Public Engagement

 

At India Alliance, we believe that a society that understands and participates in science is better equipped to meet present and future challenges; therefore, through our Public Engagement programmes we engage with various stakeholders on matters of science and health. 

India Alliance aims to bridge the gap between science and society by funding and anchoring public engagement programmes that bring the scientific community and the public together to share, debate, and deliberate on important matters of science, especially human health, which have implications for the society. India Alliance also regularly organises Science Communication workshops to enable scientists to be more effective communicators when writing for or speaking to their peers or the general public.     

 

India Alliance offers funding to its Fellows and other researchers and public engagement practitioners in India who are interested in exploring creative and novel method (s) to engage with the public on biomedical research.

This funding aims to enable the applicant to develop and implement ideas to share, deliberate and collaborate with members of the society on biomedical science and/or public health matters.

Who can apply:Anyone can apply. However, preference will be given to biomedical researchers who plan to collaborate with individuals in other disciplines, such as the creative arts, medical humanities, social sciences, science or health communication, community engagement, entertainment media etc.

The applicant must be affiliated with a government-recognised, not-for-profit organisation at the time of application and for the entire duration of the proposed Public Engagement project.

Applicant would need to ensure they have sufficient expertise to devise and implement the project or ensure they have suitable collaborators who will be contributing appropriately to the project. For e.g, if you are not a researcher, include a science researcher (s) or subject expert in the area of the proposal or a health professional in your team.

Funding: up to INR 10 Lakhs

For more details on this funding, download Funding Guidelines here. To apply for Public Engagement Funding, complete the application form and send it to [email protected]

 

Public Engagement programmes organised and supported by India Alliance:

In line with its mission to make scientific research accessible and people-centered, India Alliance has organised and funded various public engagement projects that proposed to develop novel and creative methods and tools to engage with the public and in the process empower researchers to communicate and engage with the public more effectively. Here's a list of public engagement programmes anchored and supported by India Alliance over the years.

Unseen: India Alliance in partnership with Manovikas Kendra organised a public engagement event about mental ability that used instruments of theatre, cinema, and interactive sessions. click here to read the full report.

Evolution of the Human Mind (2013-14; multiple cities): India Alliance organised its first Public Lecture Series in 2013-14 titled “Evolution of the Human Mind”. Seven invited speakers delivered 12 lectures at different intellectual forums in 8 cities across the country. Speakers for ‘Evolution of the Human Mind’ Public Lecture Series included: Prof Carelvan Schaik (University of Zurich, Switzerland), Prof Thomas Metzinger (Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany), Prof Tetsuro Matsuzawa (Director of the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University, Japan), Prof Andrew Meltzoff(Co-Director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA), Prof Patricia Kuhl (Co- Director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA),Dr Nicholas Humphrey (University of Cambridge, UK),and Prof Ajit Varki (Glycobiology Research and Training Center, University of California, San Diego, USA). A short report on these lectures can be found here.

[email protected] Public Lecture Series (2014-15; multiple cities): India Alliance celebrated the discovery of DNA as a hereditary molecule through a series of public lectures in various cities. The public lectures were given by Prof W Ian Lipkin (Center for Infection and Immunity, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, USA), Prof Nadrian Seeman(Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor of Chemistry, New York University, USA), Dr Karen Nelson (President, J Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, USA) and Prof Shankar Balasubramanian (University of Cambridge, UK). A short report on these lectures can be found here.

Voices for Cancer – YOUR role in prevention

India Alliance organised a panel discussion in partnership with RTI International India and Public Health Foundation of India at Miranda House, University of Delhi, on 17 February 2015, with the aim to inform and encourage students to play a role in cancer prevention- to discuss how we can bridge the gap between the public and their access to key health information on cancer, how effective communication and public engagement can remove the stigma attached to it and finally, how different stakeholders and most importantly the audience (the public!) could play an important role in cancer prevention. Click here to read the report.

