The Team of the National Centre for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society within Slovak Centre for Science and Technical Information Received the Award for Science and Technology 2016
National Centre for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society within the Slovak Centre for Science and Technical Information was also awarded for the popularisation of science and technology in Slovakia and the coordination of popularisation activities at the national level. The team of employees have been awarded the Award for Science and Technology in the category Populariser of Science 2016.
The awarding of these awards is the culmination of the Week of Science and Technology in Slovakia. Nominees for each category have received the award from the hands of the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic Peter Plavčan at the gala evening on 10 November 2016 in the Incheba Expo in Bratislava. The event aims to recognise the work of scientists and researchers for their achievements and contribution in the field of science, technology and innovation. The Award for Science and Technology has been awarded since 2014, replacing the Award of the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. The objective of this transformation is to increase the social prestige of the awards for science and technology.
As an expert in the field of popularisation of science and technology, National Centre for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society (NCP S&T) within the Slovak Centre for Science and Technical Information has been proposed for the Award by the Association of Research and Development Industrial Organisations. As stated in the awarding statement, the NCP S&T within SCSTI ensures the management and operation of popularisation websites and social medias and the publication of electronic and printed periodicals and publications popularising science and technology, e.g. the Quark magazine. It also ensures the management and operation of the information system related to research, development and innovation.
Number of activities
Since 2007, National Centre for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society within the Slovak Centre for Science and Technical Information holds the patronage over activities aimed at popularisation of science and technology in Slovakia. Since its establishment, it has been organising and co-organising a number of popularisation events, among which the most favoured and the most well-known are the lecture cycle entitled Science in the CENTRE and Scientific Patisserie. NCP S&T is annually co-organising the Week of Science and Technology in Slovakia and the European Night of Researchers, which are of great interest to the public. Together with Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Association of Slovak Scientific and Technological Societies, the NCP S&T has co-organised the awarding of science and technology personalities – Slovak Scientist of the Year.
NCP S&T is actively involved in the preparation of media outputs on science and technology. Through the science-popular portal SCIENCE WITHIN REACH, it offers a number of news, information and entertainment from the world of science and technology. On the other hand, the e-newspapers Scientific kaleidoscope creates an information space for all who are interested in the science policy of the European Union, as well as information about the science in Slovakia. It also produces various television formats popularising science, the most famous of which is the documentary series entitled Spectrum of Science. Within the framework of this year’s Science and Technology Week in Slovakia, NCP S&T within SCSTI has opened the unique Experience Centre of Science Aurelium, designated for the general public.
Surprise and delight
Director of NCP S&T Mgr. Andrea Putalová said, “of course, it was a surprise, but most of all delight from the fact that our work is appreciated by both the scientific community and the public, and it is worth continuing with it. We consider this award as a commendation and that is always pleasant. However, it also motivates us in further activities in the area of popularisation, because science and technology deserve our attention”.
For her, it is gratifying that in nine years of existence, the views of scientists themselves towards the popularisation of science have changed greatly. In this respect, the communication with scientists is much easier today. “I really appreciate the work of the scientists and I know that presenting the results of scientific and research work to the general public is not easy at all. That is why we try with our activities to create a space for the scientific community, where they can meet people who want to know more about their work. We have countless activities, some more visible and others less visible, but equally important. I will mention the youth-favourite Scientific Patisserie or the well-known Science Café, which we have regularly organised since 2008. We also make a significant contribution to the organisation of the events Slovak Scientist of the Year, the Night of Researchers, or the Week of Science and Technology in Slovakia, in the scope of which the Award we received is being awarded.”
The best team in the world
Mgr. Andrea Putalová says that the whole team definitely works hard. According to her, to organise a lot of events requires a lot of energy, time, strong nerves, but also dedication to work, because during the organisation period, it is definitely not an 8-hour working day. “You have to communicate with a lot of people, manage a lot of administration and seek compromises. On the other hand, meetings with scientists and technologists are always very interesting and inspiring. These meetings enrich us not only professionally, but also on the human level."
She adds with a smile that she always claims she has the best team in the world. “We are like a perfectly functioning machine, where one wheel fits into the other and each wheel is important. They support and complement each other. I am extremely grateful for the people I have around me.”
What are the future plans for the Director of NCP S&T? Mgr. Andrea Putalová: “There is a lot of them. First of all, we would like to finish building a national popularisation network, which would help us improve the coordination of popularisation activities throughout Slovakia to reach out to a larger number of people. A second, very important goal is to improve communication with the media in the area of popularisation of science and technology. The public does not know what is going on in research and development in Slovakia and they do not know the personalities of Slovak science, who deserve public recognition for their work. The media could be very helpful in this regard. People need a lot more positive news, but unfortunately they are not getting to media so often.”
