From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2016
Many research projects and scientific initiatives multiple their impact and relevance through collaborations. It is the contact and exchange with others that often brings a scientist’s work to the next level. The same happens with outreach: sharing activities, concepts, materials and knowhow may lead to greater impact, more innovative, inspirational ideas with enough potential to create pioneering outreach activities. A good example for this is the FP7 European project “GoPhoton!”, an initiative of ECOP (European Centres of Outreach in Photonics) that ran through 2014 and 2015 and finished at the beginning of 2016 and was directed at the general public, young minds as well as current and future entrepreneurs. This project was based on the idea of sharing activities - which is at the core of ECOP’s identity- already existing in other nodes (institutions within the project), or created within GoPhoton! The main concept was the effective leverage of local links such as the networks of educators and professionals in general, industrial clusters, museums, universities, governmental and non-governmental organizations, all from a Pan-European perspective possible through ECOP. This has resulted in over 200 events impacting over two million people. The sharing of activities across institutions that have different resources, facilities, and cultural environments is not straightforward. One of the biggest challenges for the consortium was to be able to extract the concept and identity of each activity, so that it could be realistically adapted to each local context. A crucial point was being able to effectively use the knowhow gained from a partner’s activity, in a way that the essence of the activity remained untainted across the participating nodes, while still triggering innovation locally.
Lydia Sanmarti-Vila, Marta García-Matos, Federica Beduini, and Silvia Carrasco, "Collaborative outreach," Proc. SPIE 9946, Optics Education and Outreach IV, 99460I (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 31, 2016; Published: 27 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2236303.
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