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The EU-supported project Sparks has officially started in July 2015. It gathers 33 organisations from 29 countries among them Bonn Science Shop and is coordinated by ECSITE - The European Network of Science Centres and Museums. Sparks aims at bridging the gap between the super-fast pace of scientific innovation and society through an interactive touring exhibition. The exhibition will be accompanied by more than 230 innovative participatory activities to engage the public in research. The project aims at raising awareness and communicating the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) to Europeans in 29 countries. In 2016, the exhibition on the topic of technology shifts in health and medicine will be hosted in Bonn for a period of two months.

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.

The topic of technology shifts in health and medicine is not only of interest to the professional public, it relates to citizens as well as to other stakeholders. The exhibition thus creates a foundation to discuss topics such as Open Access, access to private data by scientists or robotics in healthcare. The exhibition establishes a local reference to enable the engagement of the public with local research examples of RRI in the field of health and medicine.

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. Innovative participatory activities such as science cafés, incubation and scenario workshops will offer people the opportunity to identify priority research questions and to co-design scientific solutions together.

Bonn Science Shop will adapt the Science Shop methodology for the project and will run science espressos and workshops along the exhibition. Citizens will be invited to ask questions, discuss current issues with researchers or to collaborate on local challenges in healthcare. Bonn Science Shop will build on experiences and knowledge from other projects such as PERARES or RRI Tools and collaborates with ECSITE, the Living Knowledge network and the European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN).

The project aims to enhance the participation of civil society in research through innovative participatory activities and to raise awareness and communicate the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) throughout Europe. Furthermore, the project will have a learning and policy component. In order to further build the capacity of science actors and policy makers to promote RRI and better understand society’s vision, interests and readiness concerning RRI in health, recommendations for action will be developed.

Sparks will come to each one of the 29 European countries with its participatory activities and exhibition which will start touring in June 2016. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

For more information on Sparks please visit

Workshop Beekeeping in Bonn

On 15 and 19 February the project Sparks invited Bonn’s citizens to participate in a workshop on „Bee-keeping in Bonn – Challenges and Solutions” in the Bonn Science Shop. In cooperation with Bonn’s city lab ‚BonnLAB‘ and the ‚Open Knowledge Lab Bonn‘ beekeepers and non-beekeepers had the opportunity to jointly work on solutions for their questions and challenges. 35 committed beekeepers, computer scientists and citizens took the chance to exchange, network and work on concrete action plans for the coming months.

Documentation of the workshop "Beekeeping in Bonn"


Norbert Steinhaus
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