Beyond Research Outreach

Outreach is another activity that draws from and impacts on all areas of the ICN2. In line with the European principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI), the Marketing and Communications Department coordinates and provides support for activities in public engagement, access to scientific results and informal science education.

As part of the Severo Ochoa programme, we launched a new website in early 2015, expanding key sections and working to bring its image and content up to the standard of the science being developed at the institute. We also renewed our commitment to maintaining an active presence on social media, more than tripling the news and updates published on the website, and seeing our following on Twitter grow from 250 in May 2015 to 1350 by October 2017. Other areas of activity in this period have paid particular attention to a young public, where actions have a strong multiplier effect within society as a whole.

Some highlights are described below, grouped by target audience.

As a publicly-funded research institute, the ICN2 is committed to serving and engaging with the public at all levels. Providing suitable content is essential to ensuring the non-scientist citizen and, ultimately, consumer understands the implications of the research carried out at the institute, sparking debate as to its potential applications.

Key among the outreach actions carried out in this period are:

  • Travelling exhibit Dimensió Nano: previously based at the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (mNACTEC, Terrassa), this exhibit was redesigned and updated under Severo Ochoa, including new modules on Women in Nanoscience. It has since been taken to public and university libraries, conferences, science festivals and secondary schools.
  • H2020 project Nano2All: this European project is based on direct citizen engagement and open debate on the subject of nanotechnologies, with a view to establishing a dialogue between citizens, practitioners and policymakers. The ICN2 coordinates and reports on actions in Barcelona, Spain.
  • Popular science events: the ICN2 has been active at regional events to promote science, primarily to a young public. For instance, it led actions during 10alamenos9, a national science fair which the institute has supported since it began in 2016 and for a week sees activities run in parallel throughout Spain. Other examples include the Barcelona Science Fair, Science Week and YoMo.

For a more complete list see our Outreach Events section on the main website.

Work has also been carried out under the Severo Ochoa programme to nurture our links to the education community, reaching out to students at all educational stages through teacher associations and other initiatives. The goals here range from boosting scientific literacy and interest from a young age, through the lens of nanotechnology, to establishing first contact with budding young scientists.

The full ICN2 Education Programme can be consulted here, but an overview would include:

  • NanoKits: led by the ICN2 within the scope of the NanoEduca programme, a collaboration with the University of Barcelona, Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Catalan Ministry of Education, these experiment kits have been very well received by the national education community. There are currently 100 NanoKits at schools throughout Catalonia, with interest also being expressed by education centres throughout the rest of Spain and beyond.
  • Open Days: the ICN2 opens its doors periodically to students typically aged 16 and above, with ICN2 researchers giving them a taste of life as a nanoscientist.
  • STEM promotion: since 2014 the ICN2 has participated in several regional and national initiatives to promote STEM education and careers among young people. For instance, the Bojos per la Física and Joves i Ciència programmes.