ESEB Outreach Initiative

The European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) welcomes applications to the ESEB Outreach Initiative Fund for projects that promote evolution-related activities. The goal of this initiative is to improve public knowledge about evolution globally. Applications for funding will be accepted for educational initiatives that promote evolution, translation of evolutionary material (books, films, and websites) intended for a general audience, public outreach seminars, public exhibitions, etc. Please note that scientific meetings are not supported by these funds. While most projects will be financed for a sum between 1000-1500 Euro, exceptions can be made if a strong argument is provided for additional funds.

Please use the application form to submit your proposal (download application form) and note the word limits given herein.

Proposals will be accepted twice yearly (deadlines March 15 and September 15) and should be submitted by email to Ute Friedrich (Email: office@eseb.org; Subject: Outreach).

The applications will be evaluated by the Outreach Initiative Committee:
Sara Magalhães, Chair (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
Karen D. McCoy (MIVEGEC, CNRS, France)
Rhonda R. Snook (University of Sheffield, UK)
Graham Thompson (Western University, Canada)

March 2017 – Accepted Proposals

Evolution in Action – taking evolution research to the classroom
Applicant: Emily Burdfield-Steel, Finland
Funding provided: € 1100
Details

Research has shown that direct contact with scientists can improve student’s knowledge and understanding of science, as well as their interest in pursuing scientific careers. While science teaching in Finland is of a high standard, teachers still lack the time and resources to organise hands-on activities that demonstrate the process, rather than simply the outcome, of science. Evolution typically forms only a small part of the science curriculum. Our workshops allow students to engage with real scientists carrying out evolutionary research Finland. They will be based around practical activities and will promote critical thinking skills and inquiry-based learning. The workshops will allow both staff and students in the Department to develop their teaching, communication, and outreach skills. They will be run in both Finnish and English, providing outreach opportunities to non-Finnish speaking staff and students, who may otherwise struggle to engage with the local community.

Should I stay or should I go?
Applicant: José Manuel Cano, Finland
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Educational (K-12). Based on scanned data (micro-tomography and electronic microscopy) we will provide an interactive web application to visualize, and explore, evolved morphological differences in ants. Dispersal is a key factor in promoting or constraining evolutionary divergence and speciation (i.e. favouring or limiting gene flow). The goal is to introduce the public to these concepts while interacting with virtual 3D morphotypes of flying vs. non-flying ant queens. The prototype will be tested in two Finnish high-schools but will be freely available through the web.

Climate Pursuit Goes Global
Applicant: Marlene Cobben, The Netherlands
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

Climate Pursuit LogoMany species are currently changing their spatial distributions, either in a response to increasing temperatures or while invading new territories. Micro-evolution as a result of spatial sorting and founder effects are largely overlooked aspects of these distributional changes, while they can have huge impact on population dynamics, as e.g. in the cane toad as it invades the Australian continent.

In the online computer game Climate Pursuit (www.climatepursuit.com) you have to survive 100 years of warming by changing your distribution and evolve increased reproduction and dispersal capability. The game can be played in three modes: plant, rodent, and bird, each with their own rules on dispersal and effect of urban areas. The ESEB Outreach Initiative Funds allows us to translate the game into English, to reach a much bigger audience for communication and education about spatial sorting.

Darwin Day at the Museum
Applicant: Jennah Dharamshi, Sweden
Funding provided: € 500
Details

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I Encontro Alagoano de Evolução (2st Alagoas’ Meeting on Evolution)
Applicant: Grupo de Estudos Sobre Evolução Biológica (GESEB), Brazil
Funding provided: € 950
Details

Due to success of the first meeting, the Study Group of Evolutionary Biology (GESEB) will realize the 2nd Alagoas’ Meeting on Evolution in January 2018 in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil. This is a unique event about evolutionary biology, resulting of the continued effort of GESEB, a voluntary study group of evolution, created by students of a public university in Brazil in 2014. The Alagoas’ Meeting will gather researchers of national and regional importance to Brazil, local education professionals, and students. The objectives are to increase the connection between academia and society, promoting a dialogue about science and evolutionary biology teaching, philosophy, and history. There will be debates, lectures, short-term courses, and posters presentations. In order to pay attention to public schools, particularly, we will provide training for teachers on the main difficulties faced in the classroom when teaching evolution and we will suggest new teaching methods.

Evolution on the way
Applicant: Vladimir Jovanović, Serbia
Funding provided: € 1200
Details

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Understanding Evolutionary Biology for Chilean Secondary School teachers: improving teaching activities and educational material in the classroom.
Applicant: Marco A. Méndez T., Chile
Funding provided: € 1700
Details

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Teaching evolution in secondary schools: development and implementation of an educational board game.
Applicants: Dana Lucía Aguilar, Matías Baranzelli, Silvina Alejandra Córdoba, ; Andrea Cosacov, María Eugenia Drewniak, Gabriela Ferreiro, Constanza Clara Maubecin, Marcela Moré, Valeria Paiaro, Mauricio Renny, Nicolás Rocamundi, Alicia Noemí Sérsic, and Florencia Soteras, Argentina
Funding provided: € 1200
Details

The project consists of the development of a board game that incorporates the main evolutionary processes (natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow, mutation), to be implemented in the classrooms of secondary schools. The game is based on both, knowledge and hazard. The aim is to go through the different evolutionary processes without becoming extinct. It will include natural populations of several Argentinean native species. Such educational material including evolutionary concepts and native species has not been previously developed in our country. Moreover, most of the examples used for teaching evolution are based on exotic species. We believe that using an evolutionary game with native species will help to teach complex theoretical concepts with species commonly found in our natural environments, thus favoring the understanding of evolutionary processes that shape local biodiversity. The final goal of the project is both, to donate the board game to educational institutions to be used as teaching evolutionary tools, and for our regular outreach activities.

Places of Evolution
Applicant: Daniele Porretta, Italy
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

The Italian Peninsula is an hotspot of biodiversity. Outreach activities mainly consist of species lists and information about their ecology, while the processes that created that biological richness are restricted to the academic world and unknown to the general public.

The sea rock pools in the coast around the Maratea town in Southern Italy, have been the focus of research activities about micro-evolutionary processes involved in the origin of two beetle species belonging to the Ochthebius genus (O. quadricollis and O. urbanelliae). The project “Place of Evolution” aims to set up a permanent exhibition and a public outreach seminar to communicate to people the concepts of species, natural selection, hybridization and speciation by illustrating the origin of these beetle species as well as the history of the scientific adventures that have occurred in this area.

The people living in and visiting Maratea will be informed that it is a place of interest not only for its sea and cultural heritage, but also because its coasts are a “natural laboratory” where evolutionary processes have been investigated and highlighted. In prospect, this project could be replicated in other locations creating a network of places where evolution has been investigated and could be told to people.

STEB: Selected Topics in Evolutionary Biology
Applicants: Barbora Trubenova, Himani Sachdeva, Austria & Slovakia
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

Our project aims to engage high school students in Slovakia and Austria in evolutionary topics. We wish to explain how evolutionary concepts `apply’ in contexts of everyday interest, and convey the excitement of contemporary research often lacking in high school teaching.

The projects consists of  a series of 6 issues, each containing 1) a short article written in a way clear and attractive to high school students, 2) a few questions to check understanding and stimulate thinking about more complicated points 3) a short problem, experiment or activity that students can carry out at home, 4) a list of related material.

After reading the article, students complete the project and send the results to the organisers, who check the answers and send feedback along with the following issue. At the end of the series, the best students receive awards and are invited to IST Austria and shown through the Institute.

September 2016 – Accepted Proposals

An epigenetic orchestra or how music can help to understand epigenetics
Applicant: Conchita Alonso, Spain
Funding provided: € 700
Details

Music provides a unique tool for creative and ludic learning that can be shared both within and out of the classroom. The Epigenetic Orchestra Project employs music to explain how any organism could become an artist: unique, shaped by the environment where it lives, and able to innovate. We will establish parallelisms between life code (DNA) and music code at several steps (basic repetitive code, relevance of code alterations, instrument-tissue specificities, the environment as director of the orchestra) to smooth the understanding of a complex science concept to young students that will share the play-learning process in a final concert.

Creating Evolution Ambassadors
Applicant: Anindita Bhadra, India
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

In India, evolution is typically a neglected subject, relegated to the last chapter of Biology text books in schools, and students are either unaware of the essence of evolution, or disinterested. Students interested in Biology are typically streamlined into studying the subject for the sole purpose of qualifying for the medical courses. I plan to conduct a workshop for middle school students to get them excited about evolutionary biology. The workshop will consist of popular talks by two evolutionary biologists, a film show on evolution and field based observations to demonstrate evolutionary phenomena. At the end of the workshop, the students would be divided into groups of three, and would be asked to prepare posters/ artworks to convey their idea of evolution. They would present these posters to their peers in an open event for school children, and the best team will be given an award. Thus, we would create ambassadors of evolution through the workshop.

