Training in Storytelling and Theatre as a Tool for Science Outreach
The Europlanet Society’s Committee Funding Scheme provides awards of €1000-5000 to supports projects that further the aims of the Europlanet Society and actively involve its members. In 2020, the Society supported an application by the Benelux Hub for a project called ‘Planetary Atmospheres Accessible to All’ that would enable researchers to collaborate with performers and storytellers in producing unique augmented lectures that use performing arts techniques to engage public audiences.
This online workshop, aimed at 10 selected BIRA / IASB / Europlanet researchers, has provided the practical tools to become storytellers of science with a special emphasis on addressing a general audience and/or students.
The workshop was divided into three half-day sessions (11, 14, 18 December 2020, 09:00 → 13:00 ).
The first half-day focused on defining and prioritizing the key themes which help to communicate Aeronomy to target audiences, by connecting them to societal issues. A process of collective intelligence and design thinking has been used to facilitate the emergence of key themes that can be integrated in the Augmented Lectures, if they will be produced.
Based on the outcomes, the second session has provided training in the creation of a science outreach story and its delivery (storytelling). We focused on and applied the fundamental ingredients of stories (starting from a simplified Hero’s Journey). Each participant has had the chance to prepare one short story on his/her topic of interest.
During the third half-day session, these stories have been presented to invited artists, and possible collaborations have been explored between art-science pairs to cocreate Augmented Lectures to further enhance the project.
The online workshop by Dr Andrea Brunello and Dr Pierre Echard of Jet Propulsion Theatre (JPT) was supported by the Europlanet Society Benelux Hub.
Organisers: Dr Andrea Brunello (JPT), Dr Ann Carine Vandaele (BIRA-IASB), Dr Arianna Piccialli (BIRA-IASB), Karolien Lefever (Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy), Dr Pierre Echard (JPT)
About the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI)
The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) provides free access to the world’s largest collection of planetary simulation and analysis facilities, data services and tools, a ground-based observational network and programme of community support activities.
The project is funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme and runs for four years from February 2020 until January 2024. The Europlanet 2024 RI consortium is led by the University of Kent, UK, and has over 50 beneficiary institutions from 24 countries in Europe and around the world, with a further 44 affiliated partners. The project draws on the resources of the Europlanet Society to disseminate activities and outcomes and develop a more diverse community of users.
Europlanet 2024 RI provides:
Transnational Access to 24 laboratories in Europe and seven* field sites, as well as additional facilities in South Korea and China.
If you have recieved funding from Europlanet 2024 RI, please add the official acknowledgement below to each publication and dissemination activity:“Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.”
Launch of EXPLORE project demonstrates benefits of academia and industrial collaboration
In this guest post, Jeronimo Bernard-Salas of ACRI-ST introduces the EXPLORE project and explains the mutual benefits of industry-academia collaboration.
Academics often ask why they should collaborate with industry and vice versa. However, there are many advantages, opportunities and synergies that come out of academic and industrial collaboration.
Firstly, these collaborations can help identify and exploit the financial value of research. Companies are more product-orientated and are closer to the market, so they are well-suited to understand how researchers can valorise their work to increase the impact of research and innovation investment. These insights can in turn enable researchers to write better impact cases in their funding proposals, so they have more chances of success in future bids.
In addition, industrial collaboration can lead to new avenues of funding for academics. There are many calls now that are specifically targeted at industry-academic collaborations and others where they are clearly encouraged.
Participating in one collaborative project can also lead to other opportunities. ACRI-ST is part of the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI), participating in the machine learning work package as well as the industry task to promote collaboration between industry and academia.
When we joined Europlanet, we thought that the best way to highlight the industry academic collaborations was to lead by example. ACRI-ST coordinated a proposal that has resulted in a success story with the EXPLORE project, launched this week. EXPLORE is a 2 million Euro project funded by the European Commission through the Leadership in Enabling Industrial Technology (LEIT) and Space programme in Horizon 2020. The project has eight beneficiaries, four of which are from Europlanet 2024 RI. Thus, being part of Europlanet 2024 RI facilitated putting the EXPLORE consortium together
EXPLORE’s main objective is to deploy machine learning and advanced visualization tools to achieve efficient, user-friendly exploitation of scientific data for astrophysics and planetary science. We will do this by developing six science applications related to lunar exploration as well as on Gaia galactic and stellar science. EXPLORE sits between data collection from space and ground segments, and the provision of these science data products to the science archives on cloud platforms. This example of an industry-academic collaboration that brings together different expertise, knowledge and backgrounds was very positively reviewed by the evaluators of the proposal.
