Researchers at Schools

Ciência de Noz Manera – 2nd edition

In the 2022/2023 school year, and compared to the previous edition, we not only worked with more scientists, but we also collaborated with more students and teachers from three schools identified by the Portuguese government as Educational Territories of Priority Intervention (TEIP) – Pedro D’Orey da Cunha School, Dr Azevedo Neves School and Marquesa de Alorna School, located in the Greater Lisbon area.

The target audience for this edition of the Ciência di Noz Manera (CNM) programme were year 8 students, since at the end of year 9 the students have to choose which area they want to pursue (Sciences, Humanities, Arts, Economics, or a Technical-Professional course) and, furthermore, by working with year 8 students we also guarantee that most of them will still be studying at the same school the following school year, which makes it logistically more feasible for them to take part in the European Researchers’ Night, which always takes place on the last Friday of September.

In the 2nd edition: In phases I and II, a total of more than 300 students from the three schools took part, and for the implementation of the programme we had more than 50 scientists from the Champalimaud Foundation (CF) and the Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM). For phase III (mentoring sessions), we worked with around 25 students, facilitated by 17 scientists, who tackled topics such as cancer, diabetes, the brain, malaria and DNA.

This edition was held between January and June 2023 and was once again structured in three phases:

  • Phase I –Seminars in schools (60-90 min): scientists present their research experience and academic background to all the students.
  • Phase II – Hands-on scientific workshops at the research institutes (3 hours): scientists organise hands-on experiments at their own institution.
  • Phase III – School mentoring sessions (5 to 6 sessions of 90 min each): at school, scientists hold mentoring sessions with a small group of students (4-5 students per mentor), guiding them through the development of a project in an area of their interest. During this phase, objects/materials are produced through a co-creative process between students, scientists and other collaborators, to be presented at the European Researchers’ Night.

A new feature in this second edition, based on the feedback received in the pilot year, was training for scientists, which was supported by the consortium’s partner, Native Scientists, who held two training webinars. The first focused on science communication techniques and best practices, and the second focused on aspects relating to the mentoring sessions, open to all scientists involved in the CNM.

The impact of the programme is still being analysed by the ImpactEd consortium partner, however some key points can be highlighted:

  • 55.7% of the students replied that they had never met a scientist before and 16.9% indicated that they didn’t know if they had met a scientist before. Only 27.4% had met a scientist before CNM, which suggests that the programme is doing a good job of reaching students with little previous exposure to science.
  • CNM was effective in establishing relationships between scientists and students, since at the end of the mentoring, the majority of students identified more with the scientist than during the first phases of CNM.
  • The scientists indicated that the programme had allowed them to practice and become better at communicating with non-specialist audiences. It also gave them the opportunity to develop new communication strategies with audiences they might not have worked with before.

Here are some good moments from the three phases of the programme, as well as some of the work done by the students during the mentoring sessions.

The second edition of the Ciência di Noz Manera programme is supported by the RAISE – Researchers in Action for Inclusion in Science and Education consortium. Thanks to funding from the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, this edition has reached even more students than the first edition.

The CNM is coordinated by a team of five science communicators and coordinators working at two natural science research institutes – FC and iMM, partners in the RAISE consortium.

Funded by the European Commission. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.