Science In Real Life (Science IRL): A YouTube series that cultivates enthusiasm for science
Applicants: Molly Edwards, Ramin Rahni, US
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Science IRL is a YouTube series that provides the missing link between textbook science concepts and scientific research “in real life.” Created and hosted by Harvard University PhD student Molly Edwards, each episode of Science IRL shows how a textbook concept comes to life through an experiment that a scientist does every day in the lab or the field. One of the most important elements of our videos is the animations that illustrate the scientifically complex content we communicate. Our animator, New York University PhD student Ramin Rahni, will create animations for a special 7-episode series about plant evolution. Each episode features at least one guest scientist at leading plant biology institutions across the US such as Cornell University, UC Berkeley, and the University of Illinois, and will cover topics such as plant-pollinator interactions and floral evo-devo.

Ancient Forests Surround Us
Applicants: Karl Fetter, Jamie Waterman, US
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Summary tba soon …

Presentation of Classroom Evolution Activity at the NABT Conference
Applicants: Travis Hagey, Louise Mead, US
Funding provided: € 1200
Details

We will be implementing, assessing, and disseminating a evolution classroom activity. Our activity has been used previously as a science-fair style activity and was recently expanded into a classroom activity. This project will provide the participants a valuable professional development opportunity to hone their skills teaching, assessing, and improving activities they have developed in preparation for teaching as faculty. Our activity introduces students to the process of evolution, specifically the inheritance and variation of traits and natural selection, over time. Vision and Change identify evolution as one of the core concepts for biological literacy (Brewer and Smith 2011). The format of this activity was inspired by the 5E instructional model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate), encouraging students to learn the same way scientists do by modeling data, asking questions, and proposing hypotheses. Our activity asks students to model the evolution of a trait (bird color) in a population through time, stressing the population-level processes that generate morphological diversity such as drift and selection. Our example considers bird color, but the patterns illustrated are general to all of evolution. Over the course of the exercise, students will be introduced to ecological carrying capacity, mutation (deleterious, beneficial and neutral), heritability, fitness, speciation, and extinction.

Human impact on parasite evolution
Applicants: Tine Huyse, Belgium, Iwona Pom, Belgium/Poland
Funding provided: € 1600
Details

Summary tba soon …

Colombia Paleontológica
Applicant: Carlos Jaramillo, Panama
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

The general public in Colombia, a country of about 50 million people, knows very little about paleontology and evolution.  What is paleontology? What does it study? How does it relate to Colombia and its high biodiversity?  How fossils can help to understand the history of life and the ongoing climate change? We want to improve scientific literacy in Colombia by producing a book focusing on key concepts in paleontology, evolution, and climate over different geological periods in Colombia. The name of the book will be “Colombia Paleontológica”, it will be in Spanish and free of charge.

Flight of the Bumblebee: An Interactive Video Game Exhibit to Illustrate Evolutionary Principles from Genome to Phenome
Applicants: Jeff Lozier, Michael Dillon, US
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

We will implement an educational installation that focuses on an interactive “video game,” with inputs provided by motion capture, to teach users (K-12) about evolutionary adaptations for flight in different simulated environments. The game will be incorporated into a museum-style emplacement that will include graphical and text informational panels, and will be centralized at university Natural History Museums, but can travel to local outreach events and public schools. Because of implications for dispersal, foraging, and mating, flight is a highly-recognizable example to highlight evolutionary principles. Bumblebee flight requires numerous thermoregulatory and morphological adaptations to achieve flight under different environmental conditions, and is an excellent and charismatic model for illustrating evolution across levels of biological organization from “genome-to-phenome”. The software and display designs will be freely available upon completion, provided users can supply necessary computer equipment.

Science Booster Club: Evolution at the Farmer’s Market
Applicant: Emily Schoerning, USA
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Our new outreach project, “Evolution at the Farmer’s Market”, will reach out to rural American communities where access to science education is often marginal, and access to accurate information about evolutionary theory is particularly poor. This exhibition will focus on evolution through plants and crops.  Using accessible, familiar organisms, such as diverse native wildflowers and common local crops, we will develop an interactive exhibit where people can see how evolutionary processes shape plant life, alongside a compare and contrast approach regarding how artificial selection by humans and modern agricultural science have dramatically changed today’s food plants from their ancestral origins.  By bringing this exhibit to many rural communities on their market days, we anticipate reaching at least 1,500 people through this friendly, engaging, scientifically accurate outreach activity.

March 2016 – Accepted Proposals

“Senescence” – An Animated Music Video About George Williams’ Evolutionary Theory of Aging
Applicants: Baba Brinkman, UK, Stephen Stearns, US
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

Science-based rap artist Baba Brinkman presents “Senescence”, a new animated music video about the evolutionary biology of aging, based on George Williams’ theory of antagonistic pleiotropy. The song is part of Baba’s recent album “The Rap Guide to Medicine” (2015) which explores the emerging field of evolutionary medicine. The full album can be streamed or downloaded here. The video for “Senescence” will be similar in style to Baba’s previous animated music videos for the album, including “Gene’s Eye View” and “So Infectious”, and will tell the story of the human body and its evolved vulnerabilities, in the form of a love song about the evolution of aging.

Symbiosis Wars!
Applicant: Roberta Fisher, The Netherlands
Funding provided: € 1800
Details

While there are many evolution-themed board games (Evolution, Terra Evolution, Random Mutations etc.), there is a complete lack of symbiosis-specific board or card games that integrate ecological and evolutionary ideas. This is a problem considering how crucial symbiosis is to understanding biology. ‘Symbiosis Wars!’ is a quick and easy card game, suitable for playing on-the-move for all ages. Players can beat each other using the powers on their card, which showcases the diversity, function and importance of symbiotic relationships in the natural world. The goal is both to educate a wide audience (including non-specialist scientists and a lay audience) and to capture the imagination of younger players.

Phylogeny at the High School
Applicants: Toni Gabaldón, Toni Pou Pujadas, Salvador Ferré Benedicto, Spain
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

In many countries, high school students have to develop a Research project in which they perform an original small research study on a topic of their interest. This project aims to promote interest of students to perform such research projects on topics related to evolution and phylogeny and by developing educational material to promote the use of a publicly available phylogenetic repository such as PhylomeDB (www.phylomedb.org). Students will be shown how to mine the largest repository of evolutionary histories to answer questions related to the evolution of genes, pathways, and phenotypes. A pilot project involving students and teachers will be carried out to showcase the potential of publicly available phylogeny databases for high school education and research.

More information on the pilot project website: http://www.eduscopi.com/subealarbol/#s-home

I Encontro Alagoano de Evolução (1st Alagoas’ Meeting on Evolution)
Applicant: Grupo de Estudos Sobre Evolução Biológica (GESEB), Brazil
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

The 1st Alagoas’ Meeting on Evolution will be held on 09th-11th November 2016 in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil. This is the first and most important event about evolution in Alagoas, a result of the continued effort of the Grupo de Estudos Sobre Evolução Biológica (GESEB), a voluntary study group about evolution created in 2014 by students of a public university in Brazil. Since the first day, GESEB members aimed to give back to society and have been promoting meetings and special events through these two years. With the 1st Alagoas’ Meeting on Evolution, they intend to increase the connection between academics and society, promoting a dialogue about evolution, evolution teaching, philosophy and history of biology. This event will gather evolution researchers of national and regional importance in Brazil, local education professionals and students, promoting exchange of experiences and knowledge on the theme. There will be debates, lectures, short-term courses and poster presentations. In order to give special attention to public schools, we will provide training for teachers about the main difficulties faced in the classroom when they need to teach evolution and suggest new methods. Additionally, secondary and high school students will be able to participate in activities that elucidate evolutionary concepts.

Promoting evolution education in Ghana: equipping high school teachers for hands-on student training
Applicant: Thomas K. Karikari, UK/Ghana
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

To improve the incorporation of evolution education in science curricula in resource-limited settings requires that teachers are adequately trained and resourced on this topic. This project is therefore aimed at training junior high school teachers in Ghana to independently develop and implement simple, low-budget evolution experiments using bench-science and computational approaches. Activities will focus on understanding natural selection in an interdisciplinary manner, by considering key vocabulary and concepts, specific examples and simulations, analysing and interpreting data using mathematics and building inferences from outcomes. Subsequently, our student-led outreach team will visit selected schools to support teachers to integrate the new knowledge into their teaching and engage students with exciting, interactive outreach activities. This project will be undertaken in partnership with the Ghana Education Service, with the long-term goal to influence curriculum changes towards inquiry-based education.

