Science is Wonderful! (25-26/09/2020)

At the end of September, Stefan Sorge (HNEE) participated in the “Science is Wonderful!” event representing the InnoForESt project.

Three days of events with more than 10.000 individual visitors, including more than 5.000 school pupils, the event organised by the European Commission can be considered a great success.

A diverse set of scientific fields were presenting topics, including global warming, urban development, innovative approaches to fight cancer and hunger. The exhibition went virtual with 40 stands, where researchers used avatars and participants could meet and talk to researchers, ask them questions, perform their own scientific experiments, play games and watch an array of online activities in different languages.

The InnoForESt project was shared with children, teachers, parents, scientists, politicians and other citizens from all over the world. In total we put forward 15 presentations. At the InnoForESt project stand, participants were able to interact and learn about our innovative case studies, dubbed the ‘Innovation Regions’, and our methodology. Our project, connecting social and natural science was most unique in this way. Out of 250 applications, only 40 were selected for the event. We shared our insights to the project, flyer, brochures and media produced during InnoForESt.

Students asked about opportunities to participate in future related projects, similar to InnoForESt, possible cooperation and gained further interest in forests in general and the development of innovative forestry-related approaches. We also received requests from churches on a joint project application of churches about the voluntary carbon sequestration market in Germany, who contacted HNEE afterwards to request cooperation.

“In my opinion, this type of event has great potential, even some advantages in comparison with ‘real conferences’ with a global outreach of the project. Because it is easier to organise yourself if you want to participate in several presentations as a visitor – timing, changes, quick overview of who is presenting what – all in a very quick way. The event presented a possibility for interested people to participate for free from anywhere in the world instead of paying huge fees and expensive travels, which may be unaffordable for many scientists and students. And it provided 100% safety in times of COVID-19.”

“We also had a kind of get together out of nowhere, when I was participating in another presentation and we started talking for more than one hour with people from Latin America and Spain, very funny! But now, I also want to meet them in person! ;)”

This project provides a great deal of support, particularly in terms of science communication and yielding a wider reach, to create further ideas and innovations, in addition to making science exciting to young persons interested in working within the science environment. This is critical, as they are the next generation to tackle the issues on climate change and sustainability covered within InnoForESt and many other projects that participated in the event.



Stefan Sorge (HNEE)