ESEB Outreach Initiative

Next deadline: 15 March 2022.

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.

There will be a single call per year with a total budget of 20,000 €. A single project can be funded with up to 4000 €, but smaller projects are welcome. We are requesting a report after one year, at which time the project should be completed.

Please use the application form below to submit your proposal and note the word limits given herein.
Download: ESEB Outreach Fund Application 2022 – the form will be available when the call opened

Proposals will be accepted until 15 March 2022 and should be submitted by email to the ESEB office (Email:; Subject: Outreach Initiative Fund 2022).

Please note that scientific meetings are not supported by ESEB Outreach Initiative funds. These fund also do not work as a mechanism for continual funding. Once the potential of a project has been demonstrated, this should be used as a basis to convince other funding sources on continuation funds. Hence, submissions by a group that has been successful in past calls may be penalized if the proposals are mere follow-ups of previous projects.

The applications will be evaluated by the Outreach Initiative Committee:
Josefa González, Chair (ES)
Delphine Sicard (FR)
Rhonda R. Snook (SE)
Hildegard Uecker, MPI Evolutionary Biology (DE)
Karine Van Doninck (BE)

March 2021 – Accepted Proposals

A year told by women in evolutionary biology
Applicants: João Alpedrinha, Ana Rodrigues (PT)
Funding provided: € 3000

Nowadays, despite the clear increase in the proportion of women working on STEM-related subjects, most science-related job positions are still held by men. The goal of this project is to foster an appreciation for science, for scientists and for women pursuing careers in science.

With the support of ESEB Outreach Initiative, we invite 12 leading Portuguese women researchers in evolutionary biology to write two texts, one about their careers and the challenges they had to overcome as women in science and another about a female evolutionary biologist that has influenced and inspires them in their careers. This material will be used to produce a yearly calendar that will be distributed in high schools. We will also promote the discussion of these texts, by organizing lectures and debates in schools with women researchers.

We want to inspire the younger generations, in particular young girls, in pursuing a career in science.

Seeing through our “plant-blindness”: the journey of plant evolution. // Mirando más allá de nuestra “ceguera vegetal”: un viaje por la evolución de las plantas
Applicant: Candela Blanco Moreno (ES)
Funding provided: € 2100

This project aims to diminish the so called “plant-blindness” phenomenon, that consists in the tendency to ignore plants and dismiss them as the background. For this, we propose to create an interactive game in two languages, English and Spanish, and with three different levels: general public (adapted for primary school children), secondary school, and university.

The game will be a journey through the evolution of vegetation with stops at key time periods exemplified by Spanish and other European exceptional localities. This expedition will take us from: (1) the colonization of land during the Early Devonian, (2) the Carboniferous swamp forests, (3) the Mesozoic vegetation and first angiosperms in the Early Cretaceous, to (4) the angiosperm dominated ecosystems of the Miocene. The localities used for the trip aim to acquaint the Spanish population with their amazing, yet poorly known, palaeobotanical heritage, emphasizing the value of the fossil record and collections.

Illuminating and disseminating the evolutionary origins of human illness
Applicant: Rui Diogo (US)
Funding provided: € 2500

Evolutionary medicine is a relatively novel discipline. Despite the clear public benefit of its focus on health, there is less outreach in this domain relative to other important scientific topics, such as outreach to the broader public and also the engagement of underprivileged/underrepresented populations. This project would help to fill that gap, educating both the broader public as well as medical students who can take this knowledge into their future practices. We plan to have the book translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and disseminated in five different continents, through our website, will make it free and accessible globally.

Humanity: Our shared origins museum exhibition
Applicant: Robyn Pickering (ZA)
Funding provided: € 4000

Human evolution plays an important role in tackling issues such as racism and xenophobia, which plague South Africa, Africa and the globe and frame our daily interactions. Humanity is a permanent museum exhibition at the Iziko South African Museum that provides an accurate and engaging source of learning about human evolution for public and educators. It explains the essential role of diversity in evolution and promotes discussion around who we are and how we came to be this way. Humanity also recognises the immense role of South Africa and Africa in human origins research and inspires youth to follow careers in STEM where they, especially Africans and African women, are underrepresented.

The Aegean Archipelago, an active evolutionary biology lab
Applicant: Iasmi Stathi (GR)
Funding provided: € 4000

The Eastern Mediterranean and especially the Aegean Archipelago of 27.000 islands and islets, constitute a major global-biodiversity hotspot with a complex geological history, substantial species diversity and an exceptionally high percentage of endemism. With this project we intent to improve/broaden the knowledge of younger generations about a) the evolutionary processes that led to these exceptional biodiversity patterns, b) the importance of Computer Science and Bioinformatics in evolutionary research, and c) the multidisciplinary nature of evolutionary research in general.

Printed and digital educational activities will be produced, in Greek and English languages, including a) a board game covering an Aegean timeline starting 22 Mya ago, and b) an evolutionary-process game set consisting of phylogenetic trees, Aegean taxa identity cards and paleogeographic maps. Additionally, a bird-strike narrative explaining how DNA sequencing, evolutionary biology and bioinformatics can help to identify anonymous sequences, including a webserver, will be deployed.

Let’s Botanize
Applicants: Jacob S. Suissa and Ben Goulet-Scott (US)
Funding provided: € 1738

Plants are powerful vectors for teaching evolutionary biology. They are incredibly biodiverse, are the foundational organisms of most ecosystems, and can be easily observed in natural settings. Finally, they express variation—familiar to all through agriculture and horticulture—that allows one to see how mutations arise and lead to evolution in real time.

Let’s Botanize (@letsbotanize) is an Instagram-based science communication series using plant life to teach about ecology, evolution, and biodiversity through engaging photography and thoughtfully produced videos. As gardening and outdoor recreation increase in popularity, we are creating a digestible entry point for a broad audience to indulge their curiosity about plant life and biology more generally. Our content also supports the educational missions of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture with whom we collaborate.

Tattoos for Colombian Biodiversity
Applicant: Eugenio Valderrama Escallón, Maria José Arrieta Mosquera, Diana Obregón Corredor, Juan Pablo Calderón, Laura Giraldo Serna, and Ana María Porras Corredor, (CO)
Funding provided: € 2662

Although Colombia is embedded in the Neotropical biodiversity hotspot, its species richness remains underestimated due to insufficient surveying and internal conflicts threatening its diversity. To reach young urban adults in Colombia, we will use two media popular with this age group – tattoo art and social media – to communicate the evolutionary and ecological importance of threatened, recently described, endemic or traditionally used species of flora and fauna, and the relevant social dynamics jeopardizing them. We will use and support the ongoing initiatives of tattoo artists that include elements of biodiversity in their work. Combining tattoo art with scientific expertise opens possibilities to reach communities rarely considered in public engagement with science. The inclusion of both biological and social aspects relevant to the protection, use and understanding of the selected species will allow us to increase awareness and appropriation of biodiversity that will help to ameliorate its current threats.

March 2020 – Accepted Proposals

Feira de Evolução (Evolution’s Fair)
Applicant: Ana Eugénio (PT)
Funding provided: € 1900

In Portugal, most students will never be formally taught about Evolution in school. “Feira de Evolução” (“Evolution’s Fair”) will contribute to fill that gap and spread knowledge about evolutionary concepts in an engaging and didactic manner, within the community of a Portuguese high school.

With the support of ESEB Outreach Initiative, this project will involve eleventh-grade students conceptualizing and creating activities and games within the scope of Evolution, under the mentorship of their teaches and scientists. These students will be learning how to explore a scientific concept and how to pass it on to a general audience, becoming better science communicators and fueling their interest for science.

Afterwards, the school will host a fair to present the students’ work to all the other students, as well as teachers and staff attending the event, expanding this community’s curiosity and love for Evolution.

Applicants: Peter Galbusera and Bart Verheecke (BE)
Funding provided: € 2630

Genetic biodiversity is recognized as a level of biodiversity because it is the basis for evolution and
adaptive potential (to changes in the environment). However, it is not well known among the wider public. By (rightfully) linking this theme to the (currently well adopted) theme of climate change, we want to stress the importance of genetic (bio)diversity in (climate) adaptation. The ESEB outreach funds will be used to (further) develop an interactive floor game/quiz. In this activity people take the place of animals that are confronted with climate changes that threatens their survival. We also want to convince the public that conserving (genetic) biodiversity in their/our own interest as the preservation of species/ecosystems will in turn contribute to a more stable climate. After (locally) testing, we aim to distribute this educational ‘product’ among our (European) partners (zoos, universities, botanical gardens, musea…) to be used at science festivals.

Peter Galbusera (researcher) and Bart Verheecke (science communicator)
Centre for Research and Conservation (CRC) of the Antwerp Zoo Society
Koningin Astridplein 20-26
2018 Antwerp, Belgium and

“Once upon a time, human evolution…”
Applicant: Aketzalli González (MX)
Funding provided: € 1200

Human evolution can be a model for teaching biological evolution with gender approach.

