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And the winners are...

Mariano Gago Ecsite Awards - 2019 winners revealed
Mariano Gago Ecsite Awards - 2019 Beacon of the Year is Barbara StreicherMariano Gago Ecsite Awards - 2019 Beacon of the Year is Barbara StreicherMariano Gago Ecsite Awards - 2019 Sustainable Success Awardee is SciCoMariano Gago Ecsite Awards - 2019 Sustainable Success Awardee is SciCoMariano Gago Ecsite Awards - 2019 Special Mention for UniverscienceMariano Gago Ecsite Awards - 2019 Special Mention for Universcience

The winners of the 2019 Mariano Gago Ecsite Awards have just been announced at the Opening Ceremony of the Ecsite Conference in Copenhagen by Sharon Ament, Chairperson of the Jury and Director of the Museum of London.

Barbara Streicher (Executive Manager at Science Center Netzwerk, Vienna Austria) won the Beacon of the Year Award for personal embodiment of our network’s values.

The non-profit organisation SciCo (Athens, Greece) won the Sustainable Success Award for "STEMpowering Youth" - a STEM educational programme which brings together young students and educators from remote areas of Greece in order to work together out of school, come up with their own innovative ideas and develop them into real-life projects that solve local community problems.

Universcience (Paris, France) got a special mention for taking a timely stance to counteract the spreading of misinformation with the “Data Science vs. Fake News” project, which sets a brave example for the science engagement field.

A warm thank you to the LIP laboratory, generous contributor to the Mariano Gago Ecsite Awards.

Barbara Streicher wins ‘Beacon of the Year’ prize

The Beacon of the Year Award celebrates inspirational individuals who have been contributing to our field and to the Ecsite network. The Award recognises innovative visionaries who are empowering and motivating their peers to reach a common goal: emboldening citizens to engage with science.

Barbara Streicher has been working in science communication since completing her PhD at the University of Vienna as a molecular biologist. She co-initiated the Austrian Association Science Center-Network back in 2005 and is an active advocate for social inclusion and diversity. Barbara was a Noyce leadership fellow in 2013/14.

Barbara is an active member of the Ecsite Conference Programme Committee since 2015, and has been providing significant contributions to the Ecsite community as one of the Hosts of the #Ecsite2016 in Graz, as a key committee member of The Facilitation Group, an Ecsite thematic group devoted to empowerment of explainers and human interfaces in science centers, and through initiating an advocate group for social inclusion, equity and diversity within the science center community.

Barbara Streicher’s nomination was put forward by peers from several science engagement organisations across Europe. “Emerging issues, such as diversity, inclusion and social equity, ask for pondering beyond common sense statements, and call for leaders that do not simply govern or dominate: Barbara is such a leader, smartly urging everyone to reflect, re-question and be critical. She is shaking our minds, and changing our field”, they wrote when putting her name forward.

"The Jury’s view was unanimous" explained Sharon Ament, Chairperson of the Jury. "Barbara demonstrates a real commitment to openness and diversity.” Inviting Barbara to join her on stage, she continued: "Her work stands out and is recognised by her peers as being courageous and inspirational, a remarkable person doing remarkable work to move our sector forward".

“If we want to cultivate fact-based critical thinking as a much needed contribution to our democratic society, we need to start in our own organisations.” shared Barbara as she received the Award.

SciCo wins ‘Sustainable Success’ prize

The Sustainable Success category celebrates long-lasting impact: projects that embody the values of science engagement, that are visionary and socially relevant.

SciCo (Athens, Greece) won in the Sustainable Success Award for “STEMpowering Youth”, a STEM educational programme which trains educators and empowers students to become innovators and engage with local social and environmental challenges in remote and underprivileged communities in Greece.

This innovative programme is the outcome of a dynamic and sustainable collaboration between SciCo, Vodafone Foundation (a private corporation) and Ellinogermaniki Agogi (a science education-oriented school). “STEMpowering Youth” is empowering educators and their 12-17 year old students to engage with impending social and environmental challenges in their communities and develop projects with local stakeholders. Educators from remote areas are brought in to SciCo, in Athens, for a comprehensive 3-day workshop which trains them on new technologies and digital applications, facilitates experiential teaching, and creates a community between them that allows the exchange of information and ideas. Back in their local schools, educators are fully equipped to use new and interactive teaching methods.

