Opening Nitrogen Science to the People

As many of you know, a science communication workshop, organised through the NitroEurope Young Scientists´ Forum and funded by the European Science Foundation and NitroEurope, was held in Madrid in October. The objectives of the workshop ranged from increasing the participants' understanding of effective methods to engage the public with scientific research, to producing ‘prototype' tools and techniques for communicating nitrogen science to various target audiences.  These objectives of the workshop were successfully achieved and a summary of the workshop outputs can be downloaded here.

The work was centred on the need to create and develop those tools and strategies necessary to engage the public with current nitrogen science. After a discussion on methods and strategies suitable for use in the communication of nitrogen science, several themes were chosen for development. These themes were the subject of the subsequent group work.  The outputs of the different groups included videos, songs and family games to bring nitrogen issues to households, school activities (e.g. an interactive nitrogen cycle, experiments, personalities based on each form of reactive nitrogen, etc.) and presentations and flyers for policy makers and NGOs. All the tools and materials developed during the workshop will be included in a website specially designedto give general information on the issues to the public (e.g. explanations of the nitrogen cycle, frequentl y asked questions etc.) as well as host a communication platform.

The organisers of the workshop would like to thank all the participants for their enthusiasm and creativity. None of the outputs of this workshop would have been possible without your dedication and large appetites!  We hope that your enthusiasm will continue in the following months so that we can develop these ideas further. Alberto Sanz and Mark Theobald