The team will conduct workshops with high school students in Mexico City. In the sessions we will apply didactic strategies that include Collaborative Learning and the use of audiovisual resources, to teach the main concepts of evolution, the fossil record and modern genomics. In turn, the workshop will provide students with basic tools for the collective creation of a play.

With the support of the ESEB Dissemination Fund, we will make videos using puppets and the stop motion technique to exemplify the evolutionary history of human beings. The use of theatre and cinema will allow us to transmit evolutionary concepts in non-conventional spaces such as classrooms. Students will present their performances and we will make a video compiling the experiences in the classroom.

Discover the microscopic world of bdelloid rotifers, why is this evolutionary scandal a model system for space research?
Applicant: Victoria Moris (BE)
Funding provided: € 2430

The concept of evolution is often hard to grab and explanations found in books are often not sufficient.

This project uses bdelloid rotifers as a notorious model system in evolutionary biology to better understand the concepts of evolution. These small organisms are extremely stress tolerant and are considered as a major scandal in evolutionary biology due to the absence of males and sexual reproduction since millions of years. Therefore, one could ask how do these organisms create genetic diversity, essential for evolution? And how do asexuals evolve in the long term and adapt to complete dryness, freezing and ionizing radiation? This project will highlight a case of evolutionary research for educational purposes and is also part of the RISE project (rotifers in space) which studies impacts of space exposure to rotifers. Besides the fact that bdelloid rotifers are easy to use to illustrate the principles of evolution such as cloning, genetic diversity and adaptation to extreme environments, these animals are also easy to culture. They can be sent completely dry and rehydrated in the class of secondary schools whenever needed, be cultured, and dried again. These smallest animals on Earth can also easily be sampled by children in the gardens or parcs because they live in mosses and lichens, found everywhere.

Within this educative kit we provide living material (rotifer samples, dried), an online quiz about evolution and an interactive video to explain with a card game the principles of evolution. This project will serve as a simple, effective, fun tool to understand “evolution by natural selection”.

DEEP AND RECENT: Evolution lessons for young Persian speaking students interested in archaeology and cultural anthropology
Applicants: Leila Papoli-Yazdi and Omran Garazhian (SE)
Funding provided: € 2570

A couple of years after Iran’s 1979 revolution, a massive effort was conducted to Islamize the courses of humanities in universities and high schools. Considerably, one of the victims of such a change was courses related to evolutionary/Darwinism/cultural evolutionary in the fields of anthropology and archaeology.

Not only in Iran but also in other Persian speaking countries such as Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the access to the evolutionary/cultural evolutionary material of education is difficult. To cover these problems, DEEP AND RECENT specifically aims to improve the knowledge of Persian speaking scholars about evolutionary, to provide educational materials and introductions in Persian/English for Persian speaking scholars and to promote research opportunities to the most interested by

  1. Creating 12 Podcasts
  2. Publishing 4 Booklets
  3. Building a Website

By all these, DEEP AND RECENT tries to reply to several questions raised in the mind of youths about genealogy and evolutionary archaeology and spread awareness

Ghost fruits  (german: Geisterfrüchte)
Applicant: Veronica Preite and Wolfgang Stuppy (DE)
Funding provided: € 1425

Botanic gardens are ideal places to raise awareness of the vital significance of biodiversity and the current extinction crisis.
At the Botanical Garden of the Ruhr-University Bochum we will show an exhibition and offer guided tours on the evolutionary riddle of “anachronistic fruits”.
Although the giant beasts of the ice age megafauna including mammoths, mastodons, gomphotheres and giant ground sloths have died out 13,500 years ago,
there are still plants today whose very large fleshy fruits have evolved to match the appetite and sensory preferences of these long-lost fascinating creatures.
Although an absolutely intriguing fact of natural history, the existence of anachronistic fruits is generally unknown to the public.
Many anachronistic plants are still around today. They owe their survival to long generation time (most are trees!), some limited haphazard dispersal through rodents, gravity or water or because they were useful to humans.
But they may not be for ever.

Alignment: a tabletop game that teaches about homology, optimization, and the mechanics of sequence alignment
Applicant: Scott Riffkin (US)
Funding provided: € 1500

Games are fun, engaging, potentially educational, and surging in popularity. I propose to harness some of this excitement by creating tabletop games that implicitly teach scientific concepts and techniques.

Scientific concepts and methods that involve the repeated application of a set of abstract rules lend themselves readily to games. By repeatedly playing a game, players build up an intuition for how the pieces are best manipulated within the game’s rules and goals. If these pieces directly correspond to scientific objects or processes, then the players will also develop an intuition for the science. By focusing on the game first and later making the scientific correspondence explicit, we may avoid antigenic responses to science, either conscious or subconscious.

This project has two parts. The first is the design, prototyping, and field testing of a game based on sequence alignment. The second is starting a science-based tabletop game design group at UCSD.

Not without my symbionts! Joint evolution of animal hosts with microorganisms
Applicant: Lara Schmittmann and Felix Mittermayer (DE)
Funding provided: € 1500

The importance of the metaorganism concept has become popular in the context of medicine and gut health – but are people aware that any living plant or animal is associated to an incredible number of microorganisms? And that these microorganisms are critical for the survival and well-being of their host? For example, marine sponges are (among) the oldest animals on earth while one of the key features that makes them so successful is their close relationship with symbiotic bacteria. Millions of years of evolution have worked to establish this symbiosis which will serve as a brilliant example to explore the evolution, function and benefit of metaorganisms.

We will develop an illustrated infographic to be displayed in a public aquarium and centre for environmental education. The combination of an infographic with real-life animals in aquaria will make the metaorganism concept more tangible and interesting for all generations and backgrounds.

Science and Society (Ciència i Convivència) Interactive Workshops
Applicant: Roberto Torres (ES)
Funding provided: € 3270

It is crucial to raise awareness in society about evolutionary biology concepts, and its implications in our daily lives. However, these concepts are not explained enough in a societal context, that allow citizens to relate to these complex concepts with some of their main concerns. In CiC interactive, outreach workshops, scientists and participants interact to tackle from a scientific point of view, some of the main challenges of living in society nowadays in Europe: migrations, diversity, changes, and adaptation. CiC allows evolutionary biologists to explain to participants from collectives in risk of social exclusion, how these evolutionary strategies have proven their benefits in nature, and how this knowledge can be useful in their daily lives. The CiC workshops empower underrepresented collectives with knowledge, using science as a tool for social cohesion, giving citizens valid arguments to face societal challenges such as racism, health, climate change and gender inequality.

Read more about the CiC workshops at

Darwin’s Theory and our DNA: Helping Primary School Children make the Leap
Applicants: Alison Wright and Nicola Hemmings (UK)
Funding provided: € 1500

A sound understanding of how evolution works is essential for addressing a range of challenges in everyday life. Our interactive workshop for primary school students covers fundamental principles of evolution and genetics in order to promote critical thinking skills and inquiry-based learning from an early age. For this we use a fascinating real-life example: bird beaks. The incredible diversity in beak shape is an excellent model for illustrating how natural selection works and Darwin’s theory. Beaks exhibit striking variation in their size and shape, with often odd and unique features, and much of this variation is associated with diet and ecology. Students will use life size, 3D printed models of bird beaks to formulate hypotheses about how beak shape evolves. This will be combined with a practical activity to extract DNA from cheek cells using everyday equipment and materials to highlight the basic principles of genetics and inheritance.

September 2019 – Accepted Proposals

To the bones! – Haptic experience of vertebrate evolution (german: Bis auf die Knochen! – die Wirbeltierentstehung erfühlen)
Applicant: Astrid Böhne (DE)
Funding provided: € 1420

Communication of scientific knowledge tends to be strongly based on visual resources, often excluding people with sensory deficiency. Evolution is no stranger to this trend. When information is delivered only visually, blind people are denied access and participation. Our scientific community thus loses diversity that could promote more stimulating ways of teaching everyone. With this in mind, we designed a haptic game that will teach evolution to children with visual disability in a playful and enjoyable way! Children will walk through the phylogenetic tree of vertebrates, discovering biodiversity and evolutionary novelty, and the processes that give rise to it: natural selection and adaptation… all with real specimens from museum pedagogic collections made available through touch and sound. We believe that exploring alternative senses in outreach is a first step to promote inclusive education and make sure that our community is welcoming to all who wish to learn about evolution.

Active Learning Materials for Classroom and Outreach Activities focused on Human Evolution
Applicant: Travis Hagey (US)
Funding provided: € 830

T. Hagey Outreach project

I used my awarded 2019 ESEB funds to purchase replica primate and extinct human skulls to use for activities focused on evolution. This purchase facilitated a hands-on activity in which students are tasked to organize a set of living primate and extinct hominid skulls into a family tree based on how they look. Students then compare their proposed phylogeny with the actual phylogeny, exploring how specific traits (brain size, face shape, canine teeth, etc) have changed over time. This activity can be used as an informal hands-on outreach activity at a science fair booth or as a more structured upper level undergraduate lab activity.

