News: Plant biology uncovered
The scientific outreach project Secret life of a plant biologist launches its website
The project Secret life of a plant biologist was born with the idea of bringing science and citizens closer from a human dimension, giving voice to the researchers and making them more accessible to the general public. With the launch of the website, this week concludes the productive part of the project, but its dissemination still has a long way to go.
According to a 2016’s survey by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), 33.4% of Spaniards believe that the cultivation of genetically modified plants has more disadvantages than benefits, despite scientific evidence of the safety of transgenic crops. With this figure in mind, the challenge faced by the project was clear: to give a realistic view of plant research and break with its associated stereotypes.
To do so, a multidisciplinary and international team has collaborated to generate a photographic exhibition, audio-visual footage and a webpage, three highly versatile and easily accessible products. The team, led by post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) Michela Osnato, consists of researchers and personnel specialized in science dissemination from the CRAG, a photographer, an illustrator and a creative studio.
The photographic exhibition narrates the daily life of young PhD students and post-doctoral researchers working at CRAG, who have been captured in two different scenes: their role as plant scientists at work, and their most personal aspect in the free time, helping to take science out of its ivory tower. At the moment, the pictures have been exhibited at the Pati Llimona Civic Centre and at the Residència d’Investigadors, they are expected to be shown at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and they are available for display in schools.
On the other hand, the audio-visual footage gathers a series of interviews to plant biologists of different nationalities and formation stages talking about their research projects and the most frequent prejudices to which they have been exposed, such as experimentation with genetically modified organisms. These videos delve into the myths and truths of plant research by professionals working in this field.
Finally, the newly launched webpage gathers the photographs, videos and interviews produced during the project and makes them available to the public. This platform is an interactive portal dedicated to the world of plant biotechnology, and contributes to promote scientific culture by bringing research and researchers closer to society.
In parallel, the development and results of the project have been shared through social networks (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), mobilizing an active and involved community that will continue to grow thanks to the travelling photographic exhibition and the interaction trough the website and the social media.
About the financing of the project
The Secret life of a plant biologist project has been funded by the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FCT-17-12694) and by the Programa Severo Ochoa de Centros de Excelencia en R&D 2016-2019 (SEV-2015-0533), both granted by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.