 

Bodystorm Hits Bangalore

India Alliance supported Intermediate Fellow (2010), Dr. Mukund Thattai (NCBS, Bengaluru), for his public engagement project titled ‘Bodystorm hits Bangalore’ - a unique creative collaboration between dancers and scientists, where each of them helped inform the other’s practice – the scientist got three-dimensional insights into their scientific problem through the physicality of dance whereas the dancers improvised on scientific structures to create new art. The process and outputs of this unique collaboration were open to the public. Click here to read the project report.

Voices for Health

Voices for Health was a year-long Public Engagement initiative of the India Alliance and was implemented with technical support from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). This series was an effort aimed at engaging people and communities to better understand public health and to educate them about key determinants of emergent heath issues. This initiative was planned as a series of public engagement events that brought together biomedical researchers with policy makers, medical doctors, social scientists, health workers, media and other stakeholders to talk about important health issues. Each event focused on a public health topic of contemporary interest. The series also aimed to demystify science and myths, disseminate latest health research and share perspectives of experts and people. Through this series various issues were explored using art, public discussions, theatre, public surveys in different India cities. Find below a list of events organised as part of Voices for Health series.

 

1) Rise of the deadly superbugs- How can we respond?

1 March 2016, Saptparni, Hyderabad

A public discussion that explored the socio-cultural, economic, environmental, scientific and medical dimensions of the problem of antibiotic resistance and suggested strategies on how key stakeholders can come together to spread awareness. here to read a short report on this programme.

 

2) The Vaidya’s Oath

29 June 2016, India International Centre, New Delhi

A play around the theme of antibiotic resistance developed and performed by Jagriti Theatre. Read a short report on the programme here.

 

3) Let’s Talk Cancer in the North East

March-July 2016, State Convention Centre, Shillong, Meghalaya

A public discussion highlighted and deliberated on the growing incidence of cancer in India and particularly in the North Eastern states. A short report on this event can be accessed here.

 

4) #OurEnvironmentOurHealth

September- March 2016

School Art Workshops Happy Hands Foundation organized Puppet Shows and traditional Indian “Patua” art workshops at various government and private schools to sensitise students about environmental health issues.

Undergraduate college Workshops Researchers from Centre for Environmental Health at PHFI organized interactive workshops at various colleges in New Delhi where they talked about EH issues and encouraged students to think of possible solutions.

Read more about these workshops here.

Public event around air pollution- Puppet shows, street theatre, meet-the-expert and informational stalls. Read more about the public event here.

A project report published on Mesh can be accessed here and watch a short video of the project here.

 

5) Mental Health Begins with ME

6-10 October 2016, New Delhi

The PRIDE team at Sangath installed an interactive mixed-media games stall and information booth on mental health at an Indian Festival grounds. They also produced and distributed pocket-friendly mental health comic, conducted surveys to understand attitudes towards mental health and organised performances by organizations working with performing arts and youth including theatre, music and sports. Find out more about this event here and watch a short film here.

 

The Undivided Mind I Art & Science Residency

India Alliance supported Art and Science residency programme at Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi in 2016 & 2018. The programme promoted dialogue between artists and scientists and enabled participating artists to explore scientific concepts, phenomena and technology through contemporary art practice. Read more about this programme here. The selected residents for programs were: Tyska Samborska (Poland), Gagan Singh (India), Johanna Schmeer (Germany), Mohan Polamar & Vivek Muthuramalingam (India) Alexey Buldakov (Russia), and Sonia Khurana (India).

Visualising Science

On 30-31 March 2017, India Alliance in partnership with Nature India and National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi organised "Visualising Science", a first-of-its-kind event in India, where scientists and science enthusiasts got a chance to engage with visual artists to learn and discuss methods that can make communicating science more interesting and effective. The two-day event also included a photo exhibition of top entries from Nature India Photo Contest. Read a brief report of this workshop here.

 

IT’S OK TO TALK: Engaging with young people about mental health

India Alliance supported public event It’s Ok To Talk, organised by the PRIDE team at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in Delhi on 8 April 2017, intended to open up space for a dialogue on young people’s mental health issues in India. This event was part of a larger mental health campaign by the PRIDE team, #ItsOkBaatKaro which aims to enable young people to share their expressions on mental health and fight the stigma.

We are pleased to note that ItsOkToTalk has now transformed into national mental health campaign. Find out more about this programme here: www.itsoktotalk.in/

 

India Alliance at the 5th Bharatiya Vigyan Sammelan and Expo

The India Alliance participated at the “5th Bharatiya Vigyan Sammelan (Indian Science Conclave) and Expo” which was held at Fergusson college, Pune from 11-14 May 2017. This public event is a flagship program of Vijnana Bharati “initiated as a vehicle to reach the masses in the pursuit of popularizing science and technology and to facilitate interactions within common people and scientific fraternity” and is organised every two year in different Indian cities. Theme of this year’s sammelan was Confluence of traditional and modern sciences: A new integral vision for development. The event saw participation from various research organisations, universities, grass root innovators, students, artisans etc from around the country. The science displays, talks, panel discussions and over 400 research papers that were presented at around 40 parallel sessions during the expo were around the broad themes of life sciences, earth sciences, astronomy, archaeology, technology, science of performing arts etc. The event also showcased key achievements of various government bodies such as DBT, DST, CSIR, DRDO, ICMR etc. The event provided a valuable opportunity to India Alliance to showcase their research and related activities and engage with various public groups about biomedical research.

 

Resistance is Futile – Virtual Reality Gameplay

As part of the Eyemyth Media Arts Festival, UnBox organized a Virtual Reality (VR) workshop from 16-20 August in Mumbai that was attended by scriptwriters, concept artists, 3D artists, game developers, sound designers and creative technologist from around the country. Participants worked in teams to create next generation VR content culminating in a public showcase with experts and industry leaders. India Alliance supported the development of the concept “Resistance is Futile”, an immersive virtual reality experience that places the viewer as a fighting-ready antibiotic inside the body of a patient to see how medication affects the microorganisms inside humans. The gameplay teaches players about the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance and the impending health crisis facing the world. The game targets 10-16 year olds who as tomorrow citizens needs to be aware of the impending dangers of a future antibiotic resistance crisis and was created to be used as an educational tool. The scientific background for the game was provided to us by Richa Mishra, PhD student in the group of India Alliance, Dr. Amit Singh at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. In the process the participants themselves became more aware of the problem of antibiotic resistance and the concept development process further inspired them to spread the knowledge. With additional funding for development and distribution, the game will be taken to more schools, adapted into different languages, and have its gameplay extended for maximum accessibility.

 

Public talk by Artist and Mathematician Jean-Marc Castera

Jean-Marc Castera, an artist, mathematician and author and a renowned expert on Islamic Geometric Art, gave a public talk at National Centre for Cell Science, Pune on 26 August 2017. Jean-Marc Castera’s talk described non-periodic patterns in traditional geometric art, quasicrystals and architecture, and explored the connections between them. Castera’s talk strikingly demonstrated the interesting threads that link diverse disciplines like the arts, mathematics, science and architecture. The talk was supported by India Alliance.

 

The Undivided Mind: Edition III: Art + Science Program

The third edition of the Unidivided Mind, yet again attempted to bridge the gap between the discursive fields of art and science through artistic investigation of concepts of science, health and technology. The Art + Science program aims to promote a dialogue between artists and scientific concepts, phenomena and technology through practice.

Instituted by Khoj International Artists’ Association and supported by the India Alliance, the Art + Science programme is designed to advance projects that explore artistic applications of emerging thoughts and technologies with the help of partners from the scientific industry and academia. The third edition of the Art + Science Grant funded a small number of projects that engaged emerging themes around science and technology. The grant consisted of a six-month research and development period culminated into a four-week residency and Open Studio at Khoj Studios on 29 March 2018. During the research period, the selected artists interacted with scientists, which further helped them refine their ideas and direction of the project. The selected residents for programs were: Darya Warner and Puneet Kishore; Sonia Mehra Chawla; Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Goutam Ghosh, and Susanne Winterling; and Tulika Aasma, Kaushal Sapre and Abhinav Gupta. Find out more about this programme here.

Women in Science series

India Alliance supported the Life of Science (TLoS), a media project that aims to highlight the work and challenges faced by women scientists in India and to showcase them as role models for young girls. During 2017-18, The Life of Science team featured around 30 India Alliance women Fellows and their research through writing pieces, photo features, comic strips, podcasts etc. on their website and on other popular media channels.

 

The Actor Doctor Project

India Alliance supported India’s first Public Health Theatre Festival implemented by Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The project used theatre arts to initiate a two-way learning process between distinct yet connected fields of social and scientific enquiry and to make health research more accessible to the public.

Read the project report here and watch a short video of this programme here .

 

Superheroes against Superbugs

Superheroes against Superbugs (SaS) is a unique programme supported by India Alliance that partnered with school children to sensitize the public about the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections in India through creative method such as grassroots comics. The project was highlighted by the World Health Organisation and was selected as one of the two AMR pioneer projects for the 2 nd AMR Call to Action Meeting in Accra, Ghana.

Find out more about this project here .

 

Arting Health for Impact

Arting Health for Impact is an international collaborative public engagement partnership between Botswana (Infers Group PTY Ltd), South Africa (Interfer PTY Ltd) and India (Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance) and funded by Wellcome Trust in the UK and India Alliance. The project in India was led by India Alliance in collaboration with George Institute for Global Health India, Happy Hands Foundation and Lalit Kala Akademy, Chandigarh.

The project united artists, biomedical practitioners, NGOs and communities in the co- creation of health-focused street art installations that inspire the public, trigger social dialogue, challenge science and the community and unpack scientific concepts in a unique and thought provoking way.

Read more about this project here .

 

Explorer Series (ongoing)

To commemorate its tenth year anniversary, the India Alliance launched a public science talk series—The Explorer Series—that saw the participation of around 500 college students at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on 12th November 2018. This series has been specially designed to expose and inspire the young to the excitement and value of science and will move nation-wide this year to celebrate science.

Watch the talks from the first part of this series here .

Women in Science Calendar & International Day of Women and Science in Girls in Science

The India Alliance, with a commitment to encourage diversity and inclusivity in the Indian research ecosystem, celebrated International Day of Women and Science in Girls in Science by hosting public talks at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, New Delhi and launching a specially curated 2019 Women in Science calendar. The calendar features 13 Indian women scientists from various fields, including two India Alliance Fellows.

Read a brief event report here. Download the calendar from this link.

 

Tackling Unwanted Guests in the Brain: Encephalitis awareness for school children

India Alliance supported the public engagement programme of IA Fellow, Dr. Chitra Pattabiraman (NIMHANS, Bengaluru). The event organised in collaboration with The Encephalitis Society, UK engaged with young children about encephalitis using innovative games and story-telling.

 

LGBTI Public Health Symposium

A two-day national symposium on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Health at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh on 9-10 March 2019 highlighted issues related to LGBTI health policies, health of LGBTI people and their access to health care. Dr Venkatesan Chakrapani, India Alliance Senior Fellow, PGIMER, was the convenor of this symposium. Find details and key recommendations from the symposium here.

 

India Science Media Fellowship

India Alliance in partnership with Nature India launched the India Science Media Fellowships 2019. These are dedicated fellowships aimed at encouraging the coverage of science in Indian media to ultimately improve public’s understanding and engagement with science. Find out more about this initiative here.

Click here to see the first batch of Fellowship Awardees.