Is evolution really how we see it in sci-fi films?
Applicants: Jose Luis Horreo Escandón (ES)
Funding provided: € 1500

Evolutionary knowledge will be disseminated comparing science fiction films and reality. Evolution has been widely employed in cinema, especially in sci-fi films, as cause or explanation for amazing stories; but obviously such processes must not be actually real. This can lead audience to believe in erroneous hypotheses or evolutionary theories as well as to disseminate them among friends and relatives. The here-presented activity will try to change this by explaining how evolution would agree, or not, with different film plots. To do it, several posters will be created and written in two languages: Spanish and English, including a short description of the film with the evolutionary theory that it proposes, as well as the actual evolutionary aspects supporting/disagreeing them in an easily understood language. The posters will be exhibited in various locations including films festivals and other film and sci-fi related events in Spain, or even in other countries.

Evolution: a dance as old as time
Applicant: Joana Loureiro (PT)
Funding provided: € 1500

What can a small butterfly teach us about evolution and climate change?
To promote public knowledge of how evolution shapes the adaptation of organisms to environmental changes, we previously conceived a school children-suitable game, “Camouflage”, that explores adaptive seasonal plasticity in the African butterfly Bicyclus anynana.
Now, with the support of the ESEB Outreach Fund, we want to produce a dance piece and film entitled “Evolution: a dance as old as time” to recreate and reformulate “Camouflage”. We believe using the universal languages of dance, music and film will allow us to take concepts like evolution, genes, and environment to a much wider audience.
The film will feature amateur dancers – students, postdocs and non-researchers – and original choreography to explore how thermally plastic B. anynana traits – eyespot size or color – influence butterfly detection by predators, as the dry and wet seasons become increasingly unpredictable in the face of climate change.

Evolution, Genes, and Environment. Learning Evolution on the Way Home
Applicants: Talia Rosas & Carlos D. Suárez-Pascal (MX)
Funding provided: € 1500

Mexico City is a crowded place and more than one and a half million people travel every day in its subway network. The goal of this project is to offer to this massive number of passengers a multimedia exhibition on the omnipresence of biological variation in nature and its impact on evolution through heredity.

The exhibition will illustrate different kinds of biological variation, the processes that influence their emergence, the magnitude of each kind of variation, and the role that they play in evolution.

This exhibition will be accessible to a variety of people of different ages and educational backgrounds, who use the subway as their main means of transportation to commute between the places where they work, study, or have leisure activities, and their place of residence.

A 600 million year time travel through the evolutionary history of sponges – an educational video
Applicant: Astrid Schuster (PT)
Funding provided: € 1500

Outreach video explaining the evolutionary history and success of sponges throughout the Earth’s history. We will use slow motion video technique and filming at different locations to explain and illustrate the basic concepts of how traditional taxonomy, modern genomics and the fossil record can be combined to gain a better understanding of sponge evolution. Through a diving field trip to Islas Cìes in Galicia we will show and explain the ecological importance of sponges as habitat builders. We will explore the Miocene sponge fauna in Albufeira, South of Portugal to introduce the audience to the remarkable fossil record of certain sponge groups. The video will include experimental steps in the laboratory to show how modern genetic and traditional taxonomic tools can be linked with the fossil record to better understand sponge evolution. The video will be produced in English with subtitles in Portuguese, Spanish, German and French.

SEARCHing for Darwin
Applicant: Gemma Waters (UK)
Funding provided: € 1500

Hampshire Cultural Trust is a charity managing 26 arts and museums attractions across Hampshire, UK. This project will be based at the Trust’s education centre, SEARCH in Gosport. SEARCH provides opportunities for hands-on learning with access to real natural science collections. During a week in February 2020, schools will be offered the opportunity to visit SEARCH for Darwin Detectives workshops, exploring adaptation and evolution through hands-on activities. In addition, teachers from across the UK will be offered An online professional development workshop to help build confidence and inspire new ideas for teaching evolution in the classroom.

SEARCH will also work with colleagues at Hampshire Wardrobe, the Trust’s costume and school loans box hire service to produce a Darwin themed resource for schools. This resource will be a loans box of artefacts and period costume that schools can borrow to help teachers deliver the Evolution and Inheritance aspect of the National Curriculum in class.

March 2019 – Accepted Proposals

Seminar of Francis Hallé at the Botanical Garden of Barcelona: Is there such a thing as intelligence in plants? Or How evolution shaped plant’s relationships with the environment
Applicant: Laia Barres (ES)
Funding provided: € 1500

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Botanical Garden of Barcelona, Francis Hallé gave a lecture on his theories about plant evolution and if there is such an intelligence in plants and signed versions of Hallé’s books “Plaidoyer pour l’arbre” and “Eloge de la plante” could be purchased. The lecture was translated simultaneously from French to Spanish thanks to the support by ESEB. Additionally, the lecture is now available online at YouTube:
Furthermore, Francis Halle gave an interview to El Periódico, the most read newspaper in Catalonia. The resulting article is available here:
Another article related to the conference will be published in Cuerpomente (, and will spread the idea of plant evolution even further.

Geology Park
Applicant: Katherine E. Carter (US)
Funding provided: € 1500

Geology Park is an immersive game that lets families and adults time travel back to the Permian-Triassic extinction and throughout the Phanerozoic to recover the escaped Permian creatures. Misconceptions about evolution are addressed with the feet as participants must travel a scaled model of deep time. In addition to exploring the radiations of important phylogenetic groups, participants can also collect data useful in reconstructing the past. These include measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration assessing position of continence and even counting the relative cover of different groups of plants. We’ve created a strong narrative the drives the story and the participants exploration forward and create multiple opportunities for further engagement. Many of the characters that they will meet have separate side quests and stories that will keep participants interested long after the initial narrative. NCSE has designed this activity to have 3 levels so that participants can have experiences lasting between 15 minutes and 1 hour. With ESEB funding we were also able to create an app that allows participants to play across the world. We released this activity to 20 clubs across the country and have made all of the materials freely available online.

An evolutionary perspective on bacterial antibiotic resistance
Applicants: Paulo Durão, Roberto Balbontín (PT)
Funding provided: € 1500

The intensive and unconstrained use of antibiotics has accelerated the dissemination of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which is considered to be one of the greatest threats to public health globally. Antibiotic-resistant infections are increasing worldwide and deaths related to resistant bacteria are estimated to reach millions by 2050, even overcoming cancer. Our whiteboard animation divulgation video aims to inform society about the evolutionary concepts behind the emergence and dissemination of antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations. For instance, we illustrate how the survival of resistant bacteria depends on key evolutionary parameters, such as the selective pressures for and against resistant bacteria, and the effects of compensation for potential costs of resistance. The video also stresses how basic research can impact the clinic, reminding society about the relevance of supporting fundamental research. Finally, the video provides some basic guidelines that help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.


Life in Eucalypts
Applicant: Maider Iglesias-Carrasco (AU)
Funding provided: € 1500

The concept of adaptation and how it can generate biodiversity is rarely discussed in Australian culture. Australia’s Eucalypts are an iconic national emblem, yet very few people realise the important role that these trees play in shaping Australian ecosystems and biodiversity. We will run the “Life in Eucalypts” photography competition to encourage both adults and children to get outside and look at the Eucalypts around them and document the invertebrate life that they see. The competition will be accompanied with a popular science talk focusing on the varied ways in which animals have adapted to living on Eucalypts and how Eucalypts have contributed to the evolution of Australia’s unique biodiversity. By getting people to observe and document local biodiversity by themselves and then share some of the wonderful stories about how evolution has generated this diversity, we aim to engage our community in what seems like an abstract topic.

Natural selection in the natural world
Applicant: Hana Kucera (CA)
Funding provided: € 1350

Outdoor education provides an optimal opportunity for teaching about the processes of adaptation and evolution because it allows students to observe and interact with nature and make direct connections to the concepts they are learning. In this project, we used our outdoor setting to teach students about the processes of adaptation and natural selection. This project provides support for teachers in the implementation of the new curriculum and engages students in meaningful, hands-on, and active learning in the outdoors. Our collection of mammal skulls (bear, cougar, wolf, deer, bat, and beaver) forms the basis of a hands-on comparative activity focused on identifying naturally selected traits. Students participate in active outdoor games that demonstrate natural selection. This immersive and active experience helps to build students’ understanding of the relationship between natural selection and predation. Teachers can download all lesson plans, several of which can be adapted and used in their own classrooms. Museums and other non-formal education platforms are invited to use the lessons as well.

Vir(Ev)o: High quality introduction videos on molecular epidemiology
Applicant: Sebastian Lequime (BE)
Funding provided: € 1500

Molecular epidemiology focuses on exploring the dynamics of infectious diseases using the evolutionary history of pathogens to gain new insights into the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Vir(Ev)o is a short series of educational videos that explain, in high quality and entertaining setting, key concepts of the field. It presents (i) how viruses evolve, then (ii) how we can reconstruct, through statistical tools, the evolutionary links between these viruses, and finally (iii) how this reconstruction can be exploited to infer a probable spreading “history” of these viruses in time and space, and how this helps us to understand epidemics. Vir(Ev)o is available on YouTube in two languages (French and English) with subtitles in many more (Dutch, Spanish, German, Chinese, Greek, and Turkish).