A digital platform centralises all materials and guides, showcases developed projects and connects educators from different remote areas. Students get to take on the role of scientists or inventors and practice the inquiry method in a variety of topics, using digital tools. This way, students develop their critical and creative thinking, communication, research and problem-solving - skills that characterize modern reality.

The programme’s goal to empower and advance STEM education in schools in Greece is enhanced by two more activity pillars, which include the support of schools in remote areas with STEM educational kits and the development of a mobile game making Astronomy knowledge fun and accessible for young students and the general public.

“STEMpowering youth” has been running since 2017 and has targeted more than 35 remote areas and benefited more than 12,400 young students who have (so far) presented 180 projects around local community issues.

"The Jury was impressed with the impact and social relevance of STEMpowering Youth," explained Sharon Ament, Chairperson of the Jury. "This is a long-standing, well rooted success story with remarkable reach, true to our field's values of inclusion and diversity.” Inviting the project’s creator Theo Anagnostopoulos to join her on stage, she continued: "We applaud the accessibility and shareability of the programme, making it an open and inspirational tool to engage and empower young people in underprivileged communities worldwide"

"We are not trying to shift every teenager to study science and engineering. All jobs are necessary and diversity is essential. What we are trying to do is to cultivate the mindset of inferential thinking for making decisions based on data and facts. The mindset of thinking critically, questioning and testing hypotheses, innovating and liberating creativity" shared Theo Anagnostopoulos as he received the Award.

Universcience gets Special mention

The Jury felt compelled to award a Special mention to Universcience for taking a timely stance to counteract the spreading of misinformation with the “Data Science vs. Fake News” project, which sets a brave example for the science engagement field.

The “Data Science vs. Fake News” series was produced in 2018 and consists of 20 animated films – in French, German and English – lasting two minutes each. Each episode deconstructs a misconception and gives the essential data to allow the viewer to disentangle truth from fallacy. These films have reached more than 3.5 million viewers. Topics range from deforestation to AIDS, life expectancy, exhaustion of oil reserves, food, increased bird mortality, vaccines...

"The Jury was impressed with the bravery of this project," explained Sharon Ament, Chairperson of the Jury. "Universcience took a bold step in taking a stance on many topics to counteract the wide spreading of misinformation" Inviting Bruno Maquard to join her on stage, she continued: "The quality, relevance, shareability and impact of this project are undeniable and the Jury couldn’t help but give this project a special commendation. We would like to see more projects like this."

"I am very honoured to receive this Special Mention for our web series Data Science vs- Fake news. I would like to address my special thanks to the Jury for considering our project as bold and pertinent. This prize is a valuable testimony of the effective work to counteract the rise of misinformation, fake news, or infox, as we say in French. Universcience is dealing with these questions on a daily basis, through its exhibitions and public engagement activities. Such media is a new approach and format offering topics in full adequation with European concerns and global issues. More than 3.7 million viewers have discovered the series, that reveals the high degree of interest that sparked in several European countries. It is a pleasure to share it with you, now Universcience will commit with determination and responsibility to struggle this scourge. Misinformation represents serious threats to the effective exercise of citizenship in our democratic societies" shared Bruno Maquard as he received a diploma.

Watch some episodes in English:
Is the measles vaccine indispensable?
Are we still dying of AIDS today?
Are wind turbines responsible for the excess mortality of birds?
Are there still so many trees on Earth despite the deforestation?

You'll find the complete series here, with English subtitles. German and French versions are also available.

The Mariano Gago Ecsite Awards

Created in 2015, the Mariano Gago Ecsite Awards encourage creative and impactful work within the informal science education sector.

The awards are named after José Mariano Gago (1948 - 2015), a key figure of European science engagement. He was a founder of the Portuguese Ciência Viva network of science centres and an active contributor to Ecsite activities over the years.

Open to all Ecsite members, they provide an incentive and reward whose prestige contributes to the development of excellence in science engagement.

Find out more on the dedicated page.


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