Pop-Up Science Shop

1.1   Description

Science Shops mediate between citizens, citizen groups and research institutions. ‘The Pop-up Science Shop’ refers to a single event that simulates the way that civil society makes requests and how these problems can be transferred into a research setup. Citizens are called clients, in the context of the “shop”. Science Shops operate under a variety of different names and in different ways throughout Europe and worldwide. What they share is that research is done on the basis of concerns of civil society and that projects are governed in a partnership between civil society organizations (CSOs) and research institutes.
Science Shops can be seen as a valuable experience to help bridge the gap between research and society and mediate mutual learning and cooperation processes. By engaging different groups and organizations in dialogue reflects the idea of responsiveness and diversity. The research question development is based on anticipation, reflection, adaptation and reflectivity.


1.2   Objective

To include public participation in research.


1.3   Structure

General Structure: Single Event


1.4   Duration

Main Event Duration: one day

Project Duration: Repeated indefinitely, i.e. it can be a single event, or it can be done several times a year depending on the needs.

2.1    Staff & Volunteers

Volunteer Requirements: Core team to organize the event, a supervisor and a researcher/student.


2.2    Venue Hire

Venue: Venue: indoors

Capacity: 1-20 people

If done in collaboration with a larger scale science event (festival etc), the Science Shop should be appropriately located within. The shop itself could consist of a stand with a table and some chairs. If possible, distributing freebies i.e. pens, pencil cases and notepads to give away as freebies, will always be helpful in regards to attracting the public’s attention and maintaining engagement.


2.3    Partner Institutions

Partner Institutions: Not required

Although the Science Shop can be done independently, it would be of great benefit to have the support of an institution or within a science festival set up.


2.4    Budget

Yearly / Project Budget: 1001€ – 5000€

Budget Point Details Event Cost
Personnel Fees
  • Only the core organizing team is required.
  • Supervisor and researcher/student (voluntary).
Venue Hire
  • Ideally, the Science Shop would happen within the context of a major event so it would not be necessary to hire a venue.
  • It could be possible to hire a stand within a major event. The cost would vary from place to place.
Marketing Open invitation through specialized websites and social media. 0€
Materials Notepads, pens and printed material to give away. 0–100€
    No catering needed, although it would be nice to offer a coffee when you invite the client to your office.
Total 1000–1200€

3.1   Target Audience

Target Audience: Younger Adults (26–45) / Older Adults (46–64) / Pensioners (65+)

The activity will be connected to a specific event and all visitors will be asked to express their requests, needs and concerns. This may include citizens & local associations, researchers and scientists, local experts, students, policy makers, administration and civil servants, technical experts, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), business people.


3.2   Marketing

It would be helpful to use official social media accounts in order to make proper publicity. It is encouraged to have direct contact with high-influence profiles that could share the event information.


3.3   Dialogic Strategy

It is encouraged to keep the atmosphere informal, and to be clear with the topic you are opening to the public. Be open with the invitation to express concerns and further questions about the topic.

4.1   Project Timeline

Time Activity
Months in advance
  • Contact the researchers and the students willing to listen.
  • Contacting participants to confirm their availability
Weeks in advance
  • Marketing and social media strategy
On the day
  • Purchasing refreshments and stand set up.


4.2   Single Event Structure

Time Activity
10 mins
  • Introduce the idea of the Science Shop methodology and its possible impact in the local community, emphasizing the chance to express research needs, concerns or requests.
15 mins
  • Presenting the topic to the public and the researchers.
20 mins
  • Find out the “question behind the question”, check what information or hypotheses the persons asking the question may already have.
10 mins
  • Get the contact information of the people that are raising their questions.
30 mins
  • Share and discuss with the team and contact the person or association that raised the question to give them feedback.


4.3   Personnel roles

Person Activity
Core Team
  • Arrive at the major event an hour in advance to set up the stand and any needed equipment.
Supervisor and researcher/student
  • Should arrive 15 minutes in advance.


4.4   Materials

Aside from the basic equipment provided by the venue (projector, microphones and chairs), there are no particular materials required.


4.5   Other Logistics

Additional needs may include refreshments for the audience.

Science Shops’ methodology transfers requests from community groups to research organisations. Thus, the event allows many important and pertinent social, political and ethical questions to be raised with regards to a determined topic of your selection. You can discuss with people how innovation is encouraged, and about who is involved in the research process. Science Shops as a way of transferring knowledge are innovative and effective and have a positive impact both on research and on civil society. They mediate between citizens or citizen groups and research institutions. Many Science Shops have structural links to universities and use the work of students under appropriate supervision to respond to the needs of civil society (mostly NGOs). This provides a symbiotic relationship between these two communities.

The basic evaluation strategy is to conduct a survey at the end of the event or via e-mail. The questions should address their perceptions of the session.
The marketing strategy needs to be evaluated as well through software analytics: how many followers do you have on social media, how many interactions, how many times did the hashtag appear, etc.

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Cite this Activity

Martin, D., & Wootton , B. (2021, January 06). Pop-Up Science Shop. Retrieved from http://steamexperiments.com/activity/pop-up-science-shop/

First published: January 6, 2021
Last modified: January 6, 2021

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