Science shops represent a method of community-based participatory research that aims to establish productive, mutually beneficial collaborations between community organisations and research institutions. The initial idea when the concept emerged in the Netherlands already in the nineteen-seventies was for them to provide a specific location where citizens could link with researchers to help solve community-related problems. The intention is to mobilise people affected by the problem under study to take action, become part of the process of change and openly share results with community members. Since then, the concept expanded all over the world, bringing together relevant stakeholders for demand-driven research projects.
The project is part of the Horizon 2020 "Science with and for Society" programme. SciShops aims to strengthen and expand the capacity of the Science Shops ecosystem in Europe and beyond. Within the project, at least ten new science shops will be established. They will be twinned with already established science shops to learn from experienced science shops staff. A central platform will be developed collecting all relevant information for stakeholders.
Within the project the Wuppertal Institute is primarily responsible for developing and implementing a concept for gathering research questions from the local environment of the evolving science shops. Furthermore workshops are organised for knowledge exchange between establishes and new science shops.
In October 2019, the 24-hour Climathon ideas marathon took place as part of this project, to which more than 120 cities worldwide were invited to develop innovative and local solutions to the challenge of climate change. The Climathon offers participants the opportunity to develop ideas together in teams and to enjoy a varied programme of expert contributions and workshops. At this year's Climathon Wuppertal, several teams worked out solutions to promote climate-friendly travel by concert goers, to avoid waste for a clean city and to transport production parts between different locations in a climate-friendly way. The jury selected the winning team according to the evaluation criteria of user integration, climate impact, innovation potential, feasibility and team dynamics with the idea of "Clean Wup", a waste avoidance campaign. In addition to the Wuppertal Institute, the event in 2019 was organised by Neue Effizienz, the UNESCO Chair for Entrepreneurship and Intercultural Management at the University of Wuppertal and Climate-KIC.
Besides of the Wuppertal Institute, the SciShops project consortium comprises of 18 partners from all Europe and is coordinated by the innovation company SYNYO in Austria.