Building foundations for understanding evolution
Applicant: Nicole T. Perna, USA
Funding provided: € 1800
Details

The J.F. Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution has a strong commitment to evolution education and outreach. We have a history of outreach to young children. We have a history of outreach to middle school and high school teachers. But, we have not specifically offered professional development directly to upper elementary school teachers. This project addresses that gap. We will offer four evolution outreach events for children as part of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery’s popular Saturday Science program. Each event features a different activity designed to stimulate interest and increase understanding of evolutionary biology. These activities have been previously offered as exploration stations at our annual Darwin Day outreach events. We will couple this direct outreach to elementary students with a linked professional development workshop for elementary school teachers. Graduate students and postdocs will demonstrate the activities to teachers, then teachers will observe the same students conduct the activities with children. Afterwards, teachers and graduate students will discuss implementing these activities in their elementary classrooms, and revise/refine the activities using their complementary expertise and experience. For each outreach exercise, we will publish instructions on the Crow Institute web site and other curriculum resource databases for repeating the activity at other sites.

Science Booster Club Project: Summer Camp
Applicant: Emily Schoerning, USA
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

The Science Booster Club Project, an outreach initiative of the National Center for Science Education, will provide a week-long summer day camp with hands-on activities related to evolution for children in a rural school district. At this camp, students will engage in the scientific method to learn about evolution in an age-appropriate context.  We will focus on developing skills related to the scientific method and scientific practice as we explore natural environments in a variety of local ecosystems to learn about populations, variation and adaptation in extant organisms.  We will then visit local fossil sites with palaeontologists to apply these lessons to ecosystems of the past.

This day camp will be a fun and educational experience for participants and will provide valuable information on evolution education in rural, religious, limited income populations. Data from the camp will be used for further program development, and the camp curriculum will be made publicly available on the NCSE website (www.ncse.com) so that others can implement this activity in their communities.

September 2015 – Accepted Proposals

5th Evolution, Science and Education Symposium
Applicants: Ezgi Altinisik, Mehmet Somel, Zelal Ozgur Durmus, and Iraz Akis, Turkey
Funding provided: € 1800
Details

The 5th Evolution, Science and Education Symposium took place from 19th-20th of December 2015 at the Bogazici University, Istanbul.  A total of 800 participants attended the symposium. Participants ranged from undergraduate students to academic staff scientists as well as biology teachers. Plenaries were given by Dr. Kahraman Ipekdal and Dr. Ergi Deniz Özsoy. The sessions topics included Ecology and Evolution, Evolution in Education Experiments, How Humans Became Human, Evolution of Birds, Evolutionary Genetics, and Evolution Theory in History.

EBES Program

Teaching & Popularizing Evolution in Turkey
Applicants: Tülin Çetin, Dilek Koptekin, Mehmet Somel, Murat Tuğrul, Turkey & Austria
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

Accepting evolution as a fact and a valid scientific theory is poor in Turkey. It is crucial to help today’s and tomorrow’s biology teachers and provide them with materials of teaching evolution. We will organise a workshop on teaching and popularizing evolutionary biology. The first part will be oriented towards science teachers & university students from education departments. It will aim at bringing different groups of people (scientists, teachers, popular science writers, university students, artists, etc.), in order to document the challenges of biology teachers in teaching evolution; and more importantly, to develop better educational programmes and materials needed to teach and popularize evolution. The second part of the workshop will be a pilot educational programme towards children from the local region.

Snapshots of adaptation: what nature’s pictures tell us about evolution
Applicant: Laura Flórez, Colombia
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Our workshop “Snapshots of Adaptation” combines art and scientific knowledge to bring kids into contact
with their natural environment and to encourage their understanding about it. Specifically, photography is used
to stimulate children’s curiosity towards local flora and fauna, and didactic activities on evolutionary biology
familiarize them with basic concepts in evolution like adaptation and natural selection that can be linked to
their own observations. The workshop was carried out in three different communities in Bogotá, Colombia,
belonging to the localities Ciudad Bolivar, Kennedy and Usaquén. In total, 75 kids ranging from ages 4 to 15
took part.
A single workshop consisted of 3 sessions:
– Session 1: contact with nature through a guided visit and a photography activity in the wetland area “La Vaca” in Bogotá, Colombia.
– Session 2: didactic activities on adaptation and natural selection connecting these concepts to the experience and observations from session 1.
– Session 3: exhibition of photographs and pictures generated by the children

→ More details are given in here: Snapshots of Adaptation – Report.

Encouraging Slovak biology teachers to include evolution in their classes
Applicant: Kristína Hudáková, Slovak Republic
Funding provided: € 1300
Details

The aim of this project was to provide Slovak biology teachers with a collection of hands-on activities, which would enable them to introduce evolutionary ideas into their classes while still following the Slovak National Curriculum. The collection contains 22 activities that explain major evolutionary principles in a way interesting and clear to high school students. The activities range in their nature, topic and difficulty, enabling teachers to accommodate various individual requirements of their classes. Each activity contains detailed instructions for the teacher, as well as a student sheet with instructions, questions, tasks, tables or graphs, according to the nature of the activity. Student sheets can be directly copied and distributed to students, enabling teachers to incorporate the activities into their classes with minimal effort. The collection of activities was printed as a book of 150 pages, distributed to high school biology teachers in Slovakia, as well as to the main Slovak libraries. The electronic version of the book is also available to be downloaded.

Reference: Kristína Hudáková, Barbora Trubenová. Úlohy z evolučnej biológie pre gymnáziá. Bratislava 2016. ISBN 978-80-972404-7-9

A picture book for local communities on evolutionary strategies of endemic wildlife
Applicants: David Lehmann and Kathleen Roellig, Germany
Funding provided: € 1800
Details

In a recent cooperation between institutions from Germany and Namibia (http://oryxproject.jimdo.com/) researchers discovered that gemsbok (Oryx gazella gazella) developed an evolutionary adaptation that allows them to survive in a region of restricted food resources. In drought periods they switch their diet to a high proportion of poisonous plants. We think that it is important to communicate the results of this research cooperation and knowledge on the concept of evolutionary adaptations to the local people in the study region. The goal of this ESEB-funded project is to develop a picture book for children and their parents. The book will be produced in the two local languages Afrikaans and Damara and will be distributed in the local communities in the Kunene Region in Namibia by the help of the local partners.

Improving Skills of Biology Teachers in Serbia
Applicant: Petnica Science Center, Serbia
Funding provided: € 1300
Details

The main goals of the workshop was to empower high school teachers to be active participants in public dialog, to use evidence-based teaching methods in the classroom, and to become catalysts of science outreach in their communities. Lectures and hands-on activities were organized and the participants developed novel teaching tools, produced articles to be used in class and school clubs, and improved their science communication skills.

-> More details can be found here: Report – Petnica-Serbia-2016_web

Undercurrent’s new educational theatre production about the evolutionary biologist George Price (1922-1975) and his work, in co-production with Camden People’s Theatre
Applicant: Undercurrent Theatre, UK
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

‘Calculating Kindness’ ran for three weeks at Camden People’s Theatre in April 2016, with four academic advisors (Professor Grafen, Oxford; Professor Pomiankowski, UCL; Dr Gardner, St Andrews; Dr Valli, KCL) and in partnership with the British Library. The production stimulated public engagement with evolutionary biologist George Price and his work, used imaginative stagecraft and narrative to effectively communicate previously inaccessible elements of scientific research to the general public, and explored how the two strands of evolutionary genetics and psychiatry intersect in order to give dimension to Price and his world. All eighteen performances were sold out, and the show received three Off West End award nominations (judging due early 2017) for Best Play, Best Production and Best Male Performance. It received positive reviews and exceptional editorial press coverage in local, regional and national papers, radio and online. A UK tour of the production is now booking for autumn 2017.

March 2015 – Accepted Proposals

Evolution’s toolkit: how species came to be
Applicants: Wendy A. Valencia-Montoya, Blanca Arbeláez, Carlos Jiménez, Héctor M. Arango, Edwin Hurtado, and Henry Arenas-Castro, Colombia
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

→ Latin America holds some of the most biodiverse regions on our planet. However, the general population is unaware of the processes that generated and currently maintain such biodiversity. Although evolution is commonly taught in high-school biology courses, deep misconceptions still persist. The Evolution’s toolkit (Caja de herramientas de la evolución) aims to provide didactic material about evolution for a non-specialist audience to introduce the complexity of the modern evolutionary theory in a friendly manner. It comprises four board games, one for each major evolutionary force: mutation, migration, natural selection, and genetic drift. Each game is set on a different ecosystem and features outochthonous and charismatic species recognizable to a Latin American audience. Through mutation, players will generate variation in olfactory receptors in a condor population; through migration, they will introduce variation among puffbird populations in the tropical dry forest; through natural selection, they will modify the proportion of coat colors in mice in the páramo and the cloud forest; and through genetic drift, they will randomly vary the proportion of shell colors among turtles’ populations in wetlands.