Link to the Video:

Evolution is fun: educational games in the school
Applicant: Istvan Scheuring (HU)
Funding provided: € 1400

Have you ever been glad to catch a disease? Chances are you have never played the Epidemic Game! In this game, schoolchildren flock together hoping to remain healthy, but furthering the spread of contagion with every contact. This is a great tool to educate kids about what makes an infection effective and how pathogens evolve – and it is way more effective than a lecture. With the support of the ESEB Outreach Fund, we will compile an open-access booklet of party and board games in the field of evolution and ecology – both in English and in Hungarian. In addition to the Epidemic Game, the booklet will contain games about speciation, illuminating density-dependent selection and trait separation, social conflicts and many more. Bringing these games to the classrooms we can help teachers to demonstrate evolution and ecology in different ways. Having fun at school can be contagious!

September 2018 – Accepted Proposals

Dia do Darwin (Darwin’s Day)
Applicant: Grupo de Estudos Sobre Evolução Biológica – GESEB (BR)
Funding provided: € 600

In celebration of Darwin’s Day was held through a series of activities over three days, counting with activities for a wide variety of publics and, as the name suggests, the event pays an homage to the naturalist Charles Darwin for his contributions to science. On the first day professor Sávio Torres, from Paraíba Federal University, gave two lectures: “Challenges of Scientific Divulgation in the Big Data Era” and “Intelligent Design: An Alternative to the Evolutionary Theory?”. Also, professor Maxwell de Lima, from Alagoas’ Federal University, presented “Darwin’s Critique of Paley’s Theological Argument”. On the second day was held the Workshop for Scientific Communication – Ignite Evolution, with Gracielle Higino which aims to work out the best way to approach evolutionary concepts with a non-scientist population. On the third and last day, the schedule was geared for children. The recreational activities held in Alagoas’ Federal University Natural History Museum focused on teaching the children about evolution through play, movies and lots of fun.

For more information, please follow @geseb.ufal on Instagram and Facebook!

Bringing The Evolution Of Antarctica To Life at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival
Applicants: Huw Griffiths (UK), Hilary Blagbrough (UK)
Funding provided: € 1500

Evolution of Antartica_Outreach2018

Antarctica was once a lush, forested continent connected to South America, Africa, India and Australia. Over three days in May in 2019 more than 12,000 school children, scientists, enthusiasts and families had a rare hands-on opportunity to find out how animals and plants survive the now frozen continent at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival (3rd – 5th May).  The hands-on experience involved unique Antarctic animal and plant fossils and children could check their height to see if they were as tall as a giant fossil penguin. Visitors came face to face with the unusual creatures that live around Antarctica’s coast today, including sea spiders and giant isopods (marine woodlice) bringing ecological science to life. The interactive display let the public meet real polar scientists, learn how Antarctic they uncover clues to the Earth’s past climate, see how they live in tents, try on their clothes required and check out the food they eat. The whole event was a huge success.

Evolution of Antartica_Outreach2018


Focusing the Lens on Evolution: Reaching the Spanish-Speaking Public Through Social Media Videos
Applicants: Carlos Guarnizo (CO), Vicky Flechas (CO), Andrew J. Crawford (CO)
Funding provided: € 1400

Ciencia Café, pa’ Sumercé (Science for YOU) is a year-old initiative that aims to connect the Spanish-speaking public directly to the excellent research in evolution and other fields of science being done by Colombian scientists within Colombia and worldwide. The project features a live monthly café in Bogotá that consistently draws 200+ audience members, plus an active virtual space where original video interviews are published weekly on YouTube. In these interviews, featured scientists communicate their recently-published research in a fun and entertaining way. We have quickly reached over 11,000 subscribers on Facebook and over 65,000 total views on YouTube.

We thank ESEB for providing us with funds to buy a camera to improve the quality of our videos! We are continuously working to attract a wider audience, so please join us by searching CienciaSumerce on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube!

Visit our webpage here:

Bring back the dodo? – Edinburgh International Science Festival 2019
Applicant: Edinburgh International Science Festival (UK)
Funding provided: € 1500

Extinction, evolution and de-extinction are all topics that have proved hugely popular in modern entertainment and culture – however they have also been widely misrepresented. Premiering at the 2019 Edinburgh International Science Festival, we will create a brand new comedy style event that asks: ‘did Jurassic Park get any of it right?’

With clips and excerpts from films, TV and books, the panel of geneticists and extinction experts will chat through their resurrection biology research and discuss moments from Jurassic Park and Jasper Fforde’s ‘The Eyre Affair’, to explore the validity of bringing back extinct species such as the dodo and the woolly mammoth. We will interrogate the potential benefits and costs of de-extinction and explore the possible impacts on wider ecosystems – including country-specific examples like lynx and beavers in Scotland.

Winter Camp for Peruvian children: teaching basic concepts on evolution
Applicants: Marta Marialva (CH), Myra Flores (PE), Marco Fumasoni (US), Angela Quispe-Salcedo (PE), Pedro Romero (PE), Sheena Sangay (PE)
Funding provided: € 1500

Science education is the landmark to encourage critical thinking and should be introduced in early stages of school training. However, bringing the scientific process to the classroom through the application of inquiry-based learning methodologies and hands-on experimentation is still often difficult and consequently neglected. This workshop intended to improve the scientific knowledge of young Peruvian students because we highly support the idea that education and scientific knowledge should be for everyone – regardless of social status and gender. Given the negative impact that gender stereotypes has in girls’ attitudes towards science we therefore decided to focus on teaching girls about a subject that is typically under-represented in the curriculum but that help us to have an integrative and multidisciplinary understanding of the world – Evolution.

We organized four days of training to teach different aspects of the evolutionary process: from the production of genetic variation (at the DNA level) to the selection of variants (at the population level) and adaptations (at the species level). Several hands-on experiments and games were developed in order to turn students into active players in their learning process. They were be encouraged to work in teams, and stimulated to question, to formulate hypothesis, to design experiments, to record observations, to communicate results and to draw conclusions. This teaching methodology intended to improve their understanding about the scientific process and Evolution, and to encourage critical thinking. In addition, we aimed to show that evolutionary principles can be applied into various contexts of our daily life. Hence, we looked at the different adaptations of the unicellular organism that allows the production of many fermented foods (yeast).

Overall, we observed that this workshop had positive effects as all students showed interest to participate in future workshops of this nature, confirmed that they learned new things, and described sessions as fun or amazing. In addition, for 33% of the participants this was the first contact they had with a female scientist; we observed an increase in students’ interest in science and in their motivation to continue studies after secondary school. These observations justify our intention to extend the project to other participants including the rural areas of Peru – where school drop rate after completing secondary school is higher – and to other countries including Portugal – where we already established partnerships with Cova do Mar (, a non-profit organization working with children in need, and PAJE (, a platform that helps foster children.

→ More information available in the report: Evolution Workshop @Peru_Report

The evolution of plants on Madagascar: who eats their fruits now that the giant lemurs have gone extinct?
Applicant: Renske Onstein (DE)
Funding provided: € 1500

Outreach video that aims to improve the understanding of evolutionary concepts (e.g., genetic connectivity, bottlenecks, speciation and extinction) at secondary schools and universities. These concepts are illustrated using video shootage from our fieldtrip to Madagascar, as well as by use of animations. We study the evolutionary fate of Malagasy megafaunal-fruited plants (fruits > 3 cm) since the extinction of their primary seed dispersers: giant lemurs and elephant birds. Are these plants genetically and morphologically adapting to new, smaller-bodied frugivores or have they gone through genetic bottlenecks and are possibly facing extinction? The video will illustrate these ideas guided by the scientific and conservation activities performed by researchers on Madagascar. ”

Evolutionary Tales
Applicants: Daisy Hessenberger (CH) & Chloé Schmidt (CA)
Funding provided: € 1500

The tale of the three little pigs versus the wolf in their houses of straw, sticks, and bricks is a lesson about hard work. Retold from a biologist’s perspective, their classic struggle could also teach us about anti-predator behavior, plasticity, or perhaps adaptation!

