How to run a successful science outreach event

Science outreach events should include 'hands-on' activities Copyright: Flickr/chooyutshing

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This guide, published by the Institute of Research for Development (IRD), gives advice on how to organise and manage a public science outreach event including tips for successful science communication.

Although targeted at African science educators, this guide is useful for scientists, journalists or teachers planning a science communication event in the developing world.

Science and technology play a vital role in everyday life — people of all ages and occupations, not just scientists and researchers, should understand science. A successful outreach event can fulfil this responsibility.

Tips on how to organise such an event are provided, with authors highlighting the need to use simple language, offer concrete examples, stimulate questions from the audience, and provide ‘hands-on’ activities.

Potential events include workshops, meetings with scientists, field excursions, tours, and interactive exhibitions. For each activity, the authors discuss science educators’ role, the target audience, and appropriate length. They outline the preparation required for each event and provide cautionary notes to assist in running it smoothly.

The final section provides step-by-step instructions on implementing a science outreach activity: how to design it, set it up, practice it, greet the public, run the session and evaluate the event.

Helpful hints are offered throughout as to appropriate venues and equipment, how to hold your audience’s attention, and make the event run safely.

Link to full guide from the Institute of Research for Development[5.56MB]