Escity: Europe, Science and the City: promoting scientific culture at local level

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Escity (2006-2008) supported networking and information exchange in promoting scientific culture at local and regional level.

The project emphasised strategies placing science communication and science outreach under the umbrella of cultural policies. The members of the network are representatives of local and regional administrations and social researchers from different European cities.

The main objectives of the ESCITY project and the actions to achieve them were structured in three areas:

1.    Providing a forum for exchange and debate on scientific culture.
To create a Europe-wide community of social researchers and policy makers involved in promoting scientific culture at regional and local level to support:

•    Exchange of information, experience and good practice
•    Governmental co-operation
•    Knowledge transfer from social research to local and regional authorities

2. Creating a knowledge base of the current practices in promoting scientific culture at local level in Europe and identifying best practices in this field.
To conduct a systematic survey of governmental initiatives and programmes already developed across Europe, and establish a set of criteria allowing for their comparison. Special attention was paid to:

•    Actions developed by cultural departments
•    Young people's interest in science
•    Women's role in science
•    Contacts with European networks of cities
•    Insights into how those actions can be made more effective
•    Practical information useful for governmental actors

3. Organising a European meeting/seminar in Barcelona in 2007("Science Year")
To gather relevant actors in designing and implementing cultural policies across Europe to discuss the inclusion of the promotion of scientific culture in local cultural policies.

4. Initiating a lobby effort to influence the cultural agendas of local and regional governments.
To provide knowledge resources on public engagement in science to governmental agencies in the form of policy recommendations to stimulate development of such programmes.

Basic information

Country: Austria, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain

Coordinator: Institut de Cultura de Barcelona (ICUB), Spain, www.bcn.es/cultura

Programme: FP6

Project Acronym:

Target groups: education authorities, policy makers, researchers

Topic: Education, Other

Start year: 2006

End year: 2008

Url: http://www.escity.org/

Contact person: Vladimir de Semir Zivojnovic, info (at) escity.org

The research objective of ESCITY was to carry out a benchmarking study on the promotion of scientific culture at regional and local level in Europe, particularly with regard to those actions developed in the framework of the cultural agenda of local and regional governments.

In accordance with the priorities established by the Commission, the project also paid special attention to actions aimed at stimulating the interest of young people in science and to the role of women in scientific development.

A further important aspect of ESCITY was advocacy actions to influence public policy. The project produced Guidelines addressed to local governments on how to enhance science culture in cities. The Guidelines are available online on the Escity website: http://recerca.upf.edu/escity/docs/ESCITY%20Action%20Guide.pdf

The Guidelines include 47 examples of science culture promotion activities or programmes and a set of conclusions and recommendations for policy actions. It has been published in a CD (6,000 copies) and distributed to European city councils.

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