Strategies for citizen engagement in science communication

Strategies for citizen engagement in science communication

  • Lecturer(s) or Responsible(s): Cristina Luís (CIUHCT-FCUL) and Patrícia Tiago (cE3c-FCUL)
  • Department Responsible: Departamento de Biologia Animal, Departamento de História e Filosofia das Ciências
  • Data: July 3rd, 2023 to July 7th, 2023
  • Deadline for Applications: June 9th, 2023
  • Duration: 36 hours (contact hours)
  • Schedule: 10h00-13h00 and 14h30-17h30 Monday and Friday; 9h00-13h00 and 14h30-18h30 Tuesday to Thursday
  • Nº (min, max) Students: 8-20
  • Location: Room 2216-Building C2-Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande 1749-016 Lisboa



Engagement with science is usually presented as a dialogue or participation model in which scientists and non-scientists both benefit from listening to and learning from one another, generating mutual benefit. Citizen science is part of this larger process of engaging non-scientists in new forms of interaction with scientific research, challenging scientists and non-scientists whilst enlarging scientific knowledge and providing learning opportunities for all parties involved. These diverse interactions require innovative forms of multiway science communication.

This course aims to explore ways of communicating science to non-specialized audiences, such as policy makers, industry, general public (including students and teachers), through their engagement and participation in citizen science activities.

The course will particularly address co-creation as an effective tool to design, organise, implement and analyse the impact of public engagement in science activities. By the end of the course, students should be able to select and develop engaging initiatives to communicate scientific results and ideas.

Learning outcomes and competences:

At the end of the course, participants should be familiar with the challenges of science engagement at different levels:

  • Reaching several audiences, particularly those who usually don’t interact with science;
  • Develop an understanding of what can make written and visual communication more effective;
  • Selection of the best tools and channels to improve communication and dissemination;
  • Strategies to increase participation and facilitate engagement and dialogue with the audience.
  • Strategies to further strengthen engagement in science to counter disinformation and to adapt to evolving threats and manipulations

Participants have to be present at 85% of the contact hours (this means that they can miss one half-day), and actively participate in all activities. 

This course can have recognition of 6 ECTs for FCUL PhD students enrolling in it as part of their first doctoral year. For FCUL PhD students only requiring 5 ECTs recognized in their specific PhD programs the last 3.5 hours of the course are not mandatory and the certificate will be on ‘Topics in Strategies for citizen engagement in science communication'. For FCUL PhD students requiring credits additionally to the exercises done during the week the delivery of a written report done after the course is mandatory. Students getting 6 ECTs have also to deliver a summary report. The reports must be delivered two weeks after the course. Such report(s) are also advised for other students requesting creditation of the course in their institutions.

Minimum formation: we require only curiosity about science communication, and interest in learning more about citizen science activities.

Directed to: For (but not limited to) PhD or Master students and Postdocs in any scientific area, as well as other professionals interested in this topic

General Plan

Note: This course will be online

General plan

Several examples of engagement initiatives, including citizen science projects, will be used across the course as examples on how to better engage several audiences with science and on how to improve the way science communication is performed. Both online and offline science communication will be explored through co-creation processes, using a design thinking approach. Alongside the barriers, challenges and opportunities to improve engagement in science communication will also be explored, as well as the analysis of the impact of the strategies to engage citizens in science communication.

Course contents:

  1. Engagement and Participation

Explore strategies to increase citizen engagement in science communication, the importance of continued dialogue and how can these improve and maintain participation.

  1. Effective Written Messages

The steps to write engaging and informative messages for different audiences.

  1. The Power of Images and Sounds

How to produce engaging images, videos, infographics and audio pieces and what communication and digital tools can be used.

  1. Amusement and Emotion in Communicating Science

Showing how science can be seriously communicated while having fun through humor, games, performing arts, or science fairs and other events.


Students fees.




Free for 1st year PhD students in  Doctoral programmes  at FCUL (e.g. Biologia, History and Philosophy of Sciences), Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution (BIODIV UL; UP), Biology and Ecology of Global Changes (BEAG UL, UA) and Sustainability Science (UL, several institutions), when the course counts credits for their formation, in which case the delivery of a final report done after the course is mandatory; the course is also free for more advanced PhD students of the BIODIV programme (ULisboa or UPorto); 30 € for more advanced PhD students of cE3c of other programmes; 60 € for PhD students of the PEERS network (CFE); 105 € for FCUL Master students and unemployed; 160 € for BTI, BI and other PhD students; 230 € for Professional and postdocs.

When the maximum number of students is reached, 10 vacancies will be available for non-paying 1st year PhD students mentioned above, being, by order of preference students from:1) cE3c; 2) CIUHT; 3) BIODIV (not from cE3c); 4) FCUL (not from cE3c or CIUHCT); 4) Sustainability Science (not from cE3c or FCUL); 5) BEAG (not from cE3c or FCUL).

How to apply

Candidates should fill in the following FORMULARY:


This formulary is strictly confidential, as explained in the introduction, and the data are required because the cE3c Advanced Courses are also offered as part of the PRR programme of FCUL.

When filling the formulary mind to:

  • UPLOAD CV AND MOTIVATION LETTER, both mandatory; use the names as instructed there
  • If you want to resume later SAVE the formulary, otherwise you will need to fill everything again
  • At the end SUBMIT the formulary before exiting

For any doubts please contact the cE3c coordinator of the cE3c courses Margarida Matos, email