The Big Picnic Logo Science Café Tool Kit

Science Café – another perspective

What is a science café?

‘Ignoring the fact that science is an integral part of human culture is a serious error if we want to overcome humanity's great challenges’ (Kovac, 2006).

Today many people do not feel connected to science, have difficulties in seeing how science and science research is linked to their everyday life and do not see opportunities to have an impact on its current and future development. To counteract this phenomenon, science cafés are organized not only in Europe but worldwide.
Science cafés welcome people who may or may not typically get involved with scientific discussions. Thus, they take place in a wide range of casual gathering spaces, connect different stakeholders and those who promote them create an atmosphere where all participants feel encouraged to listen to others and to share their thoughts.

Science cafés key aim

to empower people to talk to and learn from each other

An informal venue may help the audience feel comfortable to discuss the topic at hand and to ask questions. It has the potential to attract an audience not already involved in science. People who might not come to a lecture at a university or a museum are often more likely to go along to a round table talk in a bar, café or a public space. These venues put fewer barriers between those involved. Participants feel encouraged rather than intimidated to offer their opinion and people who are already at the venue feel comfortable to join in.

How to run a science café?

There is no one right (or wrong) way to run a science café, however, this guide will introduce you to ideas and approaches taken by Botanic Gardens all over Europe and will help you to get started with designing your unique science café. It will support you to define your goals and decide how you want to engage people and set the scene.

To get started we recommend to click on the cup to answer the following questions:





WHAT counts a good topic to address?

WHO are the ones to take part?

WHERE should it take place?

HOW to plan your event?   

How much TIME must be scheduled?


You can download the Toolkit as a PDF file here.

Further available downloads include: TBI Practitioners' Manual and Public Views and Recommendations for RRI on Food Security. PDFs of particular science cafés can be found in the picture sections on the following pages.

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 This project has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 710780.

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