As part of the EC-funded ULab project, the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford organized an online competition to identify the most innovative outreach and public engagement activities carried out by European Universities. Both individuals and groups were invited to apply through a competition managed online. Competition was limited to activities initiated and sustained at any university or higher education institution within the 27 EU member states, including projects that might have involved collaboration with institutions outside the EU. The entry could be from one or a number of cooperating universities. The three winning entries won cash prizes for their institution as well as funding for a representative to attend the award ceremony at the University of Oxford, which was held on 8 June 2012.
The three competition winners were:
- Active Science – Young people engaged in science (encouraging deliberative democracy by engaging young people in current scientific and technological issues – Agora Scienza, Centro Interuniversitario, ITALY)
- Centre of the Cell (the first science education centre in the world to be located within biomedical research laboratories – Queen Mary, University of London, UK)
- Sons de Barcelona (Sounds of Barcelona) (working with environmental sounds to foster interest in music technologies through creative workshops – Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, SPAIN)
In addition, due to the very high number of high quality entries, three other projects have been selected for Recognition of Distinction. They were:
- Seeking perfection: Young People Exploring Enhancement with Researchers (exploring human enhancement using creative approaches – University of Manchester, Nowgen, Contact Theatre and the Manchester Science Festival, UK)
- Maths busking (showing the public the surprising and fascinating side of mathematics through the medium of street performance – UK)
- Staging Files – a Public History Project at the University of Bremen (history and theatre projects at the University of Bremen dealing with controversial topics of Bremen’s history – University of Bremen, GERMANY)
A video that provides an overview of the competition and its winners has been produced by Voices from Oxford and is available on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI9zC3JYcD8 Rebecca Eynon and I try to explain how the project worked, why we did this, and how important the activities should be for universities.