Science Communication in Lyon and Paris

Representatives from the University of Bucharest visited colleagues from the University of Lyon to find out how Science is communicated in France…

Dates of visit – 18-26 April 2010.

Delegation: Razvan Mihail Papuc and Paul Marinescu – University of Bucharest.

Establishments visited: Univerisy of Lyon, Sorbonne University, Cite de Science and Palais de la Découverte

The Palais de la Découverte

The Palais de la Découverte presents fundamental and contemporary science in a dynamic and interactive way.   There is a planetarium, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and earth sciences laboratories and the Electrostatics room and Sun room.

In the Acoustics room of the Palais de la Découverte we were presented a series of experiments and demonstrations in which investigated the phenomenons of sound, such as making sound, the speed of sound, structure of simple and complex sounds.

The Cite de la Science et de L’Industrie

The Cite de la Science et de L’Industrie site is a modern site offering a wide range of exhibitions and shows. The combination of experiments and experiences for all ages offers the possibility that heterogeneous groups can relate to assimilate and use scientific information.

There are playgrounds for children, The Grand Hall (hall for exhibitions and performances), the Parc de la Villette, the National Conservatory of Music and Dance, the Explora, the Argonaute, the Geod, the Planetarium and the Cinaxe are centers of interest for visitors of all ages and can make dissemination of scientific information by experts and through personal and group experiences.

Experience here has shown us that certain elements that we found can be emphasized in Bucharest in the framework of existing or specially designated areas.

Sorbonne University

Malesherbes, Clignancourt and Research House (the Maison de la Recherche) academic centers from the University of Paris Sorbonne 4 are essential benchmarks for the analysis of scientific information dissemination projects. Important components of Paris – Sorbonne is located in Maison de la Recherche: Doctoral Studies Service, Research Services, plus six doctoral schools part of Doctoral School of Geography (history, literature, civilization, culture, art, archeology and geography) are entities that release information involving doctoral students, researchers and teachers.

We found that the dissemination of scientific information is done in: libraries, laboratories, companies, museums, universities and research centers.

In Paris there are many monuments that facilitate the dissemination of scientific information. The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Palace of Versailles, the Louvre pyramid, the Pantheon and the L’Hôtel national des Invalide are some landmarks that are permanently disseminating scientific information.

The visit to Paris has shown us that events can be achieved when there is enough reason to put the value of existing resources and objectives are clearly defined. I noticed how important that project teams expertise team members is essential. Financial resources are essential but very important is to organize project teams.  Multiculturalism is a resource that is able to prevent potential tensions that may lead to conflicts.

University of Lyon

Our journey continued with a visit to the University of Lyon. Here we noticed how important partnerships between universities are. We noted consistent partnerships between universities of Lyon, Saint – Etienne and Grenoble. These universities are part of the Rhone-Alps Region. Partnerships between universities define optimal resource usage possibilities and thus may contribute to increasing dissemination of scientific information. At the Lyon University we noticed the quality of research centers that are implied in important projects for the dissemination of scientific information.

The Department  Science et Société  – CCSTI du Rhône show in many large activities how the scientific, tehnical and industrial culture can be revealed to the large public.

The main objective of the Centre is to facilitate the meetings between the members of scientific community and between them and other categories of „public” in order to create a stable network in science dissemination.  Actions like: Fête de la ScienceNuit des chercheurs, Camion des sciences, Faites tourner la science etc. are very good exemples of good practices in science dissemination.

Some details are essential to define the value of University Claude Bernard – Lyon1:

  • It is the Fourth French university
  • First university for health science
  • More than 250 national diplomas
  • 12% of 125 Students of Foreign Nationalities
  • Budget of one million euros to 350
  • 23 geographical sites
  • 5000 employees
  • Component research is impressive:
    • 84 research units
    • Three research priorities – Health, Environment and Materials, six research clusters

Students are involved in various projects and programs. In this way the scientific information dissemination becomes a mean through which people of different ages can be part of a permanent training program for the inhabitants of the Rhone Alps region.

Earth science, Sports  science, chemistry biochemistry, medicine, Pharmacy Paramedicine Odontology, Mathematics Actuarial science, computer science, Physics Astronomy, Engineering Technology, Teacher training are few directions by which the Lyon University  can react to the challenges of the actual era. The 35000 students at the Lyon University are an essential part of the scientific information dissemination.

The University is committed to more than 80 European Union projects and participates actively in The Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological development (FP7).

From Inventions To market, Lyon Science Transfer leads the process (Invention, Diagnosis, Industrial property, Proof of concept & Prototype, Promotion & Prospecting, Licensing & Transfer, Market).

The Lyon Library in opened for the general public offering facilities for accessing information.  Lyon University’s students can subscribe to the documentation portals of all the universities in the Rhones region

Information dissemination also takes place at Herbiers. This is situated in the second campus having over 4 mil species. The Herbiers directory showed us the Roland Bonaparte, Georges Rouy,  Michel Gandoger collections. These collections are at the command of scientists from all over the world, being under the supervision of the director and 2 curators.

The Merieux Institute has a special place within the Lyon research system. This institute has become an important part of the microbiology and vaccine’s industry world wide. All these academic research centers have simulators in which students can understand the evolution of various phenomena and the implications of the scientific dissemination in society development. The institute offers the general public the possibility to participate in simulations through which the informational and technological flows can be visualized.

These differentiated shows offer the possibility for accessing the science and technological information contributing to the peoples education and encouraging them to have initiative in the scientific information dissemination. The visit has strengthened the belief that institution initiatives are essential for educating the public regarding the advantages of accessing and using the scientific information. There’s no doubt individual scientific information dissemination actions are important, but without gathering all the energies by the specialized institutions this effort will only bring partial results.

Analyzing the activity performed by universities, museums, research institutes, libraries, ONGs in Paris and Lyon we found that besides the value of initiative of each institution there also exists the initiative of the State institutions that regulates and encourages such activities.

The Lyon learning network (one of the most developed in the world) includes: several universities, research institutes, museums, associations, companies. The partnerships between these socio-economical entities are remarkable in encouraging the training of all social categories. These collaborations can offer a large variety of training areas for the public ranging from training specialists to an informational offer for the public interested only in disseminating the information for the purpose of  giving a general image about a field or another.

The transmission of data, documents and results of the practical experiences and activities, the cooperation in promoting this information are some of the objectives of the French institutions in charge with the dissemination of the scientific information.

The FP7 project can foreshadow the closing of protocols between the institutions involved in the project that can foreshadow an international scientific information dissemination network. Thus there could convey not only scientific information but also experiences so very useful in educating the population.

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