Using object-based learning to support pre-service teachers’ subject and pedagogical knowledge and understanding of the evidence for biological evolution.
Applicants: Paul Davies, Joanne Nicholl, and Dean Veall, UK
Funding provided: € 1735
Details

→ Summary: This project was based at the Grant Museum of Zoology (GMZ), University College London (UCL). The project involved collaboration between Science Education experts at UCL and Museum Education experts from the GMZ. Using an Object-Based Learning (OBL) approach, the project brought together both in-service and pre-service schoolteachers to design a series of OBL activities focused on evolutionary biology, that the museum then delivered to school students. An important aspect of the project was that, as participatory designers, the teachers took ownership of the activity design and, in doing so enhanced their own knowledge and understanding of evolution. The project revealed how influential objects can be in support of both pedagogy and knowledge acquisition.

Ode to Evolution: a podcast series integrating evolution, art and storytelling.
Applicants: Lauren Esposito and Kathryn Quigley, USA
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

It is very difficult for modern humans to simultaneously grasp their insignificance in the evolutionary tree of life, and their tremendous significance with respect to influencing the course of evolution. This fundamental misconception lies at the heart of what has led us to the precipice of another mass extinction event on Earth. Ode to Evolution is a five episode podcast series, that uses a storytelling approach to relate key concepts in evolution. Each podcast will follow scientists exploring evidence for evolution via examples of current research in the field of Evolutionary Biology, accompanied by 1-2 minute animated videos, and lesson plans for adaptation in schools. Offering the public a deep perspective of the scale of evolution and the human relationship with life on earth, Ode to Evolution provides a valuable perspective at a critical moment in history.

scienceRMBL
Applicants: Kamna Shastri and Bashira Chowdhury, USA
Funding provided: € 983
Details

scienceRMBL is a weekly half-hour long radio broadcast of stories narrated by evolutionary ecologists in English and Spanish. We bring together three scientists per episode to tell the stories underlying their work. Through storytelling, we aim to excite our audience about evolution and ecology while emphasizing the critical thinking that scientists employ to address evolutionary puzzles. In our stories, we will explore perspectives that are often overlooked in discussions of evolutionary ecology. And through our station affiliates, we will speak to underrepresented communities worldwide, bringing stories to those often left out of mainstream scientific enrichment.

Science Bus
Applicant: Ian Song, USA
Funding provided: € 1600
Details

“5C Science Bus continued to teach hands-on, interactive science lessons to more than 500 upper elementary school students on a weekly basis. Using the funds granted by the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, we continued to create and teach lessons in evolutionary biology. We taught lessons on host-parasite interactions, DNA transcription, natural selection, and fossils. We were also able to bring students by bus to our annual Science Day event, where students came to our college campus and learnt evolutionary biology from both a lesson on bottlenecks and natural selection and a mobile museum that describes the evolution of creatures in deep sea. Finally, towards the end of the grant, we taught a lesson on fossils.”

Different Approaches and Models for a New Didactics of Evolution (EvoDiAMoND)
Applicant: Claudia Vannini, Italy
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

→ Summary: The 1st edition of EVODIAMOND was held in Pisa on 12th February 2016 (Darwin Day) organised by the Department of Biology of the University of Pisa with the support of an ESEB Outreach Fund. A total of 120 attendees from all over Italy participated to the event: teachers and students from secondary schools, journalists, museum curators, scholars with different expertise, MS/PhD students. The aim of the proposal was to raise awareness in future researchers and teachers of the multifaceted aspects of evolution as they are shaping by the latest frontiers of knowledge. A call of ideas, EVODIAMOND Graphics, was launched to promote a synergy between visual arts and life sciences for finding new strategies to communicate the history of life.

Highlights of the day, slides and photos, together with guidelines on “how to communicate evolution” and the winning graphics are hosted on the EVODIAMOND web page – https://sites.google.com/site/evodiamond2016/ – for the free use of students and teachers of any country.

Experimental evolution at play: Illustrating the importance of the components of adaptive evolution by using drawings.
Applicant: Adam Uriel and Jelle Zandveld, The Netherlands
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

‘Experimental evolution at play’ is a combined educational and artistic workshop in which we illustrate the role of selection, heritability and variation in evolution by making use of drawings made by students. The key aim is to fire young adolescents´ imagination so as to envision for themselves what life´s characteristics, challenges and conditions were/are like in remote times, environments, or scales.
As Richard Dawkins suggests in ‘the selfish gene'(1976) there are parallels between what he terms ´memes´ in culture, and genes in nature. Memes can be seen as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures. In the workshop, we apply this concept to drawings (of a life form) as drawings can also be replicated (i.e. redrawn), show variation between students (new mutations occur when drawings are redrawn) and can be selected by another student to be redrawn. And so we expect a gradual change of drawings to happen when this process is repeated enough times.
After visiting twelve high schools, each of which represents another generation of this ‘experimental evolution of drawings’ we make an animation movie of the gradually changed drawings that will be shown at each high school.

September 2014 – Accepted Proposals

Breaking Bio: video and audio podcasts with leading scientists
Applicant: Tom Houslay, UK
Funding provided: € 900
Details

→ Summary: The Breaking Bio podcast provides a platform for scientists to demonstrate their enthusiasm for their subject, and illustrates the diversity of both the research and the people working in evolutionary biology and ecology. Having published almost 100 episodes in both audio and video format (available freely as a podcast and YouTube video respectively), our guests run the gamut of scientific careers; from MSc students to distinguished professors, and high school teachers to acclaimed nature documentary makers. This diversity should help inspire not only the next generation of scientists, but also those who decide to use their academic credentials to follow different paths. Having totalled over 10,000 downloads over the course of the past year, the generous funding from ESEB’s Outreach initiative has enabled us to keep our audio podcasts online. We have also invested in new design work and audio recording equipment, giving our podcast a more polished and professional feel. We hope to continue this work long into the future.

Evolution Education with Feeling!
Applicant: Kristin Jenkins, United States
Funding provided: € 1100
Details

→ Summary: Phylogenetic trees are a visual representation of key evolutionary ideas, such as common ancestry, trait evolution and relationships. Understanding what trees represent can strengthen students’ understanding of evolution and ability to apply evolutionary concepts to problems. Reading trees accurately is important but challenging and several activities are available to help students develop this skill. However, these activities are inaccessible for visually impaired students who are then left without tools to understanding phylogenetics. The goal of this project was to adapt existing evolution education materials for K-16 students with visual impairments. We focused on developing a universal design adaptation to an effective activity (The Great Clade Race, Goldsmith 2003) for teaching tree thinking to allow visually impaired students to benefit from this activity alongside their sighted peers.

“Evolve an animal”: an interactive game for kids
Applicant: Denis M. Larkin, UK
Funding provided: € 1200
Details

→ Summary: In the context of the project an interactive game for school age kids aiming at helping them to understand the principles of chromosome evolution has been developed and tested at several outreach activities organized by the Royal Veterinary College. The latest version of the game is freely available from Dr. Denis Larkin’s RVC website (http://www.rvc.ac.uk/about/our-people/denis-larkin#tabresearch).

Evolution in a Summer Science Camp: Answering the Why(s)?
Applicants: Leila Masri, Georg Heilig and Sophie Fessl, Austria
Funding provided: € 1100
Details

→ Summary: The research week for primary school children at IST Austria in Lower Austria took place between August 17 and 21, 2015. Thirty-four children got in touch with natural sciences and computer sciences. They applied for three different “research groups”: evolutionary biology, physics and robotics. Highlights were the excursion to the Wolf Science Center in Lower Austria and the IST Austria science exhibition at the end of the week during which the children demonstrated experiments to visitors. Parents, relatives, and friends attended also the following “graduation ceremony” where the kids received their diploma. Eleven students of education science from the University Collage of Teacher Education in Lower Austria took care of the children and accompanied them during the “scientific activities” which were supervised by 18 scientists from IST Austria.
Link: www.ist.ac.at/sommercampus

Animation explaining the dangers associated with the evolution of antibiotic resistance in microbes to increase awareness in the Egyptian public
Applicant: Sara Mitri, UK
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

→ Summary: With the help of the ESEB Outreach Fund, we have had the pleasure of developing a short video (1:35 minutes in length) to increase awareness in the Egyptian public about the dangers of the global spread of antibiotic resistance, and thereby to help reduce the widespread and superfluous use of antibiotics to cure many diseases including those of non-microbial origin. Excessive use of antibiotics is not only dangerous because of the spread of resistance, but is also damaging to the health of patients. The video is targeted at the Egyptian public because they are largely unaware of the problem. Antibiotics can be bought over the counter in Egypt, and patients typically purchase antibiotics with no prior medical consultation. The video also includes English subtitles, however, to make it accessible to a larger audience.

