The institutes have held a variety of open days, some of these being organised in the framework of initiatives such as Madrid Science Week and the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The public get a chance to see the laboratories in which IMDEA researchers work, can meet the researchers and discover at first-hand what their daily work comprises.
The IMDEA institutes were created to facilitate excellence in science by and for society. They are aware that it is not enough just to do it well but also to show the public what they do. With this in mind, one of the important aspects of IMDEA institutes’ work since their foundation has been to open their doors to the public and participate in a range of initiatives with the aim of spreading knowledge of science, this latter in collaboration with the madrimasd Foundation.
European Researchers’ Night in Madrid
Activities organised within the European Project known as the European Researchers’ Night in Madrid, in which the institutes have been participating for more than a decade, seek to break down the stereotypes often held by the public about the figure of the researcher. Several IMDEA institutes take part in this project both individually and in collaboration.
From the first issue of Why I am a Scientist in 2010 until the latest 2021 initiative “What do you do to improve the Earth?”, initiatives have been undertaken to support public understanding of the work of an investigator or researcher, demonstrating the relevance of their activities for society as a whole. The aim is to break down barriers and enable people to see that the reality of a scientist and his or her work is quite different from the image often held, of someone who only has a focus for whatever is going on in their laboratory whereas in reality they are people with a desire to show their work to others and to work hard to support their contribution, that they have an immense curiosity to continue learning and contribute to people having longer, safer and more comfortable lives. In other words they are people young people can admire and emulate.
Awareness in schools
IMDEA institutes have on a number of occasions undertaken joint projects organised within the Schools Awareness Initiative, a scientific exhibition in which learning and research centres collaborate to demonstrate their work.
Madrid Science and Innovation Exhibition
In 2019 and 2021 IMDEA institutes participated in the Madrid Science and Innovation Exhibition, organised by IFEMA (Feria de Madrid). This initiative, coordinated by the madrimasd Foundation for Knowledge, comprised more than twenty workshops in which visitors could use their hands and their brain to create science and innovate. There were almost one hundred researchers from the IMDEA institutes who demonstrated simple scientific experiments and explained complex investigation results in relation to projects and ideas which help improve people’s lives.
Ultimately, participating in initiatives to educate the public about science and the people who dedicate themselves to science is in the DNA of the IMDEA institutes. Thus, institute researchers will continue to carry out what they have done up to now: responding enthusiastically to proposals which enable them to get closer to the public.