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New exhibition explores the DIY revolution that is transforming scientific research

A new exhibition opens this summer at the Science Museum that will explore how members of the public are playing a greater role in scientific research than ever before. 

Beyond the Lab, which forms part of the EU-supported initiative Sparks, tells the stories of nine different innovators who are using crowd-sourced data, community lab projects and DIY apparatus to revolutionise front-line scientific research. 

The nine innovators’ projects are explored through objects, video interviews and photographs that illustrate the breadth and strength of contemporary scientific practice across Europe today. The case studies range from The Mosquito Atlas Project’s Doreen Walther, who crowd-sources mosquitoes from across Germany to provide a vital monitoring service allowing prediction and planning for outbreaks, to Sara Riggare, who has Parkinson’s disease and uses wearable technology to track her symptoms and customise her treatments.

Aimed at bridging the gap between the incredible pace of scientific innovation and society, Sparks pairs this exhibition with public workshops and events across 29 European countries to engage and inform people about the power of citizens in advancing research. 

The data we produce through our daily lives generate unprecedented amounts of information in areas as diverse as dietary habits and epidemics. Beyond the Lab considers the ground-breaking opportunities this presents to carry out scientific research in the public eye - involving citizens, scientists and companies in what policy makers call Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). 

Beyond the Lab also features three specially commissioned artworks. Following a three-month residency at Ars Electronica, Anouk Wipprecht, Lucy McRae and Jakob and Lea Illera present works based on their perception of technology in health, medicine and well-being. 

Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group said: “Citizen scientists date back centuries but what is remarkable is how they are on the march and increasingly taking charge of science which, through technology, is the greatest force acting on culture today.” 

Louis Buckley, Exhibition Project Lead, Beyond the Lab said: “This project shows the scope for citizens being empowered by opportunities to take science learning and innovation into their own hands. We’re excited to be reflecting this growing part of contemporary science practice through this exhibition and as part of the Sparks initiative.” 

The exhibition is being funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union and will go on a European tour following its launch at the Science Museum.

Notes to Editors

About the Science Museum
As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. More information can be found at sciencemuseum.org.uk.

About Sparks
Sparks is collaboration between 33 organisations from all EU Member States and Switzerland. The project aims to promote Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) through exhibitions, events and publications. Find out more at: www.sparksproject.eu

About Discover South Kensington
Discover South Kensington brings together the Science Museum and other leading cultural and educational organisations to promote innovation and learning. South Kensington is the home of science, arts and inspiration. Discovery is at the core of what happens here and there is so much to explore every day. discoversouthken.com