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Letter exchanges to connect scientists and pupils

A new spin-off programme from Native Scientist to reach pupils across the Portuguese-speaking world

This is what “Cartas com Ciência” set out to do, a spin-off programme from Native Scientist, inspired by the USA project Letters to a Pre-Scientist. This new initiative, which literally translates to “Letters with Science”, aims at inspiring children in Portuguese-speaking countries to consider higher education and science research careers.

There are 9 countries in the world where Portuguese is an official language, of which 8 are developing countries and 5 belong to the United Nations list of Least Developed Countries. Through “Cartas com Ciência”, children in these countries will exchange letters with Portuguese-speaking researchers around the world, having the opportunity to improve their science and Portuguese language skills. Children will meet “real” scientists through this letter exchange and “hear” about topics such as research and career, experiences in higher education, obstacles faced and how to overcome them. For many, it will be the first time they receive a letter!

The official launch of “Cartas com Ciência” is today, 5th May 2020, alongside with the first ever World Portuguese Language Day. Behind this project are two Native Scientist collaborators: Mariana Alves, Project Manager for Portuguese in Heidelberg and Existing Partnerships Manager, and Rafael Galupa, Editor and Content Manager for our Blog & News.

About the programme, Rafael says “I thought that having children and scientists writing letters to each other was such a powerful and simple idea that it was worth replicating it to the Portuguese-speaking world, with over 250 million speakers. I was very happy when Native Scientist and Letters to a Pre-Scientist agreed to support us in taking the idea further. In the first year of the programme, we will reach 50+ pupils in Mozambique and Portugal.” Mariana adds that “to me, this project means paying it forward to the next generation and democratizing access to science - science needs to reach everyone and we must all try to break the walls in that path. Personally, it also means reconnecting with my roots, which in this case is my mother tongue.”

If you are interested in participating in this project, please visit Cartas com Ciência website (in Portuguese) or register here. For questions, partnerships or if you know an enthusiastic teacher in a Portuguese-speaking country, please email: cartascomciencia [at]

About Native Scientist

Native Scientist is an award-winning European-wide non-profit organisation that promotes cultural diversity in science, education and society. Native Scientist provides science and language workshops, science communication training, and bespoke projects for various institutions, including schools, universities and embassies. The work developed connects pupils with scientists to foster science and language literacy through role modelling and science and language integrated learning. Founded in 2013, their work reaches over 1,200 pupils a year and they count with a network of over 1,000 international scientists.

About Letters to a Pre-Scientist

Letters to a Pre-Scientist (LPS) is a snail mail pen pal program that connects students from low-income communities in the US with real STEM professionals from around the world during science class to demystify STEM careers and empower all students to see themselves as future scientists. The program broadens students’ awareness of what scientists look like and do at work and helps students connect personally to science. During the year, a scientist transforms from someone they see in the movies into an actual person the student can aspire to emulate. Founded in 2010, the program currently reaches 1,650 US pupils a year and is supported by a worldwide network of 2000+ STEM professionals. LPS is run by the US based nonprofit Pre-Scientist, Inc. Learn more at


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