Leiden2022 Model for Future European City of Science Years
Leiden2022 was the very first European City of Science to present a year-long program aimed at connecting science and society. Next to the start of this programme, Leiden2022 created an advanced and practice-based model for Public Engagement with Science, resulting in a position paper to promote their ideas and the model they used: the Leiden2022 Model for Public Engagement with Science.
"We received many compliments about how we organised Leiden, European City of Science 2022," said Lucien Geelhoed, Intendant of Leiden2022.
Cities get the title "European City of Science" when they win the bid for the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) Conference. Instead of focussing solely on the conference, Leiden chose to host a 365-day festival, in which all kinds of activities were organised, aimed at strengthening the bond between science and society. These citizen-led, bottom-up, co-created programs formed the basis for the festival.
Even though most activities were organised on a local scale, Leiden2022 pushed national agendas on Public Engagement with Science and developed concepts on a European Scale, such as EU TalentOn for early career researchers and the European Young Scientist Contest (EUCYS) targeting 14-20-year-olds with a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
To make these activities a success, Leiden2022 played by three rules:
1. Be Curious: every new connection starts with curiosity. People were encouraged to think outside the box, and scientists were encouraged to go out and talk to people about their fields of interest.
2. Be Generous: to ensure everyone could participate, Leiden2022 reached beyond their existing network to get in touch with people and organise events.
3. Be Messy: Leiden2022 embraced a "just do it" mentality and went beyond the traditional formats to choose out-of-the-box ideas. This approach has proven to be inspiring and resourceful.
Leiden2022 has seen that their activities, which caused community-based participation, provided a significant step towards building sustainable relationships between science and society. This Leiden2022 model sets the stage for meaningful interaction between scientists and citizens, in which bottom-up participation is the rule, not the exception.
More information about Leiden2022's approach to organising activities during Leiden, European City of Science, can be found in their position paper.