Relevant to: Research, Community
Sector: Cross Sectoral
Summary: Science shops are small entities that carry out scientific research – usually free of charge – on behalf of citizens and local civil society.
Science shops are small entities, often based in universities, which carry out scientific research on behalf of citizens and local civil society – on an affordable basis and often free. Science shops provide independent participatory research in response to concerns expressed by civil society. Science shops act as intermediaries between citizen groups and research institutions and often function in a similar way to Community Based Research centres. The fact that they respond to civil society’s needs for expertise and knowledge is a key element that distinguishes them from other knowledge transfer mechanisms. They have been established to raise public awareness and to increase access to science, knowledge and technology for civil society. Many science shops specialise in specific areas. Science shops have been successful in bringing together students, researchers and civil society to address specific societal issues. Students can often gain credit towards their studies from participation in science shop projects. Other students undertake science shop projects for their thesis dissertation. In this way, science shops bring together teaching, learning and research.
Living Knowledge is the international network body for science shops. It aims to foster public engagement with and participation in all levels of the research and innovation process. Living Knowledge promotes open dialogue and debate between science and civil society.