Team:UGent Belgium/Engagement

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Education and public engagement


We undertook and are still undertaking several activities to inspire and sensitize people for our project. The dewpal project was discussed on several seminars and multiple press articles have been released in different countries. Dewpal has proven to be an accessible topic, inspiring people of all ages all around the world.

Education

Although dewpal has awoken interest in people of all ages, we have chosen to focus our educational activities on young people like high school and university students. Our goal was to increase interest in synthetic biology and biotechnology and persuade the youth to pursue a future in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM). Because dewpal is such a social project, it has convinced students that it is possible to change the world with biotechnology. Getting water out of thin air by combining proteins and 3D design has illustrated that simple solutions can be obtained by creatively combining small parts of scientific knowledge and knowhow.

Furthermore, we discussed our project with several academic experts in the various fields involved to improve our project and to help us with several aspects. Besides communication of our project and results to peers and the scientific community, we also discussed responsible innovation and research.

The dewpal project has been discussed on several seminars and has been presented in multiple lectures listed below.

Seminars

  • Synthetic Biology KUL April 15 2016
  • Kick-off event Center of Synthetic Biology Ghent University September 16 2016
  • PhD seminars October 17 2016 on the faculty of Bioscience engineering of UGent


Lectures

  • Biological databases (Prof. Van Criekinge): student projects proposals (1st Master of Bioinformatics UGent)
  • Predictive modelling (Michiel Stock): introduction into dewpal technology (2nd Master of Bioinformatics UGent)

Public engagement

Apart from discussions with colleagues and students who gave us interesting input, ideas and feedback about the advantages and possible pitfalls of our project, we also spread the word about our project in other circles of the society.

Dewpal has proven to be a very relatable project, interesting and inspiring people all over the world. The concept of what we are trying to do has been mentioned in our university’s newsletter, facebook page and twitter page. It was also mentioned and discussed in several (inter)national media, both specialized and popular.

Public anouncements have been made in


Of course we’ve sent regular updates on our own Twitter and Facebook page, keeping our followers up-to-date on what we are doing. We made a movie illustrating our project in an easy way, making it possible for non scientists to comprehend what we are trying to achieve and how we aim to do it.

Statistics

  • Number of Vimeo views: 650
  • Number of Facebook likes: 313
  • Number of Twitter followers: 79

Some reactions

Although the debate has not fully gotten of the ground yet, both encouraging as sceptical reactions have been received.

Sircier -

This is some really nice work. I hope this thing can get mass produced and save tons of lives. The article mentions the use of a protein; hopefully, this doesn't limit the mass production possibilities.

Piltoverian -

The fogstand beetle from which this technique seems to be derived can survive this way because both their wings are able to extract water from the air. I would assume a human needs more than something bottle cap sized to stay properly hydrated.

Christiaan Coppens -

An initiative that is not only genious, but of the utmost importance, not only for the elementary needs of human beings, but even for world peace!

Gunter Flossie -

Awesome invention. Just wondering though is the resulting pure water condensate fit for consumption?

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