Follow this link to watch the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/k_1QGbQFeS0

Touch Tank Evolution: Exploring Local Adaptation in a Variable Ocean
Applicants: Sara Schaal and Katie E. Lotterhos, USA
Funding provided: € 950
Details

Local adaptation plays an important role in evolution, but this process is not widely understood by the general public. This activity will illustrate local adaptation in the ocean through the use of touch tanks containing different populations of the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) grown in a common garden. These populations experience various pH levels and temperatures in their natural range, which cause variation in shell thickness and size between populations. By observing differences in these morphological traits, students from local high schools and the local science center will be challenged to make hypotheses as to why phenotypes differ when grown under the same conditions. In addition, the workshop will illustrate concepts of climate change, how knowledge of local adaptation can help us predict responses to climate change, and how local adaptation relates to the mechanisms of evolution: migration, mutation, selection, and drift. Finally, we will produce an interactive webpage for use in classrooms that cannot visit the tanks.

Evolucionismo.org
Applicant: Eli Vieira Araujo-Jnr., UK
Funding provided: € 450
Details

→ Summary: Evolucionismo.org is a website created in 2009 to tackle some of the problems faced in the teaching of evolutionary biology in Portuguese-speaking countries, by spreading up-to-date information about evolution and related topics. Among the educational challenges faced by these countries, those related to the teaching of evolution are of particular concern. Even when, e.g., the Brazilian government’s guidelines are acceptable, students will often learn about evolution only in the last year of high school. Science denialists are increasing in numbers and getting more organised and politically active, even trying to pass a bill (PL 8099/2014, Brazil) to impose the teaching of Creationism in schools. The project has reached thousands of people in Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde; and includes a Q&A section now with more than 477 answers, all freely available for teachers and students. Evolucionismo is run voluntarily by biologists and can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks to ESEB’s grant we were able to continue our work on Evolucionismo.org to popularise evolutionary biology for Portuguese speakers.
Since September 2014, we have published and peer-reviewed 14 blog posts in our main website, and our community of members has grown to 1610 people. More than 80 questions from the public about evolutionary biology were answered in the subsidiary blog pergunte.evolucionismo.org, to the best of our knowledge and always, when applicable, citing peer-reviewed sources.
We were also active on social media. While we use our Twitter mainly to spread our posts, our more than 100 posts on Facebook in the period since the grant were devoted to keeping our followers updated on news about evolution, fossil discoveries, and government policies with an impact on education and the teaching of evolution.
Click here to reach the project web site

Comic book and game to cover the recent addition of evolution to the UK primary school curriculum
Applicant: Daniel Zadik, UK
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

We are producing a comic book for schools, aiming to cover the evolutionary concepts recently added to the UK primary school curriculum. We also plan to provide supplementary teaching materials, such as home-work tasks, required to easily plan lessons. Humour, characterful artwork and an integrated game will ensure that the subject matter is fun and inspiring, as well as scientifically accurate, so that children would also enjoy reading/playing at home.
It will initially be available on-line to teachers and children around the world, free of charge, and will be updated as work continues. On completion, books will be printed and distributed to collaborating primary schools. We will also translate the text into other languages, and make several versions available on-line.

Meeting with Darwin and his ideas Tour
Applicants: César Alberto González Zuarth, Mexico
Funding provided: € 1800
Details

The ultimate goal of our project is to create “The Evolution Fest Tour” and visit the main cities in the Peninsula of Yucatan México to spread the importance of watching our world from the perspective of the evolutionary theory, so children, students and adults realize that this theory not only allows us to answer such profound questions as “Who are we?” “Where did we come from?”, but also the significant role of evolution in our daily lives. For example, the origin of the antibiotics resistance bacteria. The Fest will consist of a posters exhibition with basic information about the evolutionary theory, video presentations with a debate at the end of each one, conferences with our participation and local academics as speakers, a discussion panel entitled “Evolution vs ID”, a workshop “Building complexity through natural selection” for all people and the workshop “Playing with Darwin” for elementary school children.

March 2014 – Accepted Proposals

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: Evolution Zone
Applicant: Sive Finlay, Ireland
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

→ Summary:
I’m a Scientist is a public engagement activity that gets scientists talking to school students all over Ireland online at imascientist.ie
Scientists put up a profile on this site, answer students’ questions, and engage directly with them in live text-based chats. Students vote for their favourite scientist to win €500 to spend on further public engagement.
In November 2014, we run an Evolution Zone in which 279 students engaged with 5 scientists researching different aspects of evolution. 84% of the students actively engaged with the scientists in 14 live chats, asked over 400 questions, and cast 272 votes.
Chloe Kinsella, Marine Biology Researcher at University College Dublin, was crowned winner of the zone.
“The best part of this whole experience was being able to talk, totally casually, about science” – Chloe Kinsella

The report is available on the Evolution Zone at: http://about.imascientist.ie/2014/12/10/evolution-zone-report-november-2014/

Darwin’s sparrows’: measuring evolution in the schoolyard.
Applicants: Xana Sá Pinto, Raquel Vasconcelos, Carina Fernandes, Rui Freitas, Corrine Almeida, Aline Rendall, Elyane Dias, Pedro Cardia, Samir Martins, Augusto Faustino, and Martim Melo, Portugal
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

→ Summary: During his stay in Cape Verde, Darwin was amazed by the natural curiosity and genuine interest of children. We built on these children features to promote a long lasting understanding of evolution in Cape Verdean students by focusing on Passer iagoensis, an endemic sparrow from this archipelago and one of the first species collected by Darwin. We organised 3 workshops for biology teachers in Santiago and São Vicente. During these workshops evolutionary processes and educational activities based on Cape Verdean examples were explored. We also introduced teachers to a research project that aims to study the evolution of Passer iagoensis and to its research team.
In a second phase, two high school classes engaged with the project researchers putting forward hypotheses to explain preliminary results and planning experiments to test these. During this process, students explored the role and expected consequences of evolutionary processes such as drift, natural and sexual selection and noticed the scientific potential of their insular country for studies on evolutionary biology.
Read the report.

Speciation patterns on Mount Kinabalu explained for visitors of the Kinabalu World Heritage Site
Applicant: Menno Schilthuizen, The Netherlands
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

→ Summary: The Kinabalu / Crocker Range Expedition of 2012 was organised by Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Sabah Parks. It consisted of a two-week expedition to Mount Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, and the surrounding Crocker Range. Some 50 taxonomic specialists from Malaysia and the Netherlands took part, as well as almost 100 support staff. Aim of the expedition was to use a combination of traditional natural history museum inventory and advanced phylogenetic analyses of DNA-sequences, to understand the age and origin of the rich endemic biota on the mountain summit. The results were published in 2015 in the journal Nature.

In 2016, the project was crowned with an outreach project, funded by the ESEB Outreach Fund, the Treub Foundation, and Naturalis Biodiversity Center. The outreach project consisted of six large bilingual information boards placed in five of the parks’ substations, a website hosted by Naturalis, and an information booklet. The information prosented explains, for the general (ecotourist) public, the aims and set-up of the expedition, and the output in terms of understanding of origin and fate of the endemic animals, plants, and fungi of Mount Kinabalu.

September 2013 – Accepted Proposals

Our Cousin From Mozambique: Tales (and Skulls) From Our Mammalian Origins
Applicant: Rui Castanhinha, Portugal
Funding provided: € 2300
Details

→ Summary: We produced a HD documentary that included a combination of 3D special effects and animations  about the evolution of a new fossil species from the late Permian of Mozambique (250 Myr). This species, named Niassodon mfumukasi, was found in the Niassa region of Mozambique, and was used as a cinematic leitmotif for a short-feature broad-audience documentary on the evolutionary history of permian vertebrates. This short documentary contributes to fill in a scientific-culture gap that currently prevails among the general audience: the evolutionary history of our mammalian origins. The documentary is subtitled in English, can be seen in 3D screens, and is freely available on the web (e.g. Youtube). We will invite everyone without commercial purposes, to promote this documentary and we encourage any educational, museological or academic institution to use all suitable means to broadcast and publicize it.

Circonvolution(s)
Applicants: Tatiana Giraud and Laetitia Giraud, France
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

The fund will be used for creating a theatre play and a movie (1h) to explain Evolution to children, written based on interviews, discussions and debates between children, scientists and actors/artists in schools, and created with stage actors, puppets, music, and cartoon movies. Working with children will reveal their false beliefs and help discover the best arguments and illustrations for them. Interactions between scientists, artists, teachers and children will also stimulate curiosity, imagination and creativity, and link education to theatre. The play will inform theatre audiences while arousing their curiosity and desire to learn about evolution. The theatre play will be in French, but the movie will be translated in English and Spanish.

