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EuroStemCell: Europe’s stem cell hub

17 Apr, 2012
A human embryonic stem cell. Image credit: Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images

A human embryonic stem cell

Stem cells are in the news a lot, but it can be hard to pick out the true science from the hype. How can patients, school students and members of the public make sense of this fast-changing area of research? EuroStemCell aims to meet this challenge and engage the public in developments in this complex area of science.

Disclaimer: EuroStemCell is not affiliated with the Wellcome Trust. Views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

Our aim is to help European citizens understand stem cells. We want to provide accurate information, but also to encourage real dialogue between scientists and the public. The goal is to enable people to understand, question and form opinions on the science they read about in the newspapers, learn about at school and that will affect future healthcare.

We’re funded by the European Commission and our partners represent more than 90 European stem cell and regenerative medicine research laboratories. Social scientists, ethicists and science communicators are part of our core team, and this partnership makes us well placed to engage with many audiences about stem cell science.

EuroStemCell started in March 2010. Our first two years have been a busy and fascinating journey. Over 60 scientists from across Europe have written or reviewed content for us, and many others are using our public engagement tools or helping translate our website into different languages.  Here’s a brief summary of some of our resources and activities.

Information: the latest science from the experts

At the heart of our project is our website. In 2011, our site received over 12,000 visits per month from Europeans looking for reliable, independent information on stem cell research and its impact on society.

Our scientists and communicators work closely together to produce:

  • Fact sheets – short summaries of specific areas of stem cells and regenerative medicine research; 13 published so far
  • FAQs – answers to frequently asked questions about stem cell therapies
  • News and views – in-depth coverage of hot topics, expert interviews and commentaries, plus the latest news from our project

Education: Road-tested resources to download

Whether you’re a teacher looking for a lesson plan, a scientist in need of help presenting your work to the public, or a science communicator running a science festival event, EuroStemCell has educational tools to help:

  • Stem cell toolkit – our own fully tested downloadable resources for a variety of educational settings
  • Resource directory – more than 60 resources about stem cell research and regenerative medicine, fully catalogued and searchable

Conversation: Online, in person and multilingual

In our first two years, we’ve had lots of fascinating conversations both online and face-to-face. Visitors post comments and send us their questions, and we’re meeting people on Twitter (@eurostemcell) and Facebook too. We’re involved in events across Europe and our tools are being used in teacher training, at science festivals and in schools.

We’re also talking in many languages – our website is available in four languages, with more content being translated all the time, and new languages coming soon.

Get in touch

With our second birthday behind us, we are taking stock of what we’ve done so far, and we want to collect feedback and ideas about what we should do next. We’d love to hear your ideas, so do contact us or sign up for our newsletter

Emma Kemp, Information and Communications Manager, EuroStemCell.


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