We created a collection of illustrated short stories that delves into fundamental ideas in ecology and evolution, such as speciation, genetic drift, local adaptation, and natural selection, among others. “Evolutionary Tales” is a fun twist on traditional fairy tales that make complex subjects easy to understand by telling them through stories. The goal of this project is to increase curiosity both about evolution and how researchers study it. By reimagining narratives known and loved by many, we endeavor to include audiences who are not commonly reached by science communication efforts. Evolutionary Tales is freely available online in English, French, German, and Spanish:

March 2018 – Accepted Proposals

Evolution in your school Tour 2018: Talking with children to appreciate local biodiversity
Applicants: Lenin Chumbe (PE), Rosa María Cañedo (PE), Pamela Sanchez (PE), Nicol Faustino (PE), Gerardo Gutierrez (PE), José Luis Melo (PE), and Ana Lucía Rodriguez (PE)
Funding provided: € 1200

Our goal is to let young scholars learn about evolution trough examples of Peruvian biodiversity. We want to start this project by developing modules focusing on evolution and biodiversity topics of four selected groups: fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. These modules will be brought to each school in order to make a workshop. Each module will display the principal lineages, evolutionary trees, evolutionary history, and their adaptations to their habitat of the selected groups within Peruvian biodiversity. Moreover, each module will contain maps, infographics, interactive material and models to explain evolution. We want to make workshop in schools in rural and peripheral areas because we have realized for many schools is difficult to visit an external educational institution such as natural history museum mainly because of lack financial support and long-distance trips implied.

Evolutionary Biology stars in the Sunday edition of the Catalan quality daily newspaper ARA
Applicants: Institute of Evolutionary Biology (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, ES) and Diari ARA (ES)
Funding provided: € 2000

In the occasion of IBE’s 10th anniversary, the Catalan newspaper ARA published (July 1st) a special edition on evolution under the leitmotiv “How we were and how we will be” making it coincide with the anniversary of the Day Darwin and Wallace’s theory on natural selection was first presented to the scientific community, back in 1858. This issue has dealt with topics such as the origin of life and the origin of multicellularity, the origin of humans, what makes us humans, and how we will be in the future / the future of our species. Ten pages and the cover of the newspaper were devoted to evolution and two online interactive applications were launched:

The project is aimed at explaining evolution to a lay audience, sparking people’s interest in evolutionary biology and making visible our Institute and the research it undertakes. Despite IBE having a wide expertise in outreach, most of the initiatives launched up to date are targeted either to children and youngsters or to a scientifically literate adult audience. Our 10th anniversary seemed a good opportunity to take a step forward and reach a much wider and general audience. With that in mind, collaborating with a quality daily newspaper has demonstrated to be highly effective and reached a huge impact towards this goal.
The amount of funding provided by ESEB was used to pay part of the production of the interactives. The Institute of Evolutionary Biology and the newspaper ARA cofounded the action.

Tracking the genetic footprints of malaria mosquitoes (Outreach video)
Applicants: Josefa González (ES), Diego Ayala (FR), Roberto Torres (ES)
Funding provided: 2000

A science outreach video oriented to improving public knowledge about evolution globally by showcasing an ongoing research project aimed at understanding the adaptation of Anopheles malaria mosquitoes to different environments. The scientific project showcased, is a collaboration between the CIRMF (Gabon), the CSIC (Spain), and the IRD (France), and it shows how science advances through international collaborations, and by combining laboratory approaches with field work. Through a field-trip in a Natural National Park in Gabon, the video pictures the day to day of a scientific field trip, and explains to the public at large the importance of understanding species evolution, and how this understanding has consequences in our daily life. The video included the educational actions performed by researchers in local Gabonese rural villages to raise awareness about the importance of the scientific project carried out in their communities. The video showcase the efforts of the researchers during field-work in the African rain forest to obtain the material to carry out the research.

The objective of the video is to raise awareness in the general public about the importance of evolutionary research on Anopheles mosquito, responsible for human malaria parasite transmission across the world, and the relevance of this research in malaria control strategies.

Produced and directed by: Roberto Torres (La Ciència Al Teu Món – Fruit Fly, Adaptive Science Outreach) Screenplay: Roberto Torres, Josefa González, IBE (UPF-CSIC) and Diego Ayala (IRD, CIRMF)
Footage: Roberto Torres and Nil Rahola
Music: The_Dubwegians by Creator_Dub (Creative Commons)
Funded by: The European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB)

Butterfly evolution & ecology: flexible outreach through multilingual modular materials
Applicants: Krzysztof Kozak (PL/PA), Carolina Concha (CL/PA), and Ana Pessoa Pinharanda (PT/US)
Funding provided: 1100

“Although Heliconius butterflies have captured the attention of naturalists and biologists for centuries, few members of the public are aware what this wonderful group can teach us about evolution, genetics and ecology. At the same time, the few outreach materials about Heliconius that do exist are static: designed for a specific audience and message, exclusively in English. We are designing a system of dynamic outreach modules that can be (a) modified for a particular audience; (b) combined into a specific material/activity, using templates for leaflets and posters. As a test case, we will distribute a series of outreach materials in Spanish focusing on prominent aspects of Heliconius (life cycle, spatial ecology, mimicry, pattern genetics), to display and distribute at nature Visitor Centres in Panama, and later in other developing countries where we study butterflies.”

“Rock, Paper, Scissors – when microbes play games”
Applicants: Mariann Landsberger (UK) and Andrei Serpe (UK)
Funding provided: € 1700

“Rock, Paper, Scissors – When microbes play games” is an educational graphic novel illustrating the interactions between bacteriophages and their hosts. The graphic novel is the result of a collaboration that occurred from mid-February to mid-July 2018 at the shared Cornwall Campus of University of Exeter and Falmouth University between Mariann Landsberger, a postdoctoral researcher, and 2018-Fine Art graduate, Andrei Serpe. The graphic designer Chris Lewis helped out with the typesetting and formatting of the English, German and French versions from mid-July to mid-October 2018. A trilingual blog ( was maintained throughout the project featuring sketches, links and updates, announcing events and providing recollections of past activities.

A prototype of the graphic novel and artwork was displayed in galleries (Fox Gallery at Falmouth University, ESI creative exchange space at University of Exeter) from end May – end June 2018 to gauge the public’s interest and to get feedback on how to improve the book. Incorporating this feedback into the final version, the graphic novel and artwork were exhibited and distributed at venues in Falmouth (The Spring Gallery at The Poly, The Hand Bar) from beginning July – end September 2018.

Evolution in Action – taking evolution research to the classroom
Applicants: Carita Lindstedt-Kareksela (FI), Aigi Margus (FI), and Emily Burdfield-Steel (FI)
Funding provided: € 1200

In a recent questionnaire published by the Environmental Ministry of Finland, Finns were less concerned about the loss of biodiversity as a global threat than climate change or plastic waste. One reason may be that knowledge about biodiversity, ‘where it comes from’ and how we are all dependent on it does not permeate the research community. Developing workshops and outreach venues, where we better disseminate this knowledge, is key to solving this. We started “Evolution in Action –project” in 2017. Our aim is to promote children’s understanding of the evolution, its timescales and how humans impact ecological and evolutionary processes. This will guarantee that people understand how biological interactions shape and maintain biodiversity and how human actions currently threaten it. Our workshops are based around practical activities and will promote critical thinking skills and inquiry-based learning. We also organize short courses for teachers and teacher students to use these workshops in their own teaching. From the beginning of 2019, we started to collaborate with artists to investigate how to experience science through art methods. Together we create high-quality content that helps teachers to present scientific ideas while also linking it with art teaching, creative thinking and the new Finnish Teaching curriculum. These workshops encourage a participatory society for citizens and demonstrate how scientific information is produced.

Link to the Evolution in action website:

Science Comic “Epigenetics – Bridge between genome and environment”
Applicant: Alexandra Weyrich (DE)
Funding provided: € 1500

Epigenetics is a recently emerging field of research that has challenged the established views on how traits are transmitted between generations and has therefore opened up a more comprehensive view on evolutionary processes. We intended to reduce the complexity of research-based knowledge by illustrating the field of epigenetics. The resulting Science Comic “Epigenetics – bridge between genome and environment” was published in December 2016 in German and English (Authors: Alexandra Weyrich and Olaf Nowacki; Illustrator: Annette Köhn). In this ESEB funded project we will continue by translating the Science comic in more languages to make the topic available to a wider audience. Across Europe, biological and evolutionary education in schools could thus be improved by providing material that explains this recent field of research in different European languages.

→ Project report: 190528 IZW_Project Report for Website_Epigenetik

September 2017 – Accepted Proposals

A Timeline of Human Evolutionary Tree with Actual/Replica Skulls
Applicants: Çağrı Bakırcı (USA), Babür Erdem (TR), Ezgi Altınışık (CZ), and Mehmet Somel (TR)
Funding provided: € 2000

The project will involve a public, permanent exhibition of hominid fossils that will allow anybody visiting the Department of Biological Sciences at the Middle East Technical University to see and learn about the evolutionary history of human beings and their close relatives. The goal of the exhibition is to teach the public that human evolution is not only about a caricaturized version of human-monkey relationship, but it is a complicated yet compelling history of how species change through evolutionary processes and how species like humans are not special in the realm of biology. The exhibition will have real and/or replica fossils of human skulls that will be arranged in the most current version of the human evolutionary tree with plenty of information about each species that are taken from the literature but simplified for public audience. The exhibit will use a bright and attractive design to catch the attention of visitors and students, and it will be protected within a glass case reinforced by wood.

