Team:NOVA LxPortugal/Communication

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Education & Communication

Information, awareness, and action: through a robust engagement strategy based on these 3 pillars, our aim is to inform a wider audience about the various aspects surrounding marine microplastic accumulation, on a spectrum encompassing both local and international initiatives. P(L)AST – the Ocean Cleaner of the Future – is much more than just a scientific project; as such, we have been continuously nourishing and expanding our network, allowing our voice to reach an ever-growing audience.

Social Media

The importance of social media is uncanny these days even if we are talking about science which perhaps can be deemed as strange. As we evolve towards a more connected online world, communicating science is becoming more of a need than a niche. Science guides the fundamental issues that the world faces and undoubtedly offers the most reasonable solutions. So, if we want to talk about microplastics, their effects, their accumulation and how bad they might impact human race, social media gives the right platform to generate buzz and discussion.

Our team focused on having a running Instagram page not only to share our findings, our work and our team but also to raise awareness via articles and quizzes on the topic. In our Instagram highlights you can see some of the news we shared. One of the most shocking news we found was that microplastics were found in the placentas of unborn babies, a fact that describes an awful reality. We also found that even penguins in Antarctica were affected and had microplastics in them. The need for a change is crucial.

In our social media you can also see the partnerships that we managed to achieve and the crowdfunding campaign. Both of them were fundamental to our work. On the one hand, a handful of powerful insights were produced by our collaborations and on the other we raised some money for our project. This helps us a lot by guiding us and providing for us. Finally, in order to change mentalities and open horizons, we produced content to engage with the audience. Our little presentations helped humanize science and give a face to our cause which holds the key for the necessary change. Do not forget to check our page and you’ll find some nice tips to change our habits regarding plastics!

Community Event: "Conversas com Investigadores"

With the purpose of reaching out to the average population, a handful of members, including the secondary PI of our team, participated in an investigators/community event (2021 European Researchers' Night), where she exposed our iGEM project to high school students, what it consists of, what are our perspectives, as well as presenting all the work we had been doing throughout the year. Hopefully, our iGEM team can add up some high school students next year.

Educating the Younger Generations

On the 15th of October, three members of the iGEM NOVA_LxPortugal Team conducted, on the São Martinho do Porto Elementary School, a sensibilization activity on the issue of microplastics and the excessive use of plastics.

This activity’s main objective was to inform the young students of the microplastics’ issue and the excessive use of plastics through demonstration and explanation of possible solutions for these problems, thus promoting the interest of the students and developing a critical and creative spirit.

A simple and short presentation was made followed by demonstrations to illustrate concepts like bioaccumulation or to show how one can modulate the density of an aqueous solution, using salts, to promote the separation of different substances (like rocks and eggs).

Take a look at the pictures taken at this activity below.

As a follow up task, we encouraged the young students to produce art pieces related to the topic of our activity, and this is what they made.