From an industrial perspective, ACRI-ST and companies with similar backgrounds can see that the era of big data is transforming the way of how scientists approach their research and how data is analysed. New missions and facilities are generating a lot of data that are becoming too large and complex for local analysis. These advances in observations require equal advances in data management, analysis, tools and cloud computing. It’s in this spirit that ACRI-ST and other companies can provide services in different areas related to these new developments, for example, providing the support or data processing for mission facilities and ground segment services for new space, developing scientific data applications and automatic exploitation platforms.
Companies may also support research in other ways, for instance by funding or co-funding PhD students.
Finally, not everyone can get an academic job. If academics work more with industry, the transition for researchers who need to find a job in industry will be much easier. The skills that are required to become a successful scientist are very similar to those that are required to be successful in industry. It’s a really important message for early career researchers that there are many opportunities in industry and there are many different kinds of jobs, so if they can find what they like or what they’re good at, it’s possible to make the transition.
Innovative Scientific Data Exploration and Exploitation Applications for Space Sciences (EXPLORE) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.
About Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies
Aiming at new and breakthrough technologies, this part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme contributes to boosting competitiveness, creating jobs and supporting growth.
The emphasis is on areas of research and innovation with a strong industrial dimension and where mastering new technological opportunities will enable and drive innovation. The objective is to achieve the EU Industrial policy goals, which represents an important component of the EU Strategyfor Key Enabling Technologies (KET).
The emphasis for Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT) actions will be on:
Research and innovation to strengthen Europe’s industrial capacities and business perspectives, including SMEs
Public-private partnerships (PPPs)
Seizing the ICT opportunities
Contributions to solving Societal Challenges and to Focus Areas
Cross-cutting aspects, like international cooperation and responsible research and innovation.
The involvement of industrial participants, and of SMEs in particular, is crucial in maximising the expected impact of the actions.
EXPLORE project launched to develop AI and interactive visualisation applications in astrophysics and planetary science
An international consortium has been awarded 2 million Euros by the European Commission to develop novel applications that use artificial intelligence (AI) and visual analytics to exploit the vast datasets generated by astrophysics and planetary missions. Over three years, the EXPLORE project will develop these tools on a new virtual platform to create services and enhanced scientific datasets focused on galactic and stellar research, linked to the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission, as well as lunar exploration. The tools will be made available to the community through different cloud science platforms using open source licenses to stimulate uptake and ensure sustainability.
The EXPLORE Consortium is led by the French company, ACRI-ST, and includes eight partners from six countries. The interdisciplinary project brings together astrophysicists, planetary scientists, computer scientists, IT engineers & software developers.
At today’s kick-off meeting, Dr Nick Cox, the EXPLORE Project Coordinator, said: “The sheer volume and increase in complexity of data from space science missions, as well as the need to combine multiple data sets, requires an increase in both data management and processing capabilities. AI-based solutions and interactive visualisation techniques for big data are not just useful tools to explore the Universe but are becoming a necessity.”
EXPLORE will develop six scientific data applications to test methodologies and tools for space data exploitation on a collaborative cloud environment, the EXPLORE Thematic Exploitation Platform (EXPLORE-TEP).
Rather than focus on one main scientific topic, EXPLORE aims to foster synergies between different areas of space science. Four of the applications will leverage data primarily from Gaia, supplemented with data from other surveys, developing tools to help understand the evolution of our galaxy, the 3D distribution of interstellar matter, as well as to support the discovery, classification and characterisation of stars. The remaining two applications will integrate data from a range of international lunar missions to focus on characterisation of the Moon’s surface and potential human landing sites. A key objective will be to facilitate integration and visualisation of multiple datasets.