Workshop “Evolution for girl scientists”/ “Taller de evolución para niñas con ciencia”
Applicants: María Cristina Carmona-Isunza, Sergio Ancona, and Margarita Martínez Gómez (MX)
Funding provided: € 1481

We will develop Evolution workshops for girls in several communities of the small state of Tlaxcala in Mexico, one of the states with the lowest education scores in the country. These workshops will consist of three fun activities that will teach girls the main concepts of evolution: generation of variation, natural selection, adaptation and Darwin’s theory of evolution. We have been carrying out several science activities in the past year with girls with the main objective of inspiring and attracting them into science carriers. By promoting interest since an early age in science, this program wants to contribute to close the existing gap in the number of girls interested and finally enrolled in a science career versus the number of boys. We will now include the Evolution workshop as part of our outreach activities.

Training secondary school biology teachers to use hands-on classroom activities to teach evolution
Applicant: Habiba Chirchir (US)
Funding provided: € 1500

In July 2018, we successfully completed the high school biology teachers’ workshop in Mogotio, Kenya. We trained 26 teachers on classroom activities pertaining to: (i) resistance to chloroquine, and (ii) phylogeny of the human fossil record. We were able to provide teachers with teaching materials on site suited for a rural classroom devoid of computers and Internet access. Furthermore, we conducted a pre-and post-workshop survey. The results were interesting, and showed a shift in attitudes in teaching and a demand for this type of training. There was also a lot enthusiasm among teachers in adapting the exercises. The results from the surveys will be presented as a poster at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Cleveland in April 2019.

Nearly 100 Years Since the Scopes Trial: Teaching Evolution in Tennessee
Applicant: Nicole Creanza (US)
Funding provided: € 500

Here in the southern United States, there is a strong debate over teaching evolution versus creationism in the classroom, where evolution is still often treated as a controversy. As a consequence of these attitudes, misconceptions about evolution are common and students struggle to understand the basic principles. We created kits with four games are designed to teach kids some commonly misunderstood principles in evolution. The games are: 1) a puzzle game to teach the role of DNA in evolution, 2) an active gym-style game to teach predator-prey dynamics and concepts of the timescales of evolution, 3) a craft activity to teach kids the principle of descent with modification, and 4) an indoor competitive game emulating Darwin’s studies on finch evolution to teach the concept of natural selection. These games were tested with middle school age students (ages 10-13), who enjoyed playing them. We assembled 11 kits and donated 9 of them to classrooms covering rural school districts across the state of Tennessee, gave one kit to a student science volunteer program at Vanderbilt to take with them to local classrooms, and kept one more for our organization to use for future outreach events. This kit will help kids learn evolutionary principles interactively and with materials not otherwise available. It will also aid teachers when they teach the topic and ensure that the kids understand the foundational concepts and are well informed on what evolution really means and does not mean. The kit contents are either reusable, inexpensive, or could be replaced with common classroom or household items so that anyone anywhere can make their own kit. The instructions and materials lists for all games are posted online here ( for anyone who is interested.

DNA Unravelled: Strawberry DNA Extraction
Applicants: Megan Phifer-Rixey and Brian Reiss (US)
Funding provided: € 1000

The aim of our project was to engage with young students, exploring concepts related to DNA and evolution, while also encouraging them to see themselves as future scientists. Teams of undergraduates visited five local elementary schools and guided classes aiming to extract DNA from strawberries using everyday items. The workshops highlighted the scientific process and the significance of DNA and evolution in our everyday lives. Importantly, the interactive nature of the workshops gave students a chance to be “scientists” and to work directly with college students pursuing careers in science. Funds from the ESEB Outreach Initiative allowed us to engage about 500 students in this activity and to provide teachers with kits to continue this workshop in the future at low cost.

Further information about the workshops and the protocols used is available at

Narratives of evolution in the primeval forest
Applicants: Barbara Pietrzak and Zofia Prokop (PL)
Funding provided: € 1000

Altogether, 46 people participated in the workshop held on 7-8 April 2018 at the Jagiellonian University (UJ) in Kraków, Poland. The participants came from different localities around the country and represented the wide spectrum of fields and expertise involved in scientific inquiry and communication: from evolutionary biologists, through psychologists, language teachers, to story tellers, writers, and visual artists. Before the workshop, the participants exchanged their field of expertise and committed to one of the working groups. The workshop began with a creativity incentive organized by Interpret Europe representatives, which was followed by introductory lectures by three invited senior scientists, experts in evolution, ecology and forest biology. The brain storming and project group work was initiated with an introduction to storytelling and narrative building. The second day of the workshop was devoted to the development of the initial ideas and crafting them into project drafts. The working groups continued developing their ideas after the workshop, with different projects being currently at different stage of realization.

Projects finalization and results dissemination is in progress. Two of the five working groups have so far continued their projects to a developed stage: 1. Ecological succession in the natural forest card game is in its beta-version, scientifically worked out, with its narrative and logics, tested in play, with suggestions for gameplay corrections. 2. Film animation telling two alternative stories – on natural forest regrowth after disturbance versus supported restoration via tree planting, including the thread of natural selection in action – is at the stage of script finalization.

Tackling creationism in Serbia: effective communication of evolution in high schools
Applicants: Marina Rafajlović (SE), Mark Ravinet (NO), Vladimir Jovanović (RS), Olja Toljagić (NO), and Roger Butlin (UK)
Funding provided: € 1500

Educational workshop for high school teachers in Serbia

“Effectively communicating evolution”


Marina Rafajlović (Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden);
Mark Ravinet (Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway);
Vladimir Jovanović (Department of Genetic Research, Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, Belgrade, Serbia);
Roger K. Butlin (Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Recently, evolution has been seriously questioned in Serbia: a petition calling for Darwin’s theory to be excluded from teaching in schools has been presented to the Serbian Minister of Education. This calls for urgent effective communication of evolution to the general public in Serbia. To this end, we will organise a workshop “Effectively communicating evolution” primarily for high-school biology teachers. The workshop will consist of three main parts: 1) lectures and discussions focusing on difficulties in teaching evolution and how to overcome them; 2) interactive part focusing on understanding evolution using evolution-related computer games, such as “Dawkin’s biomorphs”, “Peppered moths” and similar; and 3) popular-science lectures with the focus on the evolution of modern humans. We believe that our workshop will promote innovative teaching of evolution and clarify to the students many of the common misconceptions regarding evolution.

From cells to domains – Evolution of life on Earth
Applicant: Serbian Evolutionary Society rep. by Biljana Stojković, Mirko Đorđević, and Uroš Savković (RS)
Funding provided: € 1100

The educational exhibit “From cells to domains – evolution of life on Earth” was a great success. Visited by more than 4000 people, the impact of presenting the evidence and reality of evolution to general public was considerable. The exhibit itself served as an “evolutionary hub” that managed to bring professors from various disciplines and school teachers on one place. Rich and eventful program, which accompanied the exhibit, uplifted and expanded its impact. This exhibit was also a unique opportunity for students to take active part in promoting science, engage in science communication and explain the importance of evolutionary biology in modern world. During the exhibit, students had a chance to connect and get ideas about diverse outreach activities that they could realize and implement in their local communities. This aspect of the exhibit was especially important and had a special weight considering the ever present threat from nonscientific and pseudoscientific views in Serbian society.

At the end, we hope that this exhibit served as an inspiration for similar activities that might take place in Serbia and we hope that we will see more such events in the future.

March 2017 – Accepted Proposals

Evolution in Action – taking evolution research to the classroom
Applicant: Emily Burdfield-Steel (FI)
Funding provided: € 1100


Twitter: @EvoWorkshops

Since receiving funding in 2017 the Evolution in Action Project has successfully developed and implemented our evolutionary workshops in schools and public events across Finland. We have received extremely positive feedback from children, teachers, and undergraduate students from the Teacher Education Department at the University of Jyväskylä. We have visited eight schools, ranging from pre-schools to high schools within Finland as of May 2018. In total, 642 children have taken part in the Aposematism Workshop and 604 in the Invasion Biology Workshop.

Should I stay or should I go?
Applicant: José Manuel Cano (FI)
Funding provided: € 1000

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 (NL)
Funding provided: € 1500

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 ( 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 allowed us to translate the game into English, to reach a much bigger audience for communication and education about spatial sorting.

Image_CobbenReport_Can YOU survive climate change

‘Can you survive climate change? Try it yourself!’

→ More information available in the report: ProjectReport_ClimatePursuitGoesGlobal


Darwin Day at the Museum
Applicant: Jennah Dharamshi, Eleanor Heyworth, and Daniel Tamarit (SE)
Funding provided: € 500

Darwin Day is an international celebration of the famous biologist Charles Darwin, and it provides an excellent opportunity for the popularisation of evolutionary biology and science as a whole. Together with 60 young researchers from Uppsala University, we designed and organized a highly interactive evolution-themed event at the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (Natural History Museum, NRM) in Stockholm over Darwin Day weekend (February 10-11, 2018).

