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Open Science Hub receives 2021 Medal of Scientific Merit in Portugal

Open Science Hub, a science education project coordinated by Leiden University, has won the 2021 Portuguese Medal of Scientific Merit for its contributions to community development through science education, research and innovation.

Paulo Langrouva, the mayor of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo and host of Open Science Hub Portugal, received the Medal from the Portuguese State Minister, Mariana Vieira da Silva, on Monday, 28 June 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal.  

Established by the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, the Medals of Scientific Merit recognise exceptional contributions to the development of science or scientific culture in Portugal. ‘This medal recognizes the importance of using research and innovation as a tool for policy-making at the local level, but also as an educational approach to work with our communities to tackle challenges and contribute to sustainable development,’ Paulo Langrouva expands.

Mediator in local communities

Open Science Hubs work as mediators in each local community, positioning schools as active agents for collaboration between families, universities, research institutes, industry, enterprises, media, local governments, civil society organizations, and the wider society by engaging in real-life projects that meet societal needs. At the moment, nine European countries have their own Open Science Hubs: the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, and Switzerland. The project is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme. 

The 2021 Medal of Scientific Merit © OSHub

Making students active citizens

Maria Vicente, Open Science Hub international project manager, adds: ‘In Portugal, the Open Science Hub has been working towards increasing students’ active citizenship and promoting teachers’ autonomy.’ Students, teachers, and local stakeholders, such as environmental organisations, have been implementing citizen-science approaches in Douro River to improve the quality of the river streams by understanding the impact of human activities. 

Climate change and pandemics

Pedro Russo, Open Science Hub Principal Investigator, concludes: ‘Open Science Hub project recognises the local dimension of global challenges, such as climate change or pandemics. We provide local schools and communities with the educational tools and expertise to tackle these challenges and co-create local impact. This Medal confirms that science needs to be open to the local communities.’

In the Netherlands, Open Science Hub is working with the Municipality of the Hague, and the School boards Brede Buurtschool supporting schools in reducing the workload (due to Covid-19 pandemic) of primary school teachers and increasing the educational opportunities for all students. 

Header image – From left to right: Maria Vicente, Open Science Hub international project manager, Pedro Russo, Open Science Hub Principal Investigator and Paulo Langrouva, mayor of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo (host of Open Science Hub Portugal).

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