Never have I learned so much in a short time as last year. Not just about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and climate change, but especially about science communication and its urgent importance. The most crucial thing I have learned is the importance of openness and reliability in communication. And that is exactly what Samenweten is all about. My name is Mariëtte Oosterwegel, projectleader Samenweten.
What is Samenweten?
Samenweten brings scientists and society in conversation. Samenweten trains scientists how you can reach out to society in an open and active way. Plus, she trains people which questions one could ask about science. In her workshops she offers concrete tools for open, equal conversations with attention to social questions and assumptions on both sides.
Samenweten is as a project temporarily financed by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and accomodated at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). She has the ambition to grow into the national expertise centre for public engagement by researchers.
What is public engagement?
Public engagement of science entails the countless ways in which researchers and society can exchange knowledge, questions and expertise. Public engagement is by definition a two-way street and can lead to new insights or ideas, new skills, better research, extra ambition or inspiration for all involved. Things that are much needed in this time of complex, societal challenges and an overflow of information.
Welcome to the new website of Samenweten
This website forms a source of inspiration and information in the field of public engagement by scientists. It provides a platform for all kinds of science communication (scicom) initiatives. If you are looking for ideas for scicom, you can indulge yourself with the overview of all 91 projects that have received an award from the pilot fund ‘Science communication by Scientists: Appreciated! We also offer all kinds of scicom-workshops, some especially organized for Appreciated! participants, others open to all researchers. And this is just the beginning!
What is Samenweten doing?
Samenweten trains, innovates, advises and connects. Are you looking for training on public engagement by researchers? Look at Samenweten workshops. Do you want to participate in projects that address innovation in science communication? Then check out Samenweten projects. You can also contact Samenweten for advice on the societal impact of your research project. And you can exchange scicom-expertise with your colleagues via the Samenweten network.
My best experience in terms of public engagement, was the enormous variety of activities during the Westerdijk year in 2017. That year, there were numerous initiatives all over the Netherlands, all related to the fact that Johanna Westerdijk, an expert on fungi, in 1917 was appointed as the first female professor of the Netherlands. The stories about Johanna Westerdijk have inspired me, among other things, to communicate what you stand for persistently, clearly and playfully. This results in very nice interactions and new insights. Are you in?