→ Several interviews (in French) are available at YouTube following one of the links below:

Interviews of children (Primaire, collège, lycée):

Interviews of scientists (specialists in evolution, mathematics, social sciences)

A bedtime picture book of evolution
Applicant: Jan Heuschele, Denmark
Funding provided: € 1800
Details

The goal of the project is to produce a picture book that introduces young kids and their parents to the general processes and requisites of evolution: variation, heritability and selection, as well as common mechanisms of speciation. The picture book will provide examples for variation (e.g. in shape and behaviour), heritability, and how different phenotypes can lead to different survival and fitness rates. In addition to the picture book layer, it will contain a text layer with an accompanying story and a layer providing the scientific background and real life examples. I think such an easy picture book is necessary as for many people evolution is still a very abstract construct, despite the fact that the basic principles of evolution are actually very accessible and easy to understand. It will be freely available as an e-book and a pdf, and the text will be initially in German, English and French.
→ The English version of the e-book is now available here.

Small variations for Big changes
Applicants: Mushtaq Hussain and Nusrat Jabeen, Pakistan
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

The primary goal of this project is to develop and raise public awareness about evolution especially with reference to microbial pathogens and human diseases in Pakistan. Lectures (delivered by both local and international experts) will be organized to familiarize the audience with the fundamental concepts of evolutionary biology and its applications in health and medicine. The grant will also be used to conduct phylogenomic studies on different genes associated with the microbial virulence, animal/plant development and diseases. University level workshops will be organized to train interested students to study evolution of genes and species using computational tools. A series of posters will be exhibited on venues to illustrate the evidences and processes/mechanism of evolution across life forms. A small book will be prepared to describe evolution and its importance in the understanding of modern biology. The book will be distributed on CDs to participants and will be made available to the ESEB website.

→ Summary: The Project “Small Variations for Big Changes” funded by European Society for Evolutionary Biology and US Full Bright comprises series of seminar and workshops in connection to evolutionary biology. The programs have been conducted successfully in Pakistan principally organized by Dr Mushtaq Hussain and Dr Nusrat Jabeen. The seminar series include lectures on principles and evidences of evolution, evolution as applied science, evolutionary medicine and molecular evolution which has been delivered in various universities in Pakistan. In addition, full scale workshops on computational molecular evolution were conducted in four educational institutes namely Dow International Medical College, Dow Medical College, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Karachi and Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur. In total 23 posters were made and exhibited on all occasions, of these 16 covering the basic aspects of the evolution whereas remaining describing the some preliminary research conducted by the team members. The posters encompass several topics of evolution such as phylogenomics, structural phylogenomics and genomic repeats etc. In total the seminars were attended by more than 2300 individuals and training for tools of structural phylogenomics was provided to over 100 individuals.

→ Please find the details following this link: https://www.facebook.com/fintsci
→ Get some impressions about the events by viewing “Glimpses

→ View 18 of the posters here:

Poster01_Evolution_Descent_with_Modification
Poster02_Natural_Selection_Driving_Force_of_Evolution
Poster03_Molecular_Evolution_Roots_of_All_Roots
Poster04_Genes_and_Genome_Evolution
Poster05_Evolution_of_GAB_Gene_Family
Poster06_History_of_History
Poster07_Virus_Evolution_Nothing_Short_of_Surprises
Poster08_Bacterial_Evolution_HGT
Poster09_Fungal_Evolution
Poster10_Plant_Evolution
Poster11_Animal_Evolution
Poster12_Birds_the_Modern_Day_Dinosaur
Poster13_Whale_Evolution
Poster14_Evolutionary_Medicine_Ultimate_Reasoning_of_Sickness
Poster15_EVO_DEVO_History_Repeats_itself
Poster16_Evolution_Basic_Science_to_Drug_Discovery
Poster17_Animal_Models_and_Evolution
Poster18_Evolution_of_Microsatellites

Science Goes Kindergarten: The Entangled Bank
Applicant: Anna-Liisa Laine, Finland
Funding provided: € 1300
Details

→ Summary report: Children are inherently curious, but kindergartens often lack the resources and expertise to teach children how this curiosity translates to science. We organized a series of workshops where children learned, through demonstrations and their own experiments, how fine-tuned adaptations link species to one another. We focused on the well-characterized community surrounding plant Plantago lanceolata, including plant pathogens, and butterfly larvae to demonstrate how species can only survive through interactions that range from mutualism to antagonism. We also compiled a package of simple ideas that can be used in kindergartens to teach children about coevolution, ranging from field observations to small experiments. During the workshops, we hoped to break any false scientist stereotypes by showing the children that both boys and girls can have fun and be creative in science.

March 2013 – Accepted Proposals

Plants and animals evolution in Madagascar
Applicants: Elena Carrió, Alicia Bonilla, Alicia M. Donnellan, and Eduardo Barona, Spain
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Madagascar is well known for being one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world, but population growth and economic crises have exacerbated the degradation and destruction of this unique ecosystem. It is urgent to communicate the importance of biodiversity to the Malagasy population. This proposal will fund an educational workshop for children from the Tulear community of Madagascar. We will explain the evolutionary history of Malagasy plants and animals using games, videos and posters, and a field lab. We also will produce a pamphlet containing activities about evolution in French and Malagasy.

→ Summary: The island of Madagascar is characterized by an exceptional evolutionary history. The isolation of the island, the topographic and environmental variation, as well as the large variety of rocks and types of soils, has had a fundamental role in the plants and animals evolution. The aim of this project is to encourage the children in the Malagasy communities to know the evolutionary history of the island. A one-day session has been carried out in the Tulear district where 300 children participated. Furthermore, a tutoring guide for teachers has been elaborated, along with a poster distributed to schools in the island. Students and teachers have welcomed this project with enthusiasm.
→ The report is available here.
→ The guide and the poster can be found at the web site of Yelcho Foundation: Homepage, guide and poster in Spanish and French.

Brain Evolution in the News Video Podcasts
Applicant: Alexandra A. de Sousa, UK
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

In this project, we will develop a video format to dramatize current research on brain evolution and include ‘vodcast’ interviews with scientists. The material will be posted on our website, Brain Evolution In the News. The target audience includes the general public (internet users), young people, and others fascinated by brain evolution. By making the videos freely accessible on the internet, we aim to be as inclusive as possible, and we will use social media, directories, and search engines to maximize outreach.
→ The episodes are freely available on YouTube, in English, with the option of adding subtitles in other languages. Episodes will be released one at a time on the first of every month beginning 1 November 2014, at youtube channel
→ The report is available here

Public Outreach to Improve Teaching of Evolutionary Biology in High Schools in Northern Ethiopia
Applicant: Tsegazeabe Hadush Haileselasie, Ethiopia
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

In Tigray in Northern Ethiopia, there is currently a lack of evolutionary biology reference material accessible in the local language (Tigrigna, ትግርኛ). We will hold an educational workshop with selected high school biology teachers and evolutionary biology experts. Evolutionary biology experts from three Universities in Tigray will present core concepts of evolutionary biology, misconceptions of evolutionary biology, and the contributions of evolutionary biology to our understanding of biology. Seminars from this workshop will then be summarized and translated into Tigrigna and printed in a booklet to be distributed to local high schools.

→ Check out the Evolution is Science booklet.

Interactive Tree of Life
Applicant: Barbara Milutinovic, Germany/Croatia
Funding provided: € 700
Details

This proposal funds the development of an interactive Tree of Life component to the online educational portal in Croatia for teaching of biology (www.bioteka.hr), a site aimed primarily for children and teenagers. Material on the evolution of life is currently scattered throughout the portal. This proposal will draw these articles altogether and make them readily accessible by placing the articles, as appropriate, on the Tree of Life according to the geological time-scale, from the beginning of the universe and formation of the first cells to the evolution of different taxa. In this way, the Tree would significantly aid understanding of the evolutionary history of life. This educational portal is currently the only online portal in Croatia (as well as in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and Herzegovina) written by academically educated experts where children can read and learn about the evolution of life.
→ The Interactive Tree of Life (in Croatian) is available here.

Popularizing Evolution in China
Applicant: Longfei Shu, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

This outreach initiative will translate ESEB’s “Evolution Matters: A Guide to the Creationism/Evolution Controversy” into Chinese. This guide provides information and evidence for evolution and addresses common misunderstandings about evolution. This translation will provide access to this material for more than 1.3 billion Chinese speaking people.

