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WHO are the ones to take part?

The topic your co-creation team has chosen will inform how you design your science café. A topic, which needs to be considered from different perspectives, requires experts representing these different perspectives. A topic that is very specific may only require one scientist. Themes and topics summarized under the umbrella term ‘food security’ are societal as well as scientific issues. Thus, a science café falls short if scientists are the only experts invited.

Invite appropriate experts

Ensure that your invited speakers are experts in the chosen topic and able to respond appropriately to questions from the public. It can be helpful if they have an open personality and enjoy talking to people from varied backgrounds.
Expert practitioners, e.g. cooks, bakers, chefs, etc. may act as a bridge between scientists and participants. Depending on the given topic, even children could become experts, when it comes to decision making in schools.

Invite an appropriate number of participants

Between 20 and 50 participants is a good number for your science café audience. Many more than this and your audience may be left without having their questions answered. Too few and there may not be enough questions, ideas or perspectives among the audience to keep the discussion flowing. However, a small group may lead to a more in depth discussion and may help some people to express their own ideas more easily.

Some of our guests:

In the BigPicnic project a range of target groups to work with/include were chosen. Individuals from these groups were represented during the co-creation phase and were invited to attend the science café events. These include: People living in deprived areas, African diaspora people, teenagers, policy makers, students, teachers (formal education institutions), adults, families, lawyers, farmers, cooks, educators (informal education institutions), social services employees, volunteers, producers, researchers, and visitors of the gardens.

Juan Carlos I Royal Botanic Gardens, Alcalá de Henares University organised an event in collaboration with the University’s Ecocampus department and Health promoter group on “Sustainable food on campus”. The participants of this event included: University professors (9); Researchers (2); Decision makers at Juan Carlos I Royal Botanic Gardens, Alcalá de Henares University (1); Decision makers from other universities (1); Food suppliers (4); NGO workers (1); Environmental educators (1); Environmental organizations workers (3); Botanic Garden staff (4); Other university staff (6); TOTAL: 32 people.
The University of Warsaw Botanic Garden organised a science café on the subject of GMOs. We invited two scientists from different sectors to present the subject. The first, Paweł Golik, a geneticist from the Department of Genetics of the University of Warsaw Faculty of Biology and the second, Renata Hryciuk, an anthropologist from the University of Warsaw Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology researching food culture and systems. These two perspectives showed that GMO (and other gene-editing technologies) have a major impact on conservation issues as well as social conditions and political systems, and can be considered both a problem and a solution.
The first of a total of six science cafés of the School Biology Centre Hannover was a panel discussion that took place during the so-called Environmental Forum 2017. The topic was 'Between ethics, health and enjoyment - what is 'good' Nutrition?' Five experts from different backgrounds were invited to this discussion: the Minister of the Environment of Lower Saxony, an ecotrophologist from the field of school catering, a sustainability representative of a Fairtrade School in Hannover, a farmer from the dairy farming sector, and an expert from the rural women. The discussion was led by an experienced moderator who was able to link the different strands in a meaningful way.
On the topic ‘More food sovereignty: Preserving food with fermentation’ organised by the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Freie Universität Berlin, Young-Mi Park-Snowden: author of a cookbook about Korean food; Manuela Marin: oecotrophologist and nutritionist; Matthias Fritsch: artist and activist for a sustainable life were invited. In total the science café was attended by 43 visitors, 3 speakers, 4 members of the Denkwerkstatt Nahrungswandel (for a fermentation workshop), and 1 student assistant. 32 additional people had registered but unfortunately, due to lack of space they could not be accommodated. The event included discussions about cultural and traditional aspects of fermentation and fermented food in the Korean culture, and included a fermentation workshop where visitors had the opportunity to try a wide range of fermented products, produce their own sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented vegetables and learned how fermentation works.
Chef as an expert in Bergamo, Italy   
Contemporary witnesses as experts about food in the postwar period in Berlin, Germany   

Farmers in Uganda   

Share the harvest of the season, both in vegetables and in knowledge, Hortus Botanicus Leiden, Netherlands   
Science café for families with small kids, Juan Carlos I Royal Botnaic Garden, Alcalá de Henares University   
Science café for children, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Norway    


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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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