016 and 2019 (Jensen, et al., 2021).
PROBE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 817914.
Members of the Science & Society research group have a long history of creating and performing science shows for public audiences. With funding support from the Trinity Long Room Hub Research Incentive Scheme and an Institute of Physics in Ireland Public Engagement Grant, the group has produced science shows for audiences of thousands (Roche, 2015), at science fairs (Roche, Cullen, & Ball, 2016), science festivals, and music and arts festivals (Roche, Stanley, & Davis, 2016). As a result of this work the research group has received research funding and government tenders to design, organise, and evaluate public engagement events at more than 20 different science festivals, maker festivals, and music and arts festivals, including the St. Patrick’s Day Festival, Electric Picnic, and some of the most well-known science public engagement events in Ireland such as Science Week, the Dublin Maker Festival, and Bright Club.
The Science & Society research group has been involved in space education since its inception — through European Space Expos, solar eclipses, and World Space Weeks. This led to the group participating in Space Awareness, a European Commission-funded project that used space education to stimulate European and global citizenship (Grant agreement No. 638653). This culminated in a follow-up project called spaceEU which implemented a space education programmeto foster a creative and inclusive European space community. This project also captured the shift to online education that took place during the COVID-19 global pandemic (Roche et al., 2021).
spaceEU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 821832.
Roche, J., Cullen, R. J., & Ball, S. L. (2016). The Educational Opportunity of a Modern Science Show. International Journal of Science in Society, 8(3), 21-30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1836-6236/CGP/v08i03/21-30
Roche, J., Davis, N., O’Boyle, S., Courtney, C., & O’Farrelly, C. (2017). Public perceptions of European research: an evaluation of European Researchers’ Night in Ireland. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 7(4), 374-391. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21548455.2017.1371354
Roche, J., Bell, L., Hurley, M., D’Arcy, G., Owens, B., Jensen, A. M., Jensen, E. A., Gonzalez, J. R., & Russo, P. (2021). A Place for Space: The Shift to Online Space Education During a Global Pandemic. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 9(662947), 1-6.
Jensen, A. M., Jensen, E. A., Duca, E., & Roche, J. (2021). Investigating diversity in European audiences for public engagement with research: Who attends European Researchers’ Night in Ireland, the UK and Malta? PLoS ONE, 16(7), e0252854, 1-12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252854
European Commission Horizon 2020 (PROBE, Grant agreement no. 817914, and spaceEU, Grant agreement no. 821832)
Irish Research Council (New Foundations Awards)
Science Foundation Ireland (Science Week Evaluation)
Institute of Physics (Public Engagement Grant)
Trinity Long Room Hub (Research Incentive Scheme)