25 Facts About The Science Shop

  1. The Science Shop at Queen’s and University of Ulster has been operating for twenty-five years, opening its doors in January 1989.

  2. From Aughnacloy to Upperlands the Science Shops works across Northern Ireland with community and voluntary organisations to develop research ideas.

  3. Students undertake Science Shop projects as part of their degree programmes, supervised by University academic staff.

  4. The Science Shops is funded by the Department of Employment and Learning through their Higher Education Innovation Fund which encourages higher education to build links with the community and business.

  5. There are Science Shops in universities right across the world, including in China, the USA, Canada, Romania, South Africa and Australia.

  6. Over the last 25 years the Science Shop has worked with 650 community and voluntary groups completing over 2,000 projects.

  7. Students in departments ranging from Architecture to Zoology have undertaken projects for community partners.

  8. The Science Shop movement originated in the Netherlands in the 1970s when a group of students decided they wanted to work on grassroots issues.

  9. The original Dutch name for Science Shop is Wetenschapswinkel  which literally translated means Knowledge Shop. 

  10. Science Shop staff have over 75 years experience between them of working with students and communities.

  11. In 2009, 170 delegates from 15 countries across the world attended a Science Shop conference in Belfast.

  12. Internationally Science Shops are called other things, such as Community Research Resources, Community Knowledge Exchanges or Students Learning with Communities.

  13. The Science Shop isn’t just about science disciplines, it works right across all disciplines in both universities and can deal with social, environmental and scientific topics.

  14. Community groups often know a lot about their topic area but may not have the time to carry out a piece of research. 

  15. Most students do research as part of their degree programme and can choose a Science Shop project as a basis for their work.

  16. Both students and community groups benefit from this exchange of knowledge.

  17. The Science Shop at Queen’s University has mentored new Science Shops in universities in Canada, Norway, France and three in the Republic of Ireland.

  18. The European Commission have funded four major projects supporting Science Shops over the last 10 years.

  19. The current European Commission Science Shop project is called Public Engagement in Research and Research Engagement with Society.

  20. You don’t need to know a lot about research to contact The Science Shop.

  21. The Science Shop at Ulster works across the four campuses; Belfast, Coleraine, Jordanstown and Magee.

  22. If you work in a community organisation Science Shop staff will help you to think about how to do research.

  23. Many Dutch Universities have Science Shops in each academic area, so there is a Science Shop for the Arts for example in University of Groningen in the Netherlands. 

  24. Science Shop research projects are archived and can be shared with other community and voluntary organisations.

  25. If you are a student doing a dissertation or research project, you can look at The Science Shop website for a list of project ideas.