See this report (OutreachReport_Dharamshi) for more information and visit our project website for details on the activities and the picture gallery at

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

Due to success of the first meeting and the needful support by ESEB, the Study Group of Evolutionary Biology (GESEB) realized the 2nd Alagoas’ Meeting on Evolution in March 2018 in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil. This is a unique event about evolutionary biology, resulting from continued effort by GESEB, a voluntary study group about evolution, created by students of a public university from Brazil in 2014. The Alagoas’ Meeting brought important national and regional researches, local education professionals, and students. The objective was to increase the connection between academia and society, promoting a dialogue about science and evolutionary biology teaching, philosophy, and history. There was debates, lectures and short-term courses. Concerned with public schools, GESEB provided training for teachers by professors and reseachers about the main difficulties faced in the classroom when teaching evolution and has presented new teaching methods. Furthermore, the meeting had the honor to promote the launch of a new translated version of the 1st edition of the book “On The Origin of Species” (in portuguese “A Origem das Espécies”). This version has been carefully revised and translated by the renowned brazilian researcher PhD. Nelio Bizzo, and was released at the 2nd Alagoas’ Meeting on Evolution by professor Bizzo himself.

Report: Report IIEAE 2018

Evolution on the way
Applicant: Vladimir Jovanović (RS)
Funding provided: € 1200

The aim of our project is to explain evolutionary mechanisms to elementary and high school students through the interactive workshops, that would promote evolutionary biology. Workshops would be part of EvoCorner activities of Researchers’ Night ReFocuS project in 2017. We envision two types of workshops: shorter ones that will travel in a truck-laboratory to three small towns in Serbia (May September 2017), and the ones that will take place in 7 bigger towns (29th September 2017, Researchers’ Night). Workshops travelling in the Science Truck are intended for groups of 20-30 pupils and would last for an hour with 4 workshops per day. The scientists will be presenting evolutionary biology research in Serbia (selection for longevity in weevil strains, metapopulation dynamics etc.), as well as working on evolutionary hypotheses (e.g. evolution of giraffe neck) with students. During the Researchers’ night, visitors will learn more on evolutionary mechanisms, especially the role of migrations. Among other things, we plan to develop the board game “bird migrations” that will be played during the Researchers’ Night 2017, and be given to visitors as a take away.

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

Outcome: This project aimed at providing new educational material to high school teachers (K-12) in order to improve their teaching capacity in evolutionary biology. We used the e-book “Introducción a la Biología Evolutiva” (available at to develop new teaching tools. One result has been the development of a board game named “Mosaico Evolutivo” (Evolutionary Mosaic), that is based on evolutionary concepts such as genetic drift, natural selection and coevolution.
This board game was presented to Chilean teachers during three workshops in 2017. These workshops, for secondary school teachers, entitled “Evolution in Action: Educational proposals for the classroom” took place in Iquique, Santiago, and Talca. Each workshop consisted of lectures that updated the teachers on evolutionary concepts, and a practical part in which the teachers became familiar and tested the above-mentioned board game.
Impressions of these workshops and further information is available at:

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 (AR)
Funding provided: € 1350

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 (IT)
Funding provided: € 1500

The Italian Peninsula is a 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 aimed to set up a permanent exhibition and to organize a public outreach seminar to inform the public about 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 exhibition “Places of Evolution” was inaugurated publicly at the international museum day proposed by the International Council of Museums – ICOM Italy (May 18 2018) in the rooms of De Lieto Palace, a historical palace located in the centre of Maratea. The exhibition was publicized through the press, social networks, paper invitations and posters. In the evening, a public seminar was organized with the participation of Mr. Domenico Cipolla, the Mayor of Maratea, Miss. Isabella Di Deco, Councillor for culture of the Council of Maratea, Miss. Tina Polisciano, President of the Cultural Centre “José Mario Cernicchiaro”, and Mr. Michele Saponaro, Head of Press Office and Institutional Communication of the Regional Museum Pole of Basilicata.

In June, the exhibition moved to Tarantini Palace, a historical palace located within a park in the centre of Maratea which hosts cultural events. It is well known to the citizens, visited by students of the schools of the region, and recommended by tourist guides. The exhibition is permanent; hence visitor numbers will increase in the future. The exhibition will be updated with further results about evolution in the sea rock pools along the coasts of Maratea from the group of the Evolutionary Ecology Laboratory of Sapienza University.

A report of the scientific activities and results obtained in Maratea will be included into the documents that the City of Maratea is submitting to be elected as UNESCO site. Sapienza University and the Maratea city are working to create 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 (AT & SK)
Funding provided: € 1500

Our project, aimed at high school students in Slovakia, attracted more than 100 students from over 50 schools. The students spent the school year learning about evolutionary topics through an extracurricular correspondence course, Selected Topics in Evolutionary Biology (#STEB), and participating in the competition.

The projects consisted of a series of 5 issues, dealing with the different evolutionary topics: ‘Evolution in Action’; ‘Out of Africa’; ‘Evolution, Antibiotics and Us’; ‘Let’s talk about sex!’; and finally, ‘Evolution of Cooperation and Altruism’. Each series contained an article written in a way that was clear and attractive to high school students. Students read the article and then answered several multiple choice questions and, most importantly, carried out a project. After each series, we evaluated answers and project reports and sent students feedback on their work.

At the end of the competition (beginning of June), 20 of the top students were invited to IST Austria for a two-day meeting. They toured the campus and visited several scientific labs, where they saw scientists at work and learned, among other things, about virtual reality for bacteria. They also participated in several hands-on activities about selection and evolutionary biology, heard various talks, and had the chance to chat informally with scientists at a pizza party. At the end of their visit, students received their certificates and chose one of many scientific books as a prize. The project was supported by IST Austria and ESEB Outreach Fund.

The next competition started and all information about it is available on the STEB website at If you are interested in the material (for instance for running the competition in your country), please get in touch with us (, or sign up for the competition.

September 2016 – Accepted Proposals

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

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

“Nothing in Biology makes sense, unless in the light of evolution.” These famous words by Theodosius Dobzhansky are repeated in every class on evolutionary biology across the globe. Yet, evolutionary biology remains one of the neglected branches of biology in many curricula, be it at the school, undergraduate or postgraduate levels. The Ambassadors of Evolution workshop was proposed with the aim of creating an interest on evolution among students in middle school, who have been introduced to Biology, but are yet to reach the point of no return. 50 students from classes V to VIII of Oriental Public School, Kalyani attended a two-day workshop at the IISER Kolkata campus on 19th and 20th August 2017. The workshop comprised of 4 lectures, hands-on experiments and the screening of a film. At the end of the workshop, the students were divided into groups of 4-5 and asked to select topics of their choice for the science fair to be hosted by their school on 8th September 2017. The science fair was conducted on the afternoon of 8th September 2017 and was attended by all students from classes V to XI (the highest class at the school). The total number of students was about 600. The outreach program was thus highly successful in creating awareness of and interest in a large number of young children. In addition, the volunteers, who were PhD and Master’s students of IISER Kolkata, gained exposure in training young people, which would no doubt be of use to them in their careers.

Poster of the event: Ambassadors of Evolution

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

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, created 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 covers topics such as plant-pollinator interactions and floral evo-devo.

→ Episodes:

1. Harvard University with Asst. Prof. Robin Hopkins and post-doc Heather Briggs about butterfly pollinator preference reinforcing Phlox reproductive isolation and color variation. Released 10/18/16 with 3,009 views as of 10/27/17:

2. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with Asst. Prof. Katy Heath about plant-microbe mutualisms for nutrient uptake. Released 12/19/16 with 1,192 views as of 10/27/17:

3.&4. University of California, Berkeley with Specht Lab PhD students about how plant collecting and herbarium specimens are used for plant evolution research (2 episodes). Part 1 released 1/31/17 with 1,375 views as of 10/27/17:; Part 2 released 3/10/17 with 721 views as of 10/27/17:

5. Boyce Thompson Institute on the campus of Cornell University with Asst. Prof. Joyce Van Eck, about genetic engineering technologies and how they differ from traditional selective breeding techniques. Released 8/4/17 with 1,345 views as of 10/27/17:

6. Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum with Dr. Ned Friedman (Arboretum director) and his PhD student Kristel Schoonderwoerd, about the evolution & development of tree winter buds. Released 11/29/17

7. Boyce Thompson Institute on the campus of Cornell University with USDA Scientist Michelle Cilia about the interaction triangle between citrus plants, citrus greening disease-causing bacteria, and the psyllid insect that transmits the infection. Released 09/13/18

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

Forest communities have existed for nearly 380 million years and the species that form forests are constantly changing through time. Speciation, migration, and extinction are important evolutionary forces that shape the composition of the forests that have existed in the past and persist today. This exhibit highlights the importance of biogeography in the creation of the forest communities of Northeastern North America by comparing a Miocene fossil flora collected in Clarkia, Idaho to a modern day flora in Vermont. The exhibit juxtaposes modern and Micoene leaves from the same genera – and sometimes even the same species – to present the idea that the forests around us are the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution.

