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The Sparks Project: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Society

The EU-supported Sparks Project: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Society has officially started in October 2015. Gathering 33 organisations from 29 European countries, and led by the European Network of Science Centres and Museums (Ecsite), Sparks is aimed at bridging the gap between the super-fast pace of scientific innovation and society through an interactive exhibition and over 230 engaging activities taking place across the whole of the European Union.

Science is advancing at an incredible speed. Mobile technologies are empowering citizens to perform tasks currently accomplished by medical staff such as diagnosis and counselling. The "big data" generated by our connected lives offer unprecedented information to governments and companies, in areas as diverse as dietary habits and epidemics. Developments in artificial intelligence are creating a seamless integration between humans and the machines. But the possibilities unlocked by science and new technologies are in some cases clashing with the current social, economic and ethical boundaries. The answer could be to devise a new way of carrying out scientific research by involving all relevant stakeholders (i.e., citizens, scientists, companies and policy makers) in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) processes. Sparks will promote RRI by inviting key stakeholders to actively question, experiment and play with science to make it relevant to society. Animation videos, visionary arts works and social media feeds will be incorporated into the exhibition to explore the current hottest topics in medicine and healthcare in a fun and entertaining way. Science-cafés and creative workshops will offer people the opportunity to identify priority research questions and co-design scientific solutions together. Sparks will come to each one of the 29 European countries with its participatory activities and exhibition which will start touring in June 2016.

For more information, please contact Clémentine Daubeuf, KEA European Affairs, e-mail: CDaubeuf@keanet.eu; www.sparksproject.eu