Visit the Chinese website of Evolution Matters

Shimmying the Science of Sex: Communicating Research via the Platform of the Arts
Applicant: Cedric Tan, UK
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Using a combination of original dance choreography, original music and humor, our team aims to promote the highlights of cutting-edge research in evolution to high school students, non-scientists and artists through in an instinctive yet creative manner through a video that will leave a lasting impression. This new artistic piece will illustrate the evolutionary consequences of kinship for sexual conflict and competition through movements inspired by competitive sports. Together with our previous award-winning videos, our new video will be actively promoted via social media sites, posters, presentations and live performances at educational institutes and theatres.
→ The new video is available here and it won the “Dance your PhD” competition by Science journal in 2013 (click here for more information).

September 2012 – Accepted Proposals

Evolutionary theory in the modern world
Applicant: Anton Chernenko, Finland
Funding provided: € 1300
Details

Funds will be used to present a seminar about the history of evolutionary thinking in Eastern Kazakhstan, where few resources on evolutionary biology currently exist. The seminar will be followed by a movie, which will be developed using ESEB Outreach funds and prepared in collaboration with local teachers. The movie will describe the core ideas in evolutionary biology and will present short biographies of some of the scientists behind these ideas. The movie (in Russian) will be made available on line, so that teachers and the public will have continued access to the movie.
→ To read the report click here, the presentation can be downloaded here. →To see the movie follow the link

Origin of life and its continuity
Applicants: N. Haraprasad, B. Manoj Kumar, and Hema B.P., India
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

This outreach project aims to increase awareness and knowledge about evolutionary theory among school children and undergraduate students in India. A poster contest will be held on the topic of “Evolutionary biology in the 21st century”. The students submitting the 10 best posters, judged by experts in the field of evolutionary biology, will then be mentored by the experts to further develop their posters in English such that the posters clearly explain core concepts in evolution. These posters will then be professionally printed, framed, and presented to ~300 high school students at 3 different schools in and around Mysore.
→ The report is available here.

BioBelize
Applicant: Stephen E. Harris, USA
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

Belize is a developing country lacking sufficient funds for quality science education, but it also contains some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world including one of the largest coral reefs. Innovative, inquiry-based science curriculum is needed to increase students’ interest in STEM fields and create authentic research opportunities to develop the human capital in Belize.
BioBelize addresses this need by teaching high school science students in Belize the techniques of DNA extraction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis, and then trains local science teachers to work with their students in creating original research. Using a basic lab set up, students will learn modern tools used by evolutionary biologists to answers questions about biodiversity and the evolutionary history of organisms. While preparing students to enter into science oriented careers, the results will be publicized in Belize through newspaper articles, local TV, and documented on the programs website, www.biobelize.org.
→ The project along with the curriculum (Introducing DNA barcoding to students in NYC and Belize) won Science magazine’s Inquiry Based Instruction prize and an essay has been published in Science. Further information and the link to the publication can be obtained at the BioBelize.

Galápagos: islands that changed the world
Applicant: Lukas Keller, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

The Galápagos islands, with their fascinating and unique biodiversity, were an important source of inspiration for Charles Darwin and for many scientists that followed and are consequently protected as a UNESCO world heritage site. The Galápagos badly need this protection: invasive plants and animals threaten their unique biodiversity. This project will develop a traveling museum exhibit to raise awareness of the unique biodiversity of the Galápagos, the process of evolution that created it, and the role that these islands play in evolutionary biology. The target audience are families with children aged 10-14. It will be produced initially in English and German but can easily be adapted to other languages.
→ Information about the exhibition is available here. To download the exhibition travel guide please follow this link.

Understanding evolutionary biology: an initiative to improve the teaching of evolution in Chilean high schools
Applicants: Marco A. Méndez, Sylvain Faugeron, Carezza Botto, and Rodrigo Medel, Chile
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

The aim of this project is to provide high school teachers (K-12) with the basic tools to improve their teaching capacity in evolutionary biology. Since evolution textbooks in Spanish are almost absent for high school use in Chile, we will develop a free e-book that illustrates the basic concepts and clarifies common misconceptions about evolution. This activity will be carried out by the Sociedad Chilena de Evolución (SOCEVOL), whose mission is to promote evolutionary thinking and improve the teaching of evolution in Chile.
→ To read the report click here.
→ The e-book is available for download here.

Raising Awareness about Evolutionary Theory and its Relevance to Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health and Disease in Madagascar
Applicant: Jean Eric Rakotoarisoa, USA
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Although Madagascar is widely viewed as a natural laboratory for the study evolution, evolutionary biology is not a part of most curricula in Madagascar. The goal of this project is to raise awareness about the importance and relevance of evolution, particularly with respect to biodiversity conservation and human health and disease. This goal will be achieved through three activities: 1) workshops and seminars at major universities; 2) public outreach seminars and exhibitions; and 3) translation of relevant outreach materials from various sources to French and Malagasy.

Laugh and Learn
Applicants: Valentina Rossetti, Michael Griesser, and Mathias Kölliker, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

Funds will be used to develop a series of comic strips that convey key concepts in evolutionary biology to the general public in an easy, attractive, and fun way. A particular focus will be on the importance of cooperative behaviour in the evolution of living organisms. Scientists and artist will work collaboratively to develop effective take-home messages that are then turned into comic strips. These comic strips will initially be targeted to free newspapers in Switzerland and then will be made available on-line (in English and in German).
→ The first three comics are available here: Comic 1; Comic 2; Comic 3

March 2012 – Accepted Proposals

Tree of Evolution Movement
Applicants: Çağrι Mert Bakιrcι and Babür Erdem, Turkey
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

Funds will be used to hold seminars and workshops on evolution in Turkey, improving the dissemination of information about evolution throughout the country. With support from the METU Biology and Genetics Society, five events are planned in various Turkish cities, involving workshops and question-and-answer sessions about evolutionary biology. In addition, ESEB Outreach funds will be used for website development to improve access to information in Turkish about evolutionary principles and to serve as a forum for dialogue with the community about evolutionary questions (www.evrimagaci.com/; “Evrim Aĝacι” meaning “Tree of Evolution”).
→ The report is available here.

Short video teasers on evolution
Applicants: Pierre Capy and Sylvie Salamitou, France
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

Funding will be used to develop very short films dedicated to evolution. These video vignettes will carry a simple message about evolution and will be illustrated by various means (cartoons, graphics, images, etc.). It is crucial that scientists be able to deliver clear messages about evolution in a manner that captures the attention of the audience and that is able to deliver simple but important messages. The films will be available on-line in French and in English. The target audience includes teachers, who could use our films as the basis for lessons or discussions.
→ Click one of the links below to watch the films on Youtube:

in French: L’arbre du vivant est un buisson, Tous liés, L’homme est un animal comme un autre, Visages

in English: Arbre vie, Dominos, Animals, Visages

Little Changes
Applicant: Tiffany Taylor, UK
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

“Little Changes” is a children’s book which will be an aide for primary school teachers looking to introduce the topic of evolution. The book will be freely available online, as a free e-book, and a limited run print version will also be produced for distribution to school science coordinators. Important principles are subtly introduced – such as variation, survival of the fittest, heritability and adaptation – in a way that would be easily comprehensible by both primary school children and their teachers. This book will also be coupled with online activities based around the characters, reinforcing the themes introduced in the book.
→ The virtual book can be read here.

September 2011 – Accepted Proposals

I have a question … and may have the answer! – a book about Evolution
Applicant: Rita Campos, Portugal
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

The goal of the activity is to produce a book about evolutionary biology based on questions and answers obtained directly from children. These questions and answers will be obtained through a contest open to children aged between 5 to 17 years old. Expert comments and answers will also be provided for each question. The book will be freely available on the web (in Portuguese and English) and a limited run print version will also be produced (in Portuguese). This activity will help address the scarcity of educational resources about evolution available in Portuguese for children as well as for anyone who is interested in biodiversity and evolution.
→ A pdf file of the book can be downloaded here in Portuguese and Spanish.
→ For additional information in Portuguese follow this link to the blog UM LIVRO SOBRE EVOLUÇÃO.

The Evolution of Evolutionary Thought
Applicants: Tania Jenkins et al., Switzerland
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

The aim of this project is to trace the evolution of evolutionary thought from pre-Darwinian times to the present in a visually striking way, producing a web-based “infographic” (available in French, Spanish, and German) and associated poster. Standing at the intersection of science and art, this infographic will show through an innovative use of colour, text and graphics how selected evolutionary theories have themselves evolved. By integrating design and content, our aim is to show, directly and visually, how evolution by natural selection has come to be established and reveal the beauty underlying evolutionary theory.
→ The report is available here.
→ The graphic can be downloaded here as pdf file in English, in French, in German, and in Spanish.
→ The website “progressofevolution” of this project can be found here.

