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Beyond the Lab goes with a series of interactive activities organised by partners science centres, science shops and universities. Innovative formats of activities have been tailored for Sparks to involve the public in responsible research and innovation and trigger interaction between citizens and researchers.

There are two types of activities involved in Sparks:

Reversed Science Café

The Reversed Science Café is a discussion event focused on various ethical and societal topics related to local examples of research, technologies and innovations. Unlike a regular science café, here the dialogue is initiated by experts posing questions and listening to answers from the audience. Together they work in small groups to formulate their advice on making research and innovation more responsible. These results supplement the local case study presentation for the Sparks exhibition.

In short: empowering the audience to share their opinions and knowledge on a topic.

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Photo credit: Norrköpings Visualiseringscenter C

Science Espresso

Science Espressos are short meetings directed to anyone from the general public who wants to attend participatory science communication events and in which one expert briefs participants on some topic, gives a comment and evokes a discussion with small groups of participants. The idea of a Science Espresso is to enable less formal dialogue between the general public and experts representing different areas of research and other science-bound aspects of social interactions.

In short: an inclusive event open for the general public.

Photo credit: Bonn Science Shop

Pop-up science shop

Science Shops mediate between citizens, citizen groups and research institutions. In Sparks ‘Pop-up Science Shops’ citizens, civil society organisations and other stakeholders are asked to express their requests, needs and concerns which are to be rephrased into topics and questions to be worked on or processed in scientific research linked to experts in Sparks’ local partnerships.

In short: an innovative and effective way of transferring knowledge, having a positive impact both on research and on civil society.

Scenario workshop

The Scenario Workshop is based on a presentation of possible future developments for a topic or problem chosen beforehand. Participants’ own experiences and criticism of these scenarios form the basis for future visions and action plans for implementing visions on the chosen theme/topic/problem.

In short: criticism, vision and fantasy + action!

Photo credit: Copernicus Science Centre

Incubation workshop

The Incubation Workshop gathers people of different backgrounds and professions to work together on creating an innovative idea/service/product on a selected issue based on real, local problems, challenges or concerns. It can be: Design Incubation Workshop (a long-term series of meetings) or Hackaton-style Incubation Workshop (24 hours long programming or constructing marathon).

In short: co-creation of ideas and frugal innovation

Photo credit: Science Museum London