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Agora Projects: the Swiss National Science Foundation funds two USI proposals

Benediktinerkloster St. Johann im Val Müstair - Photo by Di Wladyslaw Sojka, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2260815
Benediktinerkloster St. Johann im Val Müstair - Photo by Di Wladyslaw Sojka, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2260815

Institutional Communication Service

30 May 2022

Two projects proposed by USI will be funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) under Agora Projects. They are "The convent, the mortar piece and the building site: An incredible adventure among geology, history and archaeology " presented by  Dr. Silvia De Ascaniis  and Professor Lorenzo Cantoni, and SOLE presented by the "Aldo and Cele Daccò" Locarno Solar Research Institute (IRSOL).

For the 11th Agora, the Swiss National Science Foundation selected 25 project proposals out of 61 submitted for just over 4.7 million francs, equivalent to a success rate of 41 per cent. Of the funded projects, 52 per cent were in the social sciences and the humanities, 24 per cent in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, and 24 per cent in biology and medicine.

Two projects proposed by USI researchers are among the winning projects. Here is their description.

The focus of the project "The convent, the mortar piece and the building site: An incredible adventure among geology, history and archaeology" is the Convent of St. John in Müstair. This medieval building site has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Specifically, the interactive travelling exhibition aims to make disciplines such as archaeology, geology and materials science more accessible to the public and promote public awareness and interest in science and specific disciplines in particular. The is presented by  Dr. Silvia De Ascaniis and Professor Lorenzo Cantoni, who at USI presides over the UNESCO chair in ICT for the development and promotion of sustainable tourism in world heritage sites.

The SOLE project aims to create new opportunities for IRSOL to connect and communicate with the public in the Canton of Ticino, where the observatory has been operating since 1960. The topic is fascinating from many points of view and creates many opportunities to meet and interact about the sun and the related scientific research. The scientific expertise of IRSOL, combined with the teaching and communication skills of L'ideatorio - and the collaboration of many other partners in the region -will ensure that the project will reach a broad audience, including non-specialists.

SNSF support for science outreach

The SNSF's Agora programme aims to promote dialogue between science and society. Projects have a maximum duration of three years and are eligible for funding up to 200,000 francs. Applications are evaluated in a competitive process by an international committee of scientists and experts in science communication. Agora projects always target non-specialised audiences of all age groups. Still, they also appeal to a more targeted audience, addressing actors who play a crucial role in society, such as politicians, social workers or teachers in mandatory schools.