Prof Dovi Poznanski of Tel Aviv University, who leads EXPLORE’s AI methodology development, said: “By putting together different experiences and backgrounds we introduce diversity and interdisciplinarity in the analysis of space science data. Today’s big datasets in imagery, spectroscopy and 3D mapping require sophisticated tools. However, there are common basic principles among the different fields, which means there is a vital need for cross-fertilisation if we want to optimise the most advanced tools.”
EXPLORE-TEP builds on the heritage of a platform designed by ACRI-ST and funded by ESA to facilitate and expand the use and uptake of Copernicus-Sentinel Earth Observation mission data.
Dr Jeronimo Bernard-Salas, of ACRI-ST and Deputy Coordinator of EXPLORE, said: “For astronomers it is becoming increasingly difficult to simply download all the data to their desktop and use their favourite analysis tools locally. Through EXPLORE, we aim to bring processing and analysis capabilities, accessible via existing and new collaborative working environments, to the data. This allows any user to exploit space mission and supporting ground-based data more efficiently and to effectively share their methods and results, thus ensuring science becomes more open.”
Ultimately, EXPLORE aims to apply the tools to other areas of space science, as well as to map business opportunities for potential market entry in other domains.
About EXPLORE Innovative Scientific Data Exploration and Exploitation Applications for Space Sciences (EXPLORE) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.
The six scientific data applications developed by EXPLORE are:
Galactic: • G-Arch: Galactic Archaeology • G-Tomo: Interstellar 3D tomography of dust and gas in the Galaxy
Stellar: • S-Phot: Stars and their blue infrared colour excess: signs of activity and circumstellar material • S-Disco: Spectral discovery of stars
Lunar: • L-Explo: Global multi-scale compositional higher-level products for the lunar surface • L-Hex: Human lunar exploration landing site characterisation and support
Online seminar: Theatre as a Tool for Science Outreach
This online seminar by Dr Andrea Brunello of Jet Propulsion Theatre (JPT) and is supported by the Europlanet Society Benelux Hub.
Organisers: Dr Andrea Brunello (JPT), Dr Ann Carine Vandaele (BIRA-IASB), Dr Arianna Piccialli (BIRA-IASB), Karolien Lefever (Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy), Dr Pierre Echard (Jet Propulsion Theatre (JPT))
Friday 20 Nov 2020, 10:00 → 12:00 Europe/Brussels
In this online seminar we will briefly introduce the experience of the Jet Propulsion Theatre (JPT), a scientific outreach project born in 2012 from the collaboration between the Compagnia Arditodesìo and the Physical Sciences Communication Laboratory of the Physics Department of the University of Trento.
Following that, we will proceed by illustrating various approaches used in the field of science-infused theatre. Finally, we will provide some tools and ideas useful in the construction of original science outreach theatre plays with a special focus in storytelling applied to communicating science. The last part of the seminar will be devoted to comments, questions and answers.
Registration for virtual workshop: How to apply successfully for a TA call
Date and time: 3rd December, 10-13 CET
A virtual workshop will be organised on 3 December, from 10:00 to 13:00 CET, to help applicants to submit high quality proposals for the Europlanet 2024 RI Transnational Access (TA). Participants will have the chance to talk to the TA programme organisers, learn about the full procedure, be given some useful tips and hear about successful projects.
Participation is free. To register, fill in the form below:
If you have any questions, please contact Melinda Dósa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Transnational Access Call Launched by Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure
Call for Applications for Free Access to Laboratories and Field Sites
The second call for applications for the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) Transnational Access (TA) programme has been launched. If you are interested in submitting an application, please consult the call page. You will have until 14:00 CET on 6 January 2021 to submit your application.
A virtual workshop will be organised on 3 December, from 10:00 to 13:00 CET, to help applicants to submit high quality proposals. Participants will have the chance to talk to the TA programme organisers, learn about the full procedure, be given some useful tips and hear about successful projects. Participation is free – please register here.
In addition, from this call on, the Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI) will be offering access to 11 facilities in South Korea. KBSI will be able to cover the cost of 8 to 10 projects from European scientists each year.
Please note that while the Europlanet 2024 RI TA programme is designed to primarily support planetary science and Earth science, applications from other research disciplines are also eligible and will be considered based on innovation and potential scientific and technological impact.
Depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the time period during which the TA visits can be undertaken may be extended to the end of 2022.
Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149