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EGU Public Engagement Grants 2020 projects (Credit: Left to right: Chris Skinner and Christina Roggatz; Rosalie Tostevin; Elspeth Wallace)

EGU news EGU Public Engagement Grants: 2020 winners announced

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European Geosciences Union

EGU Public Engagement Grants: 2020 winners announced

27 May 2020

EGU Public Engagement Grants are awarded each year to Union members interested in developing an outreach project to raise awareness of the geosciences outside the scientific community. For the first time, the EGU Outreach Committee has named three €1500 grant winners in 2020.

One is for ‘Reclaiming the rocks: ukuthetha ngezifundo zomhlaba ngesiXhosa’, a project that Rosalie Tostevin proposed to translate stories from South Africa’s rich geological history into indigenous languages. Chris Skinner and Christina Roggatz will also receive a grant for Crabby’s Reef, an online, research-based game that will highlight the impacts of ocean acidification. The third winner is Purls of Wisdom, a project proposed by Elspeth Wallace and colleagues Fergus McAuliffe and Anthea Lacchia, in which participants will create yarn-based crafts to help raise local awareness of Earth’s changing climate.

Tostevin, a lecturer at the University of Cape Town who teaches a course on the geology of South Africa and manages a language diversity programme, will work closely with Batande Getyengana, a student at the same institution and a native isiXhosa speaker, to create a geological dictionary in isiXhosa to help inspire public engagement in a population that historically has been excluded by the geoscience community.

Says Tostevin, “We are very grateful for the opportunity to develop new geoscience resources in isiXhosa. We know that people engage more and understand better when you talk to them in their mother tongue. This funding will allow us to create lasting resources that can support outreach in South Africa for years to come.”

Christopher Skinner and Christina Roggatz, both research fellows at the University of Hull, will also create home education guides to support the 2D-game, which in the future will be modified into a virtual-reality game. The first version will be officially launched in early June to coincide with World Oceans Day.

The team of judges who evaluated the grant proposal said, “The acidification game brings together some really innovative elements of virtual reality and science communication. It deals with a particularly serious environmental issue through the eyes and experiences of an important character: the crab. We get to feel what the crab is feeling whilst the oceans acidify. This is a powerful way to educate and motivate people. We look forward to hearing about how people respond to the game.“

A team from the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences led by Wallace, an Education and Public Engagement Manager, won the third grant. Together with McAuliffe and Lacchia, Wallace will use the funds to help people visualise local climate data in novel and creative ways. Participants will create knitted/crocheted/yarn-crafted works that imaginatively display climate data (such temperature) through time and use these to create an exhibition at a local cultural centre.

“Purls of Wisdom aims to create a much-needed local platform for our changing climate,” says Wallce. “We are grateful for the opportunity to help more people think about what climate change will mean for their local environment and to be able to create personal, unique and local visualisations of this that we look forward to sharing with the EGU community.”

The grants are for a period of approximately 12 months and will be awarded this month. The winners will be invited to present their public-engagement work at next year’s EGU General Assembly and to participate in EGU educational and outreach activities in Vienna in 2021. They are also invited to submit a paper about their work to the journal Geoscience Communication.

More information

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is the leading organisation for Earth, planetary and space science research in Europe. With our partner organisations worldwide, we foster fundamental geoscience research, alongside applied research that addresses key societal and environmental challenges. Our vision is to realise a sustainable and just future for humanity and for the planet. We publish a number of diverse scientific journals, which use an innovative open access format, and organise topical meetings, and education and outreach activities. Follow the EGU on Twitter and Facebook.


Terri Cook
Head of Media, Communications and Outreach
European Geosciences Union
Munich, Germany
X @EuroGeosciences


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