Collaborating with the National Agency «Ciência Viva»
«Ciência Viva» at CES and the importance of its activities
Since 2006, the Centre for Social Studies (CES) has collaborated with the National Agency 'Ciência Viva' through the implementation of the ‘Programa Ciência Viva do CES’, which is part of its extension activities, including other activities such as the Program 'CES Vai à escola', the Training Courses and the Popular University of Social Movements. The ‘Programa Ciência Viva do CES’ holds annual Summer Internships for young people in secondary education, in the framework of the ‘Programa de Ocupação Científica de Jovens nas Férias’, an initiative of the National Agency ‘Ciência Viva’. This activity has contributed positively to the promotion of scientific culture among young audiences, attracting an increasing number of secondary school students and mobilizing the Center's scientific community, as well as the school community and their families, around various themes, namely: Science in Parliament; Diversity and Discrimination at University; the functioning of the Portuguese Judicial System; the use of the Image in the Social Sciences; the Digital Differential; Weapons and Violence; Cities and Citizen Participation; the Crisis and the Debt of Families; Sexuality and Inequality; Mental Illness; Art and Science; the New Forms of Protest and the Relation with Cultural Heritage; The Drama of Refugees (among other themes). The internships are thus designed to allow the familiarization of this young audience for a week with the varied range of research tasks carried out in the daily life of a scientific institution.
Other activities also include the Science and Technology Week (Semana da Ciência e Tecnologia), held regularly in November. During this week scientific institutions, universities, schools and museums open doors, allowing people to directly engage with experts of different scientific fields, as well as to contact with a diverse range of activities.
Also in the current school year, the ‘Science in Loco Pilot Project’ (Ciência in Loco) will be implemented through a partnership between CES and some schools in the Centre Region-Portugal. Activities include the hosting of a group of secondary school students in CES research projects.
The ‘Ciência Viva Program at CES’ has thus highlighted the importance of university extension activities at the research level, emphasizing the development and implementation of strategies that allow the direct interaction of researchers with society. Citizens are then understood as effective participants in such extension initiatives and as capable of contributing to social transformation and inclusion, sustainable development and democratic practice.
Based on this set of initiatives, we have been reflecting on the need of university and society to strengthen ties, given the transformative capacity of knowledge produced by the relationship between academic and non-academic knowledge. In this sense, efforts have been made to promote the production of knowledge through the implementation of extension initiatives of this type that value the educational and communicative component and that increasingly develop the transformative component of knowledge produced in the field of social sciences. In order to concretize what has been designated as ‘Citizen Science’, we have made the effort to involve citizens in scientific activities, which in this context affirm themselves as co-producers of knowledge and, therefore, agents of social transformation.