Unnatural History: What bizarre biology can teach us about evolution
Applicant: Laurence Loewe et al., USA
Funding provided: € 1000
Details

In celebration of Darwin Day 2012, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, holds a public outreach event that combines a variety of activities to engage the public in interesting conversations about evolution. This proposal funds a workshop for high school teachers associated with the event, where faculty and staff from the J.F. Crow Institute share their expertise with local educators. The workshop will both enhance their knowledge-base and provide them with three specific activities that they can implement in their classrooms. We believe that by working with high school teachers we can have a much amplified effect on the public understanding of evolution and science in general.
→ The web site of the event can be found here.

Improving Understanding of Evolutionary Concepts for Secondary School Teachers
Applicants: Fabien Rizinjirabake and Egide Kalisa, Rwanda
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

This project aims to offer a better understanding of evolutionary biology to teachers of evolution biology in Rwandan high schools. We will organize provincial workshops for Rwandan high school evolutionary biology teachers, reviewing evolutionary processes and discussing common misconceptions of evolution. We will also develop an evolutionary biology module syllabus to provide to participants, who currently lack evolutionary biology books or materials for use in their classrooms.

Whale of a Tail: What Skeletons Tell Us about Marine Mammal Evolution
Applicants: Anne Stewart and Hana Kucera, Canada
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

A major challenge when teaching evolution is the need for appealing examples that are visual, clear and concrete. The diverse collection of marine mammal skeletons at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) will be used to demonstrate the evolution of mammalian adaptations to the marine environment. We will develop high school focused labs through a “virtual lab” to be delivered by videoconference, as well as a set of photos and text to be used in an interactive website. The goal is to provide access for students and teachers around the world with the unique opportunity to see adaptation and convergence in bone structure over the evolutionary history of marine mammals.
→ Click here to reach the interactive web page.
→ Click here for the Life lab web site.

March 2011 – Accepted Proposals

Evolutionary games with everyday materials – activities for primary and secondary school teachers and students
Applicants: Roberto Guidetti, Matteo Bisanti, and Aurora Pederzoli, Italy
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

This project aims to develop a series of 20 games and activities using everyday materials (e.g. straws and pins) that demonstrate evolutionary principles. The games will be aimed at primary and secondary students, with sufficient instruction to be used directly by educational staff without expert assistance. Activities and instructions will be made available at Pikaia (the first Italian website entirely devoted to evolutionary topics) in both Italian and English. Educational materials will also be promoted in workshops targeted at teachers and students, in collaboration with Memo Educational Centre.

Bringing Awareness about Evolutionary Theory to the Academic Community and General Public of North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Applicant: John Tasirin, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

Evolutionary theory is not a part of most curricula in Indonesia, even at the university level. Consequently, the mechanisms of evolution by natural and sexual selection remain poorly understood. This outreach project aims to increase awareness and knowledge about evolutionary theory and about Indonesia’s own evolutionary heritage.
The outreach efforts will involve
1. Workshops and field trips aimed at high school students
2. Seminars aimed at university students and scientists
3. Public outreach seminars within the community
To supplement these oral presentations, ESEB Outreach funding will support the creation and exhibition of different media representations of evolution (posters, movies and interactive maps) as well as hands-on activities (e.g. comparative morphology of Sulawesi macaques). Field trips will introduce students to concrete examples of evolution by sexual selection (e.g. macaques and hornbills).
→ The report is available here together with a poster, a presentation, and a movie clip.

Spanish-Language Translation of “Evolution in the News”
Applicant: Jory P. Weintraub, USA
Funding provided: € 2500
Details

This outreach project will translate the existing “Evolution in the News” stories and video podcasts (see here) from English into Spanish so that they can be disseminated to Spanish speaking students throughout the world, in collaboration with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). This collection of stories about recent breakthroughs in evolutionary biology and evolution’s applications to society includes links to background literature and classroom resources, as well as short (7-10 minute) video podcasts featuring interviews with scientific experts.
→ The Spanish version of “Evolution in the News” can be found here.

September 2010 – Accepted Proposals

Seavolution
Applicants: Dieter Anseeuw et al., Belgium
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

This project targets secondary school students in Belgium to teach key evolutionary concepts: variation (between and within species); selection (natural and artificial); and convergent evolution. One component, Seavolution@class, will provide course packages for three self-contained experiments. A second component, Seavolution@lab, offers secondary school students to participate in hands on workshops, using marine organisms to teach evolutionary concepts. A third component, Seavolution@seminar, will host a public seminar by a specialist on evolution of marine organisms in response to natural and anthropogenic selection.
→ Links: Seavolution@class, Seavolution@lab, and Seavolution@seminar.

Evolution Matters: A translated guide
Applicant: Hugo Gante, Switzerland
Funding provided: € 1500
Details

The purpose of this funding is to translate ESEB’s “Evolution Matters: A Guide to the Creationism/Evolution Controversy” into Portuguese. This guide provides extensive information about the evidence for evolution and addresses widespread misunderstandings about evolution. Its translation into Portuguese will extend the reach and value of this already-developed website.
Visit the Portuguese website

→ The report is available here.

Evolutionary outreach: tools for the analysis of evolutionary concepts for high-school teachers
Applicants: Alicia Massarini et al., Argentina
Funding provided: € 1750
Details

This outreach initiative will promote a better understanding of evolutionary biology among spanish-speaking high school teachers through distance learning courses and regional workshops in Argentina. The distance learning courses will be web-based and will develop a deeper understanding about evolutionary processes, as well as exploring common misconceptions about evolution. The workshop will bring members of the “Sharing Science” group to two locations in Argentina to train teachers in the use of evolutionary modules in the classroom.
→ The report is available here.

A Comparative Embryonic Developmental Database
Applicants: Eric Rottinger and Mattias Ormestad, France
Funding provided: € 3000
Details

The funds will be used to build a comparative embryonic developmental database with freely accessible information about variation in animal development and its relation to metazoan evolution. The proposed database will be implemented in an existing platform and will serve as an illustrated atlas allowing the public to visualize developmental variation among metazoans and to place this information easily into a phylogenetic context. The website will be easily accessible to teachers, students, as well as to the general public.
→ The link to the comparative embryonic developmental database is available here.

March 2010 – Accepted Proposals

A philosopher in nature. Evolutionary theory explained to children.
Applicants: Johan Braeckman and Johan De Smedt, Belgium
Funding provided: € 2500
Details

A large empirical literature in educational psychology indicates that children and adolescents hold false beliefs about evolutionary biology. Given the importance of educational materials in the home environment, there is a need for children’s books that explain evolution and natural selection in simple terms (See website example). Funding from the ESEB Outreach Fund will allow the illustration of a children’s book designed to convey ideas like natural selection and descent with modification, to be distributed at least to primary schools in Flanders, Belgium and The Netherlands. The book will initially be written in Dutch and available for translation.

Evolving Evolutionary Ideas
Applicants: Rita Campos and Alexandra Sá Pinto, Portugal
Funding provided: € 2000
Details

Funding from ESEB will allow the development of teaching kits for use in Portuguese elementary schools, where evolutionary concepts are currently not taught. Funding will be used to develop and build 20 kits and to pay for travel expenses of visits with the kits to schools during the school year. The kits will include flower seeds to demonstrate genetic drift, buttons and plastic pearls with different colours to demonstrate natural selection, cards with images of different organisms to demonstrate how taxonomy relates with evolution, small mirrors and genealogical trees to demonstrate the heritability of characters.
Blog “O Jogo da Evolução/Playing Evolution” and report of activities
→ NEW! Further information material – Publication “Early evolution of evolutionary thinking: teaching biological evolution in elementary schools” and E-book: “As Borboletas da Floresta Amarela” (in Portuguese)

Bringing the understanding of evolution to Turkish primary schools
Applicants: B. Duygu Özpolat and Erol Akçay, USA
Funding provided: € 1700
Details

This outreach initiative will allow the non-profit organization Hard-workers for Evolution to distribute informational packets to science teachers in Turkey associated with the Turkish translation of the Understanding Evolution website. This information package will include a brochure about evolution and a CD containing an offline version of the website (in Turkish), as well as printable website articles.
Blog and Brochure

Twelve Spotlights on Evolution
Applicants: Sylvie Salamitou and Dominique Joly, France
Funding provided: € 3000
Details

An award from the ESEB Outreach fund will allow the development of an exhibition entitled “Twelve spotlights on Evolution” composed of 12 posters. Each poster will include photographs and short descriptions that illuminate an important aspect of evolution. This exhibition will present both basic notions of evolution and up-to-date research results, explained in a very accessible way and designed to interest a general audience. The posters will be displayed to the general public at scientific events and at places such as student libraries and shopping malls in the Paris area.
→ The 12 posters are completed:

If you are interested in the pdf files, please contact Sylvie Salamitou.