EGU Public Engagement Grants: 2023 winners announced
25 September 2023
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 2023, the EGU Outreach Committee has named three €1500 grant winners. Spanning a range of topics from hydrology and co-created knowledge, to early childhood education of general geoscience topics, and soil science, and using a range of innovative outreach formats to speak with their chosen audiences, the 2023 winners of the EGU Public Engagement Grants represent the enthusiasm that EGU members have for sharing our subject with many different public audiences.
“Our project, ‘Co-creating Blue Literacy: Indigenous Knowledge Meets Marine Science’, aims to bridge the knowledge of the Chiquitano Indigenous communities from Mato Grosso with scientific knowledge, promoting a deep connection between water and human rights. Our group of researchers, learners and community members are committed to learning about water protection and co-creating solutions that safeguard our precious rivers, seas, and water communities.” explains Giulia Parola from the University of Turin (UNITO) and Principal Investigator (PI) for the ECOCARE Project at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The proposed initiative, working directly with project cultural mediator Silvano Chue Muquissai, will use the The Ocean Senses Activity Book toolkit developed by researchers around the world to co-create new knowledge based on the intimate connections between water and human communities. “Receiving the EGU Public Engagement Grant is an honour and a validation of our mission.” says Parola, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify the voices of the Chiquitano Indigenous people, knowledge keepers, teachers, and young generations of learners. This award not only recognizes the importance of preserving the Chiquitano knowledge systems but also affirms our commitment to sustainable education and the vital role of water in achieving sustainability.”
Also funded is the project ‘GeoEdu4Kids – Geo Educational Games for Kids’, which proposes to create a childrens educational booklet targeting ages 3-8 by combining fun facts about geoscience with games, drawings, coloring, simple logical tasks, and puzzle solving. The project co-authors, Sanja Panovska from GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam and Sabrina Sanchez recently from the Institute de Physique du Globe de Paris, are also hoping to translate the booklet into several languages. “The booklet encompasses logical and reasoning games with geoscience themes designed for kids. It will provide fun and challenge for hours, and the best part is that the games can be true learning tools. The kids will get basic ideas of how the Earth system works, hopefully engaging their curiosity for STEM topics. One never knows what will spark the interest of a young child and will guide it later in life.” say Panovska and Sanchez, “We are happy and truly grateful to EGU, who made it possible for the kids’ booklet to see the light of day soon. We have no doubt children will be excited about this new project!”
In addition, the project ‘Delivering the first soils-focussed educational listening bench’ by Daniel Evans from Cranfield University was also awarded funding, and will use the existing technology of ‘listening benches’ which are outdoor benches with an inbuilt speaker system (operated with solar-powered batteries) that can play a sequence of audio tracks. This project will develop a series of audio tracks featuring soil-based facts, installed at sites of public interest to convey information about the local area to any people that choose to sit and listen, enabling the project to reach previously harder to reach audiences. Project creator Evans says “I am thrilled to receive an EGU Public Engagement Grant to launch the first ever soils-focused educational listening bench. I hope that this will be the start of an exciting new network of science engagement benches. In the future, I can imagine sending the bench on a tour across different cities, and using our excellent EGUcampfires to record conversations with scientists that can be uploaded to a network of benches.”
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 2024. They are also invited to submit a paper about their work to the journal Geoscience Communication.