Mgr. Patrícia Stanová, who is the Head of the Section for Promotion of Science and Technology is convinced that there should be pressure on the media in an effort to popularise Slovak science even more. “They are currently full of inexpensive entertainment and that suits the public so well. Of course, we understand that the situation of most people requires simple formats, whereas people don’t have to think. But science can be interesting as well, but it is difficult to get it across to people in a way that they have fun.” According to her, the media have apparently no interest or time to make it available to ordinary people.
Mgr. Patrícia Stanová says, “we understand that journalists also have their instructions and pressures to comply with. However, all in all, it gives the impression that today’s generation of journalists has gotten a little lazy and has no motivation to process more demanding themes. I am not even saying anything about the fact that the status of a scientific journalist has completely disappeared. However, it is also necessary to motivate scientists, not only financially but also to give them time and support for the popularisation of science. They often spend most of the time with administration and beside research, they have no time or strength left”. Nevertheless, she says that also thanks to the work of the National Centre for the Popularisation of Science and Technology in the Society, there has been a turn for the better in this area.
For Mgr. Zuzana Vetrecin Čeplíková, who is the Head of the Section for Electronic Media and Multimedia, the Award was a surprise and she adds that the most notable success is the fact that there has been lately an increasingly visible public interest in science and technology topics. “People have better insight and they ask more, which is noticeable at the various events we organise. Similarly, scientists and researchers are more willing to cooperate with us. We have not experienced a situation within our SCIENCE WITHIN REACH and Scientific Kaleidoscope editorial offices that scientists would refuse to respond. They patiently explain intricate themes, to make them available to the general public.”
Mirror for the Slovak research
Ing. Danica Zendulková, who is the Head of the Section of Administration and Operation of the R&D Portal says, “for me the Award was a pleasant surprise”. The main focus of her section is the operation of the Central Information Portal for Research, Development and Innovation. The administrator of the Portal, which serves for providing information on R&D and functions as one central point within the central public administration portal, is the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports of the Slovak Republic. It also includes an information system about research, development and innovation, which sets a mirror for the Slovak research in the form of a database application containing data on programs, activities and results in the area of science, research and innovation supported from the public funds in a well-arranged and structured form.
Ing. Danica Zendulková says, “the most important result of our previous work is the creation of a new version of this information system entitled SK CRIS (Slovak Current Research Information System). This system makes accessible data on research and development projects, research entities and researchers, as well as research and development results. In creating SK CRIS, we established contact with the international community of experts on research information associated in the international organisation euroCRIS, in order to exchange experience. Slovakia has thus gained a reputation among European experts on research information and, last but not least, the result of our work is also drawing attention to the Slovak science and research abroad”.
The Central Information Portal for Research, Development and Innovation has received several awards during its operation (the Inforum, Microsoft Industra Award). There is a positive foreign perception of the processing and presentation of research information in Slovakia. For example, Slovakia has been ranked among the selected countries whose research information systems have been described in the study Measuring scientific performance for improved policy making, created in 2014 for the needs of the European Parliament.
Encouragement for further work
Ing. Martin Smeja, PhD., Head of the Aurelium Science Centre, referred to the receiving of the Award for Science and Technology as a great encouragement for further work. “At the same time, it is pointing out the relevance of the work of a group of people from the NCP S&T, who are doing their work with determination, joy and who are doing their work well.” His role is to put into operation the Experience Centre of Science Aurelium in a way that its visitors feel comfortable and they gain new knowledge and experience. “With teamwork, this difficult task is being accomplished, but we still have a lot of work to do. The energy that pulls us forward comes from a multitude of satisfied visitors, who express their gratitude in the guest book, but also in person in the Centre of Science. Then it is a joy to go to work, but also a commitment to work daily and improve the exhibits that visitors come into contact.”
The Award for Science and Technology has been awarded since 2014, replacing the Award of the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. The objective of this transformation is to increase the social prestige of the awards for science and technology.
Please visit the event's website Week of Science and Technology in Slovakia (only Slovak version) to find the list of all awarded in the individual categories, or see the e-newspapers Scientific kaleidoscope.
The main organiser of the Week of Science and Technology in Slovakia is the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information and the National Centre for the Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society. The general partner of the event is Huawei.
Edited by: Slávka Habrmanová, NCP S&T within the SCSTI
Copyedited by: Marta Bartošovičová, NCP S&T within the SCSTI
Photo: Ján Laštinec, NCP S&T within the SCSTI
Published by: MZ
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