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

ESEB provided funding to attend the National Association of Biology Teachers professional development conference in St. Louis Nov. 2017. We presented our educational activity focusing on evolution. Working with Dr. Alexa Warwick and Dr. Louise Mead at Michigan State University, our activity is a scalable classroom activity built for elementary through undergraduate students that illustrates how evolution occurs in a population over generations. Using a board-game type spinner, students assign phenotypes (plumage colour) and differential reproductive output to individual birds in a population, over successive generations. At the completion of the activity, students have created a pedigree of individuals, showing how plumage colour has changed over time and its relationship to surviving clades. Our current goal for the project is to summarize the activity for publication in the Evolution: Education and Outreach open access journal to provide educators access to the activity itself as well as supplemental worksheets and instructions.

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

The aim of the project was to visualize the principles behind the evolution and spread of infectious diseases. In our educational animation we focused on the impact of man, both in the past as in the present day.

Increasing mobility and trade, in combination with environmental and climate change drive the spread of parasites. Due to increasing temperatures, tropical diseases can now persist in temperate climates. Also behavioral and socioeconomic factors involved. The extremely complex and surprising evolution of parasites’ lifecycles is fascinating but usually invisible to the naked eye. The authors’ intention was to visualize such complex processes taking place in our closest environment, to boost people’s imagination concerning the parasites’ evolution, and to understand their role in this story.

The main concepts of the story have been explained through an animated infographic. Such form is usually facilitating the learning process and schematizing the newly acquired information. Such visualization effectively helps in understanding complex topics as well as engages the attention of the young and older public.

The produced visual material will be further used as workshop material at schools and museums, starting with the Royal Museum for Central Africa, which is currently in renovation, and will reopen in June 2018.

Follow the link to the video:

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

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 produced “HACE TIEMPO, Un viaje ilustrado por la paleontología Colombiana”, a book focusing on key concepts in paleontology, evolution, and climate over different geological periods in Colombia. The book is free of charge and the pdf version is available for download here: Jaramillo 2018 IS-IH_Hace tiempo

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

Thanks in part to the ESEB funds we developed an educational “video game” and incorporated the game into a museum-style emplacement that includes graphical and text informational panels. The installation focuses on an interactive video game to teach users (primarily K-12, but the game is fun for all ages!) about evolutionary adaptations for flight in different simulated environments. Users will play the “flight game,” with inputs provided by motion capture via an Xbox Kinect linked to a small PC. The flight game requires users to flap their arms with different effort to maintain flight across in-game altitudes (simulating different air-densities), but can “evolve” altered wing-morphologies, informed by our real data, to reduce required effort. Alongside informative displays, the Learner Outcomes will be to teach users about evolution of flight physiology and local adaptation to environmental variation. Given the available funds, we decided to focus our efforts on the “flight game” aspect of the installation, but with later funding from other sources we hope to expand the game with additional interactive modules. The game platform has been completed and currently resides in the Lozier lab at U Alabama (see, but the intention is to ultimately house the game at the UA Natural History Museum.

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

While NCSE’s Science Booster Club in Iowa City did not manage to produce the “Evolution at the Farmer’s Market” exhibit by spring of 2017 due to leadership transitions in the program, the exhibit was produced by fall of 2017.  During the spring of 2018 about 1,500 people in rural communities interacted with this exhibit, which was augmented to provide information about genetics as well as the evolution of food crops.  In August of 2018, this exhibit will be presented during the opening weekend of the Iowa State Fair, alongside an interactive touchscreen exhibit providing complementary genetics and evolution information.  The Iowa State Fair usually reports an audience of nearly 100,000 Iowans a day.  We anticipate that more than 15,000 Iowans from rural communities will interact directly with this exhibit through this centralized and augmented opportunity, in the context of a highly popular regional event focused on agriculture and community pride.

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

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

The goal of this project was to create a ‘symbiosis-themed’ card game for use as an educational and fun discussion starter, either in classrooms or in museums. The card game is based on the popular ‘top trumps’ concept – meaning that the game is mostly based on luck and not strategy. This means it can be introduced, played and discussed quickly with a range of ages and abilities. There is also a short instructions card and consistent design on the reverse of each card.

Picture of the cards "symbiosis war"Each card has a bold image of the specific symbiosis, different categories that are scored out of 10 and then a short blurb telling a little bit about the symbiotic relationship. This can stimulate discussion once the game is over.
A pre-print version of the card game was exhibited in 2018 at the Cheltenham Science Festival. It was shown as part of a stall on ‘Major Transitions in Evolution’, and was very popular with guests.
If you are interested in using the game as part of an exhibition or teaching, or want to develop it further, please contact Roberta Fisher on

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

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 aimed 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 ( Thanks to ESEB support we organized a workshop with high-school teachers and meetings between students and researchers to train and promote the use of PhylomeDB, the largest repository of evolutionary histories to answer questions related to the evolution of genes, pathways, and phenotypes. This pilot project was very successful and resulted in the elaboration of training material that is accessible to teachers and students who want to undertake a research project on evolution using publicly available data.

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

The 1st Alagoas’ Meeting on Evolution had been held on 09th-11th November 2016 in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil. This was 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 intended to increase the connection between academics and society, promoting a dialogue about evolution, evolution teaching, philosophy and history of biology. This event gathered evolution researchers of national and regional importance in Brazil, local education professionals and students, promoting exchange of experiences and knowledge on the theme. There had been debates, lectures, short-term courses, and poster presentations. In order to give special attention to public schools, we provided training for teachers about the main difficulties faced in the classroom when they need to teach evolution and suggested new methods. Additionally, secondary and high school students had been able to participate in activities that elucidate evolutionary concepts.

Summary report: Alagoas’ Meeting 2016

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

The outreach funding from ESEB enabled us to organise a two-day training workshop for selected junior high school science teachers from nine public schools in the Kumasi metropolis of Ghana.
This activity was organised in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi.

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

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

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 ( 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

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

A 3-day educational workshop on teaching evolution for science teachers has taken place in Mevlana Public and Science Center in Bornova in Izmir province between August 25-27, 2017. It became a very productive meeting for 18 teachers and 9 scientists. The first day of the workshop was devoted to scientific lectures by scientists. In the second day the participants developed educational activities for teaching evolution. The last day welcomed 10 children with whom teachers had chance to practise the educational activities. By also welcoming the families of these children, the workshop was concluded with a concert by the Şubadap Çocuk, a music band which composes educational songs for children and devoted one of their albums to evolution. The details of the workshop (program, photos, etc.) can be found in the website of the workshop:

As a part of the workshop, a 108 pages booklet was also compiled where the scientific lectures and educational activities in the workshop are presented. The first version of this booklet was distributed in the workshop. After receiving feedback from the teachers, we revised it and made it available to download freely from the workshop’s website:

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

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

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

“A picture book for local communities on evolutionary strategies of endemic wildlife”

In a recent cooperation between institutions from Germany and Namibia ( 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 planned to communicate the results of this research cooperation and knowledge on the concept of evolutionary adaptations to the local people in the study region in an easily understandable manner.

The goal of the project was to develop a picture book for children and their parents to communicate the results of this research cooperation embedded into a framework of several other aspects:

(a) teaching the concept of evolutionary adaptations
(b) increase awareness for local wildlife and conservation
(c) impart knowledge on the understanding of basic science

The picture book “The Magic Trick”

Bonos Adventure: The Magic Trick Oryx antelope and survival in the desert

Children’s book, 17x17cm, 24 pages

Idea, concept and story: Kathleen Röllig,
Illustrations: Steffen Gumpert
Scientific consultation: David Lehmann, John KE Mfune, Christian Voigt
Project management: Miriam Brandt, Heribert Hofer

The story:Bono the hare, Jinny the mouse and Otto the bat live under the hot African sun. One morning, a stranger comes to the desert. The three friends follow him and find they have embarked on quite an adventure…”

Take home message of the story: Oryx can consume poisonous plants in order to survive periods of drought.

The ESEB funds were used for the printing, translations and distribution of the book in Namibia.

More information on

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

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

‘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

→ 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.

Image of the games

The Evolution’s toolkit (camBio: 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 Andean 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.

The games are freely available at the Repositorio Institucional Humboldt:

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

→ 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

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.

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

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

“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

→ 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 – – 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

‘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

→ 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

→ 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

→ 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 (

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

→ 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.

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

→ 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:

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

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

→ Summary: 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 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, 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

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

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

→ Summary:
I’m a Scientist is a public engagement activity that gets scientists talking to school students all over Ireland online at
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:

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

→ 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

→ 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

→ 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.

Applicants: Tatiana Giraud and Laetitia Giraud, France
Funding provided: € 1500

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

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

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:
→ Get some impressions about the events by viewing “Glimpses

→ View 18 of the posters here:


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

→ 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

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

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

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

This proposal funds the development of an interactive Tree of Life component to the online educational portal in Croatia for teaching of biology (, 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

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

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

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

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.

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

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,
→ 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

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

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

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

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

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 (; “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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.