The general objective of the thematic network ‘Improving Science Shop Networking’ (ISSNET) is to give citizens around Europe better access to scientific information and expertise. The demand-driven approach of science shops contributes to this objective and offers citizens a tool to contribute in the science and society debate. Sharing the expertise of existing science shops and support for the development of new science shops by improving the networking of science shops will advance citizens’ participation in the dialogue between science and society. An international science shop network will be an instrument to link or initiate local or regional initiatives. In this way it will advance the outreach, size and impact of the contribution of science shops to citizens’ access to scientific information, knowledge and expertise. Activities of ISSNET contribute to the start, set up, and maintenance of an international science shop network. ISSNET will also develop collaborative relationships with science shop-like institutions and networks inside and outside of Europe. ISSNET will be an indispensable step for the establishment of an international science shop network in the future.
The ISSNET project focused on how to build and maintain a science shop network, e.g by exchange of information (conference, newsletter etc.) and research cooperation. ISSNET delivered reports on structuring the network, options for community-based research cooperation, conference proceedings and magazines and newsletters.
Overview of ISSNET documentation
The activities in ISSNET built upon the work in the recent EC-STRATA project SCIPAS.
SCIPAS used the name Living Knowledge for its output. This name will be used for future output related to international Science Shop co-operation as well. The EC encourages the implementation of an international science shop network as described in the Science and Society Action Plan (Action 21), by supporting the development of structure for the dissemination of the work of science shops and of promotional tools for science shops. The activities in ISSNET aim at implementing these recommendations. Activities of ISSNET are the nucleus for the future international network of Science Shops, Living Knowledge.
The activities in ISSNET will be carried out in strong co-operation with the ongoing STRATA project Interacts.
The objectives of ISSNET include improving:
- public access to scientific information and expertise in a demand and dialogue driven way
- public understanding of science and technology
- the scientific society’s involvement of civil society knowledge and expertise in research
- collaboration and communication among scientific organisations (universities, science shops) and other organisations (citizen groups, regional representatives, NGOs, science museums, etc.)
- future university graduates’ interest in and competence for co-operation with civil society as part of the development of science and technology
- the awareness of scientists and policy makers of research subjects that are of concern to the public
ISSNET was a 30 month thematic network funded within the programme Raising Public Awareness of Sciences and Technology of the Fifth Framework Programme of the European Commission. ISSNET is a consortium of 13 organisations from 9 countries.
ISSNET established a new vibrant and sustainable International Science Shop Network. The project focused on activities that optimise the exchange of content and ideas in the science, society and governance debate, and improves public access to, and awareness of, science. ISSNET strengthened Science Shops world-wide, an unique infrastructure that increases public access to science, the public awareness and understanding of the beneficial impacts of science, as well as the limitations and implications of science and technology on their daily lives. ISSNET will raised awareness of scientists and policy makers of (research) issues that are of concern to the public. All network activities met both the internal and external goals aimed at adding value to network members and other individuals and organizations concerned with science, technology and society.