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Call for Support: Creation of the first Science Shop

The Malta Chamber of Scientists is working on an exciting project that will see the creation of the first Science Shop in our country. However, this is not something we can create in isolation, we definitely need support from the community, NGOs and from established and budding researchers. If you wish to get involved do read on, to learn all about the Science Shop concept and how you can contribute.

What is a science shop?

A Science Shop is an entity, usually within an NGO or University, that helps build bridges between citizens/civil society organizations (CSOs) and research institutions. They are access points, where citizens can seek support for their concerns. Thanks to Science shops these issues have the potential to become scientific research projects. This demand-driven, bottom-up approach to research enables community-based research (CBR) participatory research.

Diffusion of knowledge often focuses on communication from researchers to society, but now that we are facing great societal challenges such as climate change, an ageing population, health issues, diminishing resources, etc. there is a great demand for communication from society to researchers. This is the concept of ‘social demand’ for knowledge. Nowadays, a straightforward publication of scientific results and one-way science communication simply isn’t enough. Change and innovation in the community need to be a concerted effort, one in which the community plays an important role alongside researchers.

The Malta Chamber of Scientists was recently awarded a fund by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (VOPs) to conduct a process which will lead to the setting up of the first Science Shop in Malta.

By the end of this process, the project will also fund the first collaborative research collaboration set up by the Science Shop.

We believe that the process needs to be a bottom up approach, one in which citizens take responsibility for their future and the future of this planet. With this in mind we hope to lay the foundation for Science Shop which is inclusive, diverse and above all relevant to the Maltese community. This is why we are reaching out to you to join us in this journey!

We can’t do this without you.

So yes, we definitely need diverging ideas from all walks of life to get the bottom up approach up and running. Getting involved will mean, dedicating a bit of your time towards the following:

  • A 15-min survey in Apr-May ‘21 to learn more about you & your interest in the Science Shop
  • One-day workshop (4 hours) in Aug ‘21 where we will answer the following questions: ‘Which kind of SS should be established in Malta?’ and ‘Are Science Shops relevant mechanisms for knowledge co-construction?’
  • Two-day workshop (8 hours in total) in Sep ‘21 where we will discuss the best organisational set-up for the Science Shop in Malta, any obstacles that might be encountered etc.
  • One-day session (4 hours) in Nov ‘21 where an action plan, delineating the first steps in the development of the Science Shop will be drawn up. Working groups with different objectives will be proposed, example, development of: an ethical charter, communication tools, etc…
  • Contributing ideas to Science Shop charter (2 hours) Jan-Feb ‘22

This project has been funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector on behalf of Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisations within the Ministry for Education and Employment. This project/publication reflects the views only of the author, and the MEDE and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein