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Native Scientists explores what makes science engagement interesting for scientists

Native Scientists published another peer-reviewed article discussing how its programmes tackles informal science and education inequities. This time, the article in Frontiers in Communications delves into the impact of its public engagement programs. Published on 23 November the authors analysed the motivations, expectations and outcomes of scientists enrolled as coordinators in the Same Migrant Community (SMC) programme. This science engagement  initiative brings together scientists and school students from the same migrant communities through workshops held in a shared heritage language. 

As the number and variety of public engagement with science initiatives increases worldwide, scientists have often focused primarily on analysing the positive impact of the interventions in the audience, with little attention to the positive impact on scientists. Drawing upon their decade of experience in organising interactions between scientists and children using a small-group carousel-style approach, Native Scientists studied how those initiatives impact the messenger rather than the audience. "We analysed survey data and focused on the scientists involved in coordinating one of our science outreach programmes to learn more about their drives," says Joana Moscoso, director of Native Scientists and senior author of the paper. The programme has been taking place every year since 2013 and currently reaches 17 migrant communities in 12 cities across various European countries. It enrols a large network of scientists volunteering to organise and carry out the workshops. The answers were divided into fourteen categories and twelve subcategories. The data identified that the scientists' awareness of the programme's purpose and its anticipated impact on children is the main drive for volunteers' participation. Moreover, scientists participate in public engagement initiatives mainly to develop transferable skills and have networking opportunities. "Reading through the motivations given by the scientists was truly inspiring. We realised that their main drives can be divided into two groups, societal and personal," says Afonso Bento, first author of the study and SMC Programme Lead. 

The paper represents an important insight to inform both Native Scientists and other sector organisations on the motivations behind the engagement of scientists in public engagement activities, specifically those that focus on reducing inequalities and are built on shared characteristics between scientists and audiences.


Afonso Bento, Ana Isabel Catarino and Joana A. Moscoso. An exploratory study of the motivations, expectations and impact for scientists coordinating science engagement activities. Front. Commun., 23 November 2023 DOI:

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About Native Scientist

Founded in 2013, Native Scientists is a pan-European non-profit organisation connecting underserved children and scientists. It exists to broaden children's horizons, promoting scientific literacy and reducing inequalities through science outreach educational programmes.

About Journal Frontiers in Communications

Frontiers in Communication is a multidisciplinary journal focusing on advancing communication developments across society and culture, including politics, health, media and industry, science and environment. The journal welcomes research contributions in all areas of Communication that advance our understanding of communication technologies and bridge the gap between theory and practice. 


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