The training of the first eight teachers (from Lisbon, Oeiras and Sintra) took place, on the 9th and 10th of May, at the Collaborative Center of the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Participants will now incorporate Lab in a Suitcase into their educational and scientific research activities. In the beginning of this initiative, 2 kits will be available for loan, for periods of time ranging from 1 to 2 weeks.
Lab in a Suitcase is a low-cost, portable, and easy-to-maintain experimental kit. Gathering equipment that allows carrying out molecular and cellular biology experiments, with several of these components being open licensing systems. It was developed with the aim of democratizing science through training and access to science independently of pre-existing infrastructure.
During the two days of training, secondary and university teachers, developed practical activities in molecular and field biology and sessions about open science. By zoom, the 10 scientists from Portuguese-speaking African Countries participated, with a roundtable, who have also received and are already using the Lab in a Suitcase kit in their research and teaching practice in their countries of origin. This interaction was crucial for sharing experiences and creating a sense of community available to support each other in the future.
Teachers’ testimonies about training reveal its impact:
– “The training, through the manipulation of the various instruments included in the bag and the development of some activities that exemplify their use, reinforced the added value of their use in the classroom context in order to make science teaching more experimental. It was also important to share ideas with researchers (from the PALOP countries) who already use the suitcase.”
– The testimonial panel of the first people to use the LiS kit was, for the group of teachers “very interesting”, “very motivating”, “Stimulating, it opens the horizons regarding the different possibilities of using the suitcase components.” In addition to being “very useful for understanding the scope of use of the suitcase.”
Lab in a Suitcase is a project that was born in 2019, by the hand of IGC researchers and with the aim of promoting scientific knowledge. It brought together two important partners, the Merck Family Foundation and the Municipality of Oeiras, in the pursuit of a joint mission: sceince democratization. In 2020 it began to take shape with the development and testing of the equipment and protocols it incorporates. In 2021, 10 researchers from Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde and São Tomé, were trained culminating in the award of the Social Responsibility award (Os Melhores & As Maiores do Portugal Tecnológico, Exame Informática).
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