Representing FoodEducators as part of the EIT FOOD Public Insights and Engagement team, we were excited to share our projects and approach to public engagement. The interest and enthusiasm from attendees reaffirmed the importance of our work in fostering meaningful public engagement in the field of food education. The following are the key highlights from the conference:

The Role of Public Engagement and Universities in the Public Debate

One of the standout moments of the conference was a keynote speech by philosophy professor and researcher Giga Zedania. He discussed the crucial role that knowledge development and sharing play in society, emphasizing the need for universities to remain independent from external influences such as the church, businesses, and government. This independence, he argued, is vital for universities to serve as credible and effective counterparts in public debates, especially in the current challenging contexts of Georgia and Ukraine. His insights served as a powerful reminder of the broader impact and responsibility of educational institutions in shaping public discourse.

Identities and Cultures in Online Engagement with Science

Another notable keynote was delivered by researchers Shakked Dabran-Zivan and Anouk de Jong, who explored how identities and cultures influence online engagement with science in the post-truth era. Their research into misinformation and the intertwined roles of journalists and researchers during crises was particularly compelling. 

Inclusive Public Engagement Methodologies

During the conference, participants were introduced to various methodologies for building inclusive public engagement activities. Key takeaways included the importance of language, the use of local connectors, and the creation of safe spaces for engagement. These methodologies, presented through concrete project examples, provided valuable insights that we can apply to our own work. We look forward to sharing more detailed information from these talks once we receive the presentation slides.

Inspiring Encounters

The conference also provided ample opportunities to forge new connections and explore potential collaborations, you should also check out these inspiring organisations:

  • EUSEA - The European Science Engagement Association  - a network of public engagement professionals and institutions.  
  • Science made simple: Advocating simple science experiments with everyday materials.
  • The European Children's Universities Network: This network brings together different higher education institutions offering activities and visits for children across Europe.
  • Levers for Climate Change: this project aims to shape a just & sustainable Europe through inclusive learning and transformative action.
  • BiOrbic: an Irish national collaboration of researchers, focused on the development of a sustainable, circular bioeconomy. Currently they are developing a secondary school educational programme including the topic of food waste. 

Stay tuned for more updates on our collaborations and upcoming initiatives!

(on the photo from the left: Implementation Lead dr. Keren Dalyot